Duma Key: A Novel
No more than a dark pencil line on a blank page. A horizon line, maybe. But also a slot for blackness to pour through…
A terrible construction site 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. A marriage that produced two lovely daughters suddenly ends, and Edgar begins to wish he hadn’t survived the injuries that could have killed him. He wants out. His psychologist, Dr. Kamen, suggests a “geographic cure,” a new life distant from the Twin Cities and the building business Edgar grew from scratch. And Kamen suggests 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 Minnesota for a rented house on Duma Key, a stunningly beautiful, eerily undeveloped splinter of the Florida coast. The sun setting into the Gulf of Mexico and the tidal rattling of shells on the beach call out to him, and Edgar draws. A visit from Ilse, the daughter he dotes on, starts his movement out of solitude. He meets a kindred spirit in Wireman, a man reluctant to reveal his own wounds, and then Elizabeth Eastlake, a sick old woman whose roots are tangled deep in Duma Key. Now Edgar paints, sometimes feverishly, his exploding talent both a wonder and a weapon. 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.
Amazon Significant Seven, January 2008: It would be impossible to convey the wonder and the horror of Stephen King’s latest novel in just a few words. Suffice it to say that Duma Key, the story of Edgar Freemantle and his recovery from the terrible nightmare-inducing accident that stole his arm and ended his marriage, is Stephen King’s most brilliant novel to date (outside of the Dark Tower novels, in which case each is arguably his best work). Duma Key is as rich and rewarding as Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption (yes, that Shawshank Redemption), and as truly scary as anything King has written (and that’s saying a lot). Readers who have “always wanted to try Stephen King” but never known where to start should try a few pages of Duma Key—the frankness with which Edgar reveals his desperate, sputtering rages and thoughts of suicide is King at the top of his game. And that’s just the first thirty pages… —Daphne Durham
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In many ways, Edgar Freemantle had no choice but to start a new life. After a major accident had ripped off his arm and grotesquely stretched his sanity, the self-made millionaire had stabbed his wife and squandered his marriage. After relinquishing most of his wealth to his ex and his two daughters, he moves to Duma Key, a seemingly idyllic stretch on the Florida coast. There, with a paintbrush and an empty life canvas, he hopes to make a new beginning. But in Stephen King novels, opening any door can be perilous. A major psychological thriller from the master of scream.