It’s no secret that I’m a Stephen King fan. The first book of his I read, more years ago than I care to remember, was Salem’s Lot, which I devoured like a vampire falling on a small town. Since then I’ve read most of what he’s published, and while I have my favorites–From a Buick 8, Revival, The Stand, the Dark Tower books, and a lot of the short stories and novellas–I greatly admire many of his other works. I also admire his willingness to genre-blend and to write different kinds of fiction. It was a great treat for me to write a critical YA bio of King a while back, part of a series of books for young people about writers’ lives and major works.
I’ve also read and enjoyed work by Tabitha King and Joe Hill (the elder son of Stephen and Tabitha). I especially love Hill’s novels NOS4A2 and Heart-Shaped Box. And then there’s Owen King, the younger son, whose most recent novel, The Curator, became an instant favorite.
A lot of people have called The Curator “Dickensian,” and they’re partly right. The novel’s sprawling cast of characters and the equally sprawling, endlessly weird and wonderful city in which it unfolds do recall Dickens, as does the novel’s keen eye and ear for issues of class and revolution. But a review in the NYTBR that mentioned The Curator’s affinity to Mervyn Peake’s Gormenghast novels bumped the book to the top of my to-read list, and I’m glad it did. For those seeking an original, engrossing read with flavors of Peake and Mieville, Owen King has what you’re looking for.