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Strange and interesting things happen in Castle Rock, Maine. The small town was home to a rabid dog named Cujo and a fantastically dangerous store called Needful Things, not to mention a group of young friends who set out to find the body of Ray Brower along the railroad tracks. Now, Castle Rock resident Scott Carey is experiencing some strange and interesting things himself --- he seems to be growing lighter and lighter, but his body is not changing at all. Scott is the protagonist of Stephen King’s latest work, ELEVATION, a novel short enough to be a novella but every bit as rich and developed as a longer book.

Scott, a divorced middle-aged web designer living with his cat, is not in a fight against an unnamed evil or maleficent supernatural force. However, he is in a frightening but surprisingly gentle struggle with his own body. A big guy, but an active one, Scott has hovered around 240 pounds for quite some time. But recently the numbers on the scale have been lower; he lost close to 30 pounds without trying and without noticing any physical changes. A doctor’s visit assured him there was nothing wrong, but he knows that is not quite true. Not only is he losing weight, the weight of objects around him seem affected as well. Whether he stands on it naked, or under layers of clothes with pockets full of coins and heavy boots on his feet, the scale says the same thing. And each time he weighs himself, no matter how much he eats, it says he is growing lighter.

"...a quick and easy read, quite gripping and provocative, challenging readers to ask big questions and to rethink happy endings."

Scott takes his concern to his tennis buddy, Bob Ellis, a retired physician. But Dr. Bob can offer no medical explanation. Scott is not interested in being studied or experimented on, so for the time being the two men keep the strange secret to themselves and pay attention to the rate of weight loss and the effects on Scott.

As scary and unbelievable as the weight loss is, Scott finds a compelling distraction in a new couple in Castle Rock and the challenges they are facing themselves. Deirdre McComb and Missy Donaldson have opened up a charming restaurant serving delicious Mexican food. But the traditional (and, yes, often close-minded) folks of Castle Rock choose not to support a business owned by married lesbians. Scott finds the town’s treatment of the newcomers unjust and does his best to correct it. But he also must deal with Deirdre’s prickly attitude and Missy’s timid attempts to explain it. Scott and Deirdre begin to come to an understanding of each other during the town’s annual 10K Turkey Trot. In an indescribable moment, the two share an experience that changes Deirdre and allows Scott to prepare for what he believes is his fast-approaching end.

As Scott loses control of his increasingly weightless body, he, Missy, Deirdre and Dr. Bob prepare for what may come. In an emotional and beautiful finale, King offers a whimsical yet powerful antidote to the heaviness and sorrows of the human condition and the fear of death.

ELEVATION is a great story and shows a side of King that serious fans already know about but that may surprise some. It is a quick and easy read, quite gripping and provocative, challenging readers to ask big questions and to rethink happy endings.

Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman on November 2, 2018

by Stephen King

  • Publication Date: November 12, 2019
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner
  • ISBN-10: 1982102322
  • ISBN-13: 9781982102326