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Portable Magic

Reading, for me, is entertainment and an escape from the real world. But it can also inform and stretch the boundaries of the life I live.

Currently reading

The Bungalow Mystery
P.M. Carlson, Russell H. Tandy, Carolyn Keene
The Remains of the Day
Kazuo Ishiguro, Simon Prebble
Duel of Eagles: The Mexican and U.S. Fight for the Alamo
Jeff Long
Progress: 11/431 pages
The Secret of Shadow Ranch
Carolyn Keene
I am No One You Know
Joyce Carol Oates
The Return of the King
J.R.R. Tolkien, Rob Inglis
Progress: 13 %

One Past Midnight: The Langoliers ★★★☆☆

One Past Midnight: The Langoliers - Willem Dafoe, Stephen King

This is not one of my favorites. While King, admittedly my favorite author, is a fantastic storyteller, he’s a lousy plotter and his stories are always better off when he leaves off attempting to explain how things work or why things happen. Often the essential scenario that he presents to us doesn’t bear much scrutiny. It’s better just to strap on your seatbelt and enjoy the ride.


In this case, the whole mechanism of

the rip in the time continuum

(show spoiler)

doesn’t really work.

If organic tissue attached to a conscious living being vaporizes, leaving everything else behind, why do people leave their fillings and pacemakers behind but their clothing vanishes with them? If their clothing vanishes because they’re wearing it, why would their wigs and jewelry be left behind? Obviously, because it makes for a better story for people to wake up to an empty plane and try to figure out what happened from the scattering of jewelry and medical hardware. Because it’s a better story for a blind girl to fumble around trying to find another person, and pick up a dead “scalp” of hair.

(show spoiler)


Although The Langoliers doesn’t really work for me, the flashes of Uncle Steve’s brilliance is enough to pull it up to three stars. He has an unmatched ability to evoke imagery of blood and gore, of violence and horror, mixed with snippets of dark humor in such a way that has me grossed out and laughing and shivering all at once. The character of Toomey isn’t particularly compelling, but the imagery of his blank-eyed concentration with the paper, rip, riiip, riiiiiiiiiiiip, is deliciously horrible.


My favorite: Albert, the shy teen whose favorite fantasy places himself center stage as a spaghetti western hero alongside Doc Holliday and Wyatt Earp. He’s Ace Kaussner, the Arizona Jew, the fastest Hebrew west of the Mississippi. This internal monologue pops up in the most unlikely places in the story, as the boy draws upon this heroic image in facing the story’s events. And does Ace get the girl in the end? You’ll see.


This was the audiobook, borrowed from my local public library. The book was read by Willem Dafoe, who proves himself almost as talented an audiobook narrator as he is an actor.