Review: Wolves of the Calla

Wolves of the Calla
Wolves of the Calla by Stephen King

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

There are some absolute gems in this book (p376/770 where Eddie compares Tian’s hopefulness at cropping a worthless field to his brother about to score the best heroin ever before he gives up for good; p404 where Mia eats a roast pig; and p714 in what for me was a ‘point of no return’ – a sublime sub-chapter lasting a paragraph and guaranteeing my complete attention to the end).

But… there are some annoying parts, too. I was constantly pulled out of the story by the endless sudden similes and segues in speech and narrative. There are also pages and pages written in italics that lend a detrimental jaded and dispassionate feel to the voice, as well as cause incredible eye strain – King is a master storyteller and does need to resort to such an amateurish trick to share a character’s memories. And while Jake’s maturity was more consistent in Wolves, Roland’s took a step backwards with his nagging ‘hurry up’ finger-twirling during other people’s stories.

The most annoying, though, was the constant change of Point of View (POV). I think the other books were all told from Roland’s POV, so this one, in mostly Eddies’ POV, was a nice enough change. But when shifting to the other POVs, King left out the smooth build-up required for such omniscience: sometimes the change was mid-paragraph, sometimes well into a chapter that had opened with Eddie and seemed to suggest Eddie’s POV initially. It made for constant confusion and stopping and starting on my part.

However, the story itself was an immersive one. A sweeping saga, tying old loose ends while creating more new threads, visual and evocative, looping back on itself in well-handled complex ways. And that’s why I’m giving it nearly full stars. Just like i>Gunslinger, this was hard to read, but I took it on trust and am glad I did.

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