5 days ago
8 Jun 2009
Book Review: Cujo, Stephen King
My hopes weren’t high going into Cujo. King claims he can barely remember writing his famous tale of a rabid Saint Bernard (he was an alcoholic and drug addict at the time), but I wondered if perhaps he merely wanted to forget… That's not the case. Cujo may have a slow build-up to its tense climax (one of the author’s better closings, it should be said), but it’s never dull thanks in part to the surprisingly measured structure. For me, though, the novel’s real strength is found in its realistic portrayal of two families, the Cambers (country-dwellers) and the Trentons (former city-dwellers). Both have serious problems and are on the brink of falling apart. Enter Cujo. There may be some significance to the juxtaposition of these families, some metaphors to be found in the rabid dog and the disease-like rot that seems to infect the husbands and wives of the respective families; then, there may not. I suspect, however, that Cujo is meant to be viewed as more than a horror novel. Indeed, the grisly scenes of murder that litter other horror novels are few in number here; instead, the focus is suspense and the ever-present fear of death rather than death itself. I expected this to be one of King’s lesser efforts… I was pleasantly surprised.