By Neha Seenarine
Stephen King released his latest novel, “Later,” earlier this year.
(Photo from Stephen King’s website)
“Later” follows a teenage boy, Jamie Conklin and his unordinary power to see the dead. His abilities are taken advantage of when he is forced to talk to dead to receive unanswered questions.
King has a specialty for coming-of-age stories. He writes young characters and develops them in a way you would think he was writing about his childhood best friend. We see numerous young characters in King’s popular work like: “The Shining,” “It,” and “The Body.”
Young characters tend to have a supernatural ability to see the dead. A part of the skill is that children have not been exposed to the “real world.” They do not know their parents go Black Friday shopping for their Christmas presents, they think Santa Claus took a year to build it at his workshop. Adults are used to not having magic in their lives anymore. The adults in Conklin’s life struggle to believe him but they take his word. It is an interesting dynamic to see how he interacts with adults when they want to use his ability.
The theme of this story is manipulation. It seems people will take advantage of others regardless of consequences. Conklin interacted with a ghost to help his mother’s ex-lover out. Conklin was held accountable with his interaction with the dead. It seems like the adult never thought about how this might disturb someone’s childhood. People can become selfish when they see an opportunity and not recognize the aftermath because it does not affect them personally.
Personally, I am not into the horror genre. “The Shining” is the only horror movie I have seen and will be the only horror movie I will ever see. It was great, it just successfully gave me the heebie jeebies. “Later” did not make me feel uneasy, but it did make me want more. I read this book in under a week because I wanted to know where Conklin was headed next. I am familiar with some of King’s previous work, but this book is perfect for anyone who may have not read “Rita Hayworth” or “Shawshank Redemption” and wants to be exposed to a new genre.
You can learn more about “Later,” and Stephen King’s work here.