I’ll say it again: for a book with over 1,100 pages, The Stand is pretty lean. This novel continues to deliver what my bookworm friends said it would. It’s nothing short of impressive and I would recommend this amazing work to anyone with even the slightest interest in the post-apocalyptic genre.
At this point in Stephen King’s masterpiece, the world is dying. The population of every small town in the United States is down to about 1 or 2 people. Society is devolving to the point of senseless violence via broadcasted executions and daylight murders. The virus responsible for the end of the apocalypse (nicknamed Captain Trips) shows no signs of stopping as it jumps from victim to victim leaving behind a wake of bodily fluids and corpses.
If The Stand was the only book Stephen King ever wrote, it would be enough to solidify him as one of the greats. I’ve read a lot of his work at this point — early stuff, later stuff, short stories, novels — and I have to say his descriptions in The Stand are unparalleled.
Any schmo can imagine something and describe it, but it takes a truly special writer to make the reader feel like they are in the scene. It’s mind-boggling how well King manages to pull this off. For example, there’s a scene where a petroleum plant blows up. All King really had to write about was how the explosion looked, the loud sound, and the debris falling from the sky. Boom. Move on. However, like the gifted writer he is, King took it one step further and talked about not only the smell of a petrol plant exploding but also the change in the air pressure and its effects on the character’s body.
I’m not even going to mention how much dread I felt during the escape from the government testing facility or the journey through the Manhattan tunnel. Needless to say, I’ll be finishing this book soon.