Stephen King’s Rage has quite a history. I believe it was his first novel, written at the tender age of 18, although unpublished until he created his pseudonym Richard Bachman in 1977, when King was 30. Bachman was only created to publish the material his then-current publisher didn’t have room for in their lists, but that’s another story.
It’s a beautifully written novel about an 18 year old kid who takes his class hostage and shoots his teacher. It’s told superbly in the first person, with lovely descriptive passages that showcase his spectacular style of writing at a time when his books were only considered genre books but had such a lovely grasp of the language that it blurs into literary fiction. It’s far superior in its form to most first person novels on the market today. I don’t believe it’s still in print. I think King pulled it sometime after Columbine and the many copy cat school killers of the 90’s/00’s. The book I hold is the paperback the Bachman Books.
I have to say I miss the lyricism of his early novels. They weren’t just interesting stories for those of us with a flair for the macabre but also so lyrically well written that I imagine most will remain in print ad infinitum. These were his drug addled years–his 20’s and 30’s and the prose is rocket fueled.
His most recent novels cannot compare but I’d rather have him alive than dead. It’s a trade off, I suppose.
Anyhow, I took practically the whole summer to read this novella, just to bask in the language and soak up through some sort of osmosis his very tantalizing skill at writing.
If you haven’t read it already, be forewarned: it is most certainly one of his more brutal novels. But I suppose if, like me, you read a lot of horror, this will not curl your toes too much. You’ll be, as they say, inured to it.
I loved it, and it will go on my super short list of novels I will reread in old age. 5/5