Review: The Wind Through the Keyhole
Many and many-a years ago, when I was a sma’ boy living several wheels back along the Path of the Beam, I picked up a book by sai King. From that moment, I knew we were well-met.
The book was the Dark Tower. It was neither science fiction nor fantasy nor horror of any conventional sort, but a category of its own making, with some eccentric influences along the way (hile to sai Lovecraft and sai Eastwood). The man-King had a shine for making readers mourn a world that had long since moved on: the bright nation of Gilead, and the gunslingers who protected her light. As sai King puts it: “If you think of the gunslingers of Gilead as a strange combination of knights errant and territorial marshals of the Old West, you’ll be close to the mark.”
If you’re reading with the eyes that God gave you, you’ll see that there’s some very fine vernacular at play — the High Speech and low speech that deserves no capital letters, and terms both alien and familiar to ones we use.
The world of the Tower is a place so old that its time is running down like a pocket watch. Robots cobbled together by the Old People still wander the wasteland, spouting half-remembered bits of mythology. It’s a place where magic and technology mean the same thing as often as not.
The Dark Tower embodies a wonderful, hurtful nostalgia. It brings me back to the brooding, fate-enslaved struggle of Elric of Melnibone, the history and scope of The Lord of the Rings, and the cryptic, unknowable darkness of House of Leaves. Like spokes driving away from the focal point of a wheel, the Tower is many things at once.
The story of Roland and his ka-tet (his brethren on the path of destiny, do ya kennit?) has long since moved on, but sai King has found another story between the cracks: The Wind Through the Keyhole.
Lest any of you think that The Wind Through the Keyhole stands in the path of the story you’ve read prior to this bloggy post, attend me: the mini-tale fits as comfortably in the reader’s hands as a certain pair of guns with sandalwood grips.
I’ll give nothing away, only to mention that it brightened my heart to visit some old friends after a long absence. Though they walk a different path along ka’s wheel — removed and yet suspiciously close to my own at times, for the boundary between worlds is thin — I consider Eddie and Susannah Dean, Jake Chambers, Oy of Mid-World and Roland Deschain some of my closest companions. Hile, bondsmen.
It was even a pleasure to cross paths with some less-welcome figures, such as a man who wears a dark cloak even on a hot day, and goes by too many names.
To the writer, I say thankee-sai. Whether he knew it or not, Stephen King steered me on a twisted path from the very beginning. I could go into greater detail, but that is surely a story for another day.