2021: #52 – Elevation (Stephen King)
Published by Scribner on October 30, 2018
Although Scott Carey doesn’t look any different, he’s been steadily losing weight. There are a couple of other odd things, too. He weighs the same in his clothes and out of them, no matter how heavy they are. Scott doesn’t want to be poked and prodded. He mostly just wants someone else to know, and he trusts Doctor Bob Ellis.
In the small town of Castle Rock, the setting of many of King’s most iconic stories, Scott is engaged in a low grade—but escalating—battle with the lesbians next door whose dog regularly drops his business on Scott’s lawn. One of the women is friendly; the other, cold as ice. Both are trying to launch a new restaurant, but the people of Castle Rock want no part of a gay married couple, and the place is in trouble. When Scott finally understands the prejudices they face–including his own—he tries to help. Unlikely alliances, the annual foot race, and the mystery of Scott’s affliction bring out the best in people who have indulged the worst in themselves and others.
This novella is more unsettling than it is scary, but I think it’s a solid showing from King.
Scott Carey is losing weight at a rapid rate. Problem is, he doesn’t look any different. His clothes fit the same, and even when he fills his pockets with quarters, the number on the scale gets steadily smaller. More curious than afraid, he circles the date on his calendar where he expects to hit zero and tries to go on with his life.
One thing he’d like to fix is his relationship with his neighbors, a married lesbian couple who regularly let their dog poop on his lawn. One of them is friendly, but the other would rather not give him the time of day and is certainly not open to his overtures of friendship. They’ve moved to small town Maine from the city in order to open a restaurant, but things aren’t going as they hoped. Small town Maine is still not the most friendly place for outsiders (and I say this as someone who grew up in small town Maine).
This was a quick and entertaining read, despite the big whiff of “straight white man savior”. I thought the ending was beautiful, visual, and touching.
- “Despite being a novella, the story isn’t rushed. It naturally unfolds through conversations and encounters and the one constant – Scott’s numbers on the scale falling. At the end of it all, it is a story about love, community, acceptance (in more ways that one) and the experience of letting go. If you want a little cry and a bit of an emotional crises, I highly recommend ‘Elevation’.” — Writing. Reading. Overthinking.
- “Elevation is a novella that will hold your attention and won’t haunt you like the other Stephen King’s. But that may not be entirely a good thing.” — Elgee Writes
- “In recent times, King seems to have moved away from horror fiction and has started writing crime fiction. And now this ‘Elevation‘ has happened. It is neither horror nor crime, but it is about strange happenings, and about friendship and about community. It is beautiful, inspiring, heartwarming and sometimes heartbreaking. I loved it.” — Vishy’s Blog