In 'Revival,' Stephen King buries a better story

December 10, 2014 1:10 PM

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There's a video on YouTube in which Stephen King describes his first encounter with Stanley Kubrick. "I actually think stories of the supernatural are always optimistic, don't you?" King remembers Kubrick insisting over the phone from England; when asked to elaborate, the director continued, "Supernatural fiction and ghost stories all posit the basic suggestion that we survive death. If we survive death, that's optimistic, isn't it?" It's a great story, although the punchline belongs to King, not Kubrick: "Well," he answered, "what about hell?"

I kept thinking about this clip as I read King's new novel, "Revival," which is a baggy book with a very fine one hidden inside. That it takes so long to get to the good stuff is the central frustration of this novel, which tells the story (after a fashion) of the Rev. Charles Jacobs, a small-town p...

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