Monday, March 19, 2007

Thinner

from the diary: “Friday 1/2/87

Rode the bus to San Francisco to visit a friend. “On the way there & back I got 2/3 way through [Stephen] King’s Thinner.”

I think I read all Stephen King’s books up through Pet Sematary. I did not care for Pet Sematery. I got tired of it yet it kept going and going, page after page after page. I decided King no longer listened to editors and his books were published however long he wanted them. But I heard Thinner was tighter, a more focused thriller. It was shorter. I liked it well enough. Not so well that I had to read more King, though. Unless another has slipped my mind entirely I do think this is the last King novel I’ve read. Other than that the main character is cursed to lose weight – and lose weight and lose weight until he threatens to evaporate – I don’t remember the book’s plot.

Thinner was originally published under a pseudonym, the fourth fifth book King had published under the name, Richard Bachman. As I recall Stephen King had been feeling somewhat oppressed by his own success, his King-the-horror-writer persona. In earlier years he had written novels that he didn’t consider strictly horror, more adventure/thriller, I guess. These novels remained unpublished so King turned the manuscripts over to his agent and asked his agent to offer them around but keep his name on the q.t. The first three four books were published as paperback originals. Thinner was the first book by “Richard Bachman” to have initial publication in hardcover. So Bachman was on his way to the bestseller lists himself? Perhaps. But clever readers detected the ruse. When King at last fessed, Thinner leapt to bestsellerdom. I doubt I would have heard of Thinner otherwise.

2 comments:

David Lee said...

It was actually the 5th Bachman book, the others being Roadwork, The Long Walk, The Running Man and Rage. I believe that King has decided not to let Rage be reprinted. It's a very sympathetic story about a high school kid who holds his class hostage at gunpoint.

Pet Sematary was the last King that I read as a fan. Way too long a book.

I've read other King novels since. Enjoyed some. Enjoyed parts of some. Didn't care for others at all.

Glenn Ingersoll said...

Oops. I corrected the number of Bachmans. We have The Bachman Books paperback upstairs.