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Publisher's Summary

A terrible accident takes Edgar Freemantle's right arm and scrambles his memory and his mind, leaving him with little but rage as he begins the ordeal of rehabilitation. When his marriage suddenly ends, Edgar begins to wish he hadn't survived his injuries. He wants out. His psychologist suggests a new life distant from the Twin Cities, along with something else: "Edgar, does anything make you happy?"
"I used to sketch."
"Take it up again. You need hedges...hedges against the night."

Edgar leaves for Duma Key, an eerily undeveloped splinter of the Florida coast. The sun setting into the Gulf of Mexico calls out to him, and Edgar draws. Once he meets Elizabeth Eastlake, a sick old woman with roots tangled deep in Duma Key, Edgar begins to paint, sometimes feverishly; many of his paintings have a power that cannot be controlled. When Elizabeth's past unfolds and the ghosts of her childhood begin to appear, the damage of which they are capable is truly devastating.
The tenacity of love, the perils of creativity, the mysteries of memory, and the nature of the supernatural: Stephen King gives us a novel as fascinating as it is gripping and terrifying.
©2008 Stephen King (P)2008 Simon and Schuster, Inc.
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By OldDog on 11-09-09

Play the Book and Let the Book Play You

Some strengths of Duma Key:

Chararacters that became, at least to me, more real as friends than some people I know.

Hard-won insight into what makes us human, how we deal with time, loss, fear of loss (Since when have you taken the chance to make friends with an 86 year old woman?), the mysterious tangle of creativity.... This all makes me want to, rather than a dead sort of word like "literary," apply to King what someone, if I remember rightly, said about Ellington, "He knew what music was for." King knows what a novel is for. Get involved. Come along.

And finally, it includes a supernatural element that rather than making the story less powerful, merely paints it in King's chosen palette: vivid, disturbing, painful, tender, and essentially real where it matters most, and where perhaps it looms the most dangerous.


John Slattery, the reading was brilliant. Your voice stood up, offered me a cool drink, and became Wireman to me. I'll miss you, my friend. Highest honors.

***Humble Response to a Few Reviews**

It's been mentioned in some of these reviews that 1) the language was unnecessarily coarse and 2) that it started slow.

First, the language is entirely appropriate to an adult novel where organic brain trauma is involved. The protagonist's verbal outbursts can be, unfortunately, all too accurate, and are intended (I believe) to frighten the reader as it does the characters involved--to offend one's sense of how things ought to be.

In response to the second, I found the pace of his development added to my involvement in the story, and helped to add the kind of inevitablity, depth, and increasing momentum so present in the best of some of King's work. Also, I believe for the novel to work as well as it does, that we must see, really see, what happens there, and in that order.

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135 of 140 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Amanda on 10-25-11

My favorite Stephen King novel yet.

Full disclosure; I'm definitely a fan of Stephen King. That said, I felt there was something special about this book. The story seemed more personal, the relationships more genuine. The narration is exquisite. Also, this book has a more satisfying ending than you normally get from SK; I don't think endings have ever been his forte (for me SK has always been more about the journey than the destination), but this one was done really well.

Written after his own car accident, this story about a man recovering from serious injury perfectly described the phenomenon of living with ever present pain - something I've rarely found described accurately.

All in all, a fantastic, thoughtful, spooky story told perfectly. I hope you enjoy it even half as much as I did.

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82 of 87 people found this review helpful

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