The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on October 18, 1996 · Page 25
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 25

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Salina, Kansas
Issue Date:
Friday, October 18, 1996
Page:
Page 25
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FRIDAY OCtOBIft 18, 1996 THE SALINA JOURNAL encore! WHAT'S HOT / D2 BRIEFLY / D2 WHAT'S GOING ON / D4 D V BOOKS King keeps on ghost writing Prolific author releases two novels simultaneously under different names By TED ANTHONY The Associated Press The Associated Press Stephen King says his latest, "Desperation," is his best in years. CASTLE ROCK, Maine — This is a sad, tired, tormented town that doesn't exist. Never has. And yet it is real in nearly every richly concocted detail — the product of one diabolically boundless imagination. Cujo mauled here. George Stark, an author's unspeakable alter ego, wrought havoc here. Up northwest in Deny, a ghastly, murderous clown- thing taught seven childhood friends how to face their fears. They are, of course, fictional people, fictional places. But something important makes Castle Rock its eerie environs so unsettling: The ^imaginary palette of locations, lives and ^jflaily minutiae is superimposed upon a real canvas — Maine. And that is the key to Stephen King. King has published more than 10,000 pages of fiction in 23 years, but his entire ..body of work can be summed up in one >-*word: Boo! It's not a cheap "Friday the 13th Part IV" boo, though. Granted, it often involves gruesome death or supernatural doings. But it also meanders through , f »every variety of human angst imagin- % jable, from unemployment to impotence to puberty to parenthood to old age. And it's how he keeps reinventing boo that makes him special. "He has refused definition," said James , Farrelly, an English professor at the Uni£ r versity of Dayton who teaches a course on King. "He obviously was moving in the direction of being branded a horror writer, and he was comfortable with that. He's never projected himself as anything other than a storyteller. And he tells the stories $ie thinks people should hear." 5 His latest road winds through two nor- r »mal-looking but decidedly. abnormal *• places: Desperation, Nev., and Went^worth, Ohio. t In "Desperation," King commissions an Eclectic band of Americans to come together in Nevada's desolation and fight an age- old evil. Along the way, they burrow into the very concepts of spirituality and God. " 'Desperation,' I think, is the best story that I've written in probably 10 or 15 #ears," King said in an interview posted $by his publisher on the World Wide Web. $ King has, however, received criticism jj about "Desperation" that mirrors com- »iplaints about past work: too long, too floated, too willing to play to the expected. "The Regulators," written by Richard Bachman, King's "amoral" alter ego, is more visceral. It uses many of the same characters in different roles, and the evil js the same — a sort of Bizarre universe of ^"Desperation." But the villainy in Went- jrworth is activated by two familiar modern ^presences: suburbia and television. •I '. "The two books illuminate each other "yn a strange way," King said. "They realty are like identical twins." "They were women who thought they could come here and be free." • author Kate Lehrer PLAINS TALK Kate Lehrefs well-received historical novel is set in Kansas KELLY PRESNELL / The Salina Journal Kate Lehrer's novel, "Out of Eden," was published in September to positive reviews and Is into its second printing. She was in Salina last week on her way to lecture in Topeka. AN so long ago on trie high plains < Kansas, tucked among wheat fields and §and hills, stood two identical houses, demanding notice, exacting respect. Their still graceful shapes remain cradled In a hollow, but the wood is now stripped ot •?' •• .I . i i »•'!, ~ . >„, < • • , ' } tf * * ( f paint, the roofs and windows in disrepair, one front door ajar., The rotted walkway in between tantalizes Jwlth its boarded-up entrances, board upon board — • the only secured portals in either house. Does this walkway provide a clue to secrets long forgotten? By GARY DEMUTH Tiie Salina Journal ate Lehrer never intended to become a historical novelist. But when she ran across the story of two women, one French and one American, who came to Kansas in the 1880s to find freedom from an oppressive society, she couldn't get it out of her head. After three years of research, primarily in the Hutchinson area, Lehrer not only ended up with a historical novel, but she also had a new appreciation of Kansas and the people who settled the Great Plains. "Kansas was always on the cutting edge of history," Lehrer said. "It attracted individualists, adventurers and the first dissidents in the country. People came here seeking Utopias and and ended up becoming activists of change." Lehrer's novel, "Out of Eden," was published in September to positive reviews and is into its second printing. Lehrer was in Salina last week on her way to lecture at the Kansas State Historical Society in Topeka. Lehrer is the wife of noted journalist Jim Lehrer, host of PBS's "New- sHour" and moderator of this year's presidential debates. It was Jim who initially ran across the story in a magazine, Lehrer said. "He said it would make a dynamite story, but I told him I wrote contemporary novels, not historical ones," Lehrer said. "But I became intrigued about why these women would leave Paris in order to homestead in Kansas." In Lehrer's novel, the two women come to Kansas in the hope that simple prairie life will give them greater freedom from the restrictions women had in a narrow-minded society. But they soon find that the rules of society, and the treatment of women, pervade even the frontier. "There were a lot of sympathetic men in this part of the country who saw how hard women had to work to be independent, but there were others that moved here carrying their traditional values with them," Lehrer said. "There was a fine line women could walk between being assertive and aggressive, which still holds true today." While researching old newspaper articles in Hutchinson, Lehrer discovered there were more women homesteaders than she thought. "They were dreamers, women who thought they could come here and be free," Lehrer said. "In some cases they were, but not as much as they thought." Lehrer tried to make the book as historically accurate as possible, but was determined not to write a nonfiction account. "I wanted a novelist's freedom to explore this strong bond between two women," Lehrer said. See AUTHOR, Page D3 m j?* 1 3*; ^^w^fj •-*. •'• THE CHAMBER r , T ,. v ^,.; RATED R "• y Ttjl? Mot a'serioua movie about anything, irj which, JL JL , younger women, and get even. Some well-targeted dialogue -—~- (especially by Hawn, as a, movie star who fears her looks are fading), but the movie shifts uneasily from the heartfelt to the '-* - ' a young lawyer who tries to save his radstgrandfather (Gene • GHOST ANPTHE DARKNESS ., , „„. »r,asold secrets reveal how MlO'STATE RATED R three generations were traumatized. Not very convincing in terms This, is an African adventure that makes the Tarzan movies of the lawyer's motivation, the grandfather's conversion or the ' look subtle and realistic. It lacks even the usual charm of being film's attitude toward the death penalty. And the hate language In so bad if s funny, If s just bad, Val Kilmer and Michael ' ~ " *m as hunters who are determined to kill two man- ins, In real life, the lions killed 135 men in nine movie only mskes It seem like longer. Kilmer and ;v ~ .^.TOT.I : .r.^CT^TA I^KSSSKSSSJ, .^w ^ « ^ wzsi • . Doudiaa seem miscast and miserable, and the lion attacks are D3:THE MIGHTY PUCKS RATIOP(| -'". ., t *, ; Yejt another retread of ^adventur«|pj^yj^jo| .' •THEGUMMERMAN 2,^ >t>by private acadejny but have "' : RATIO R §a« Steven Seagal, he wjs free-falling from a oMl fwpjla sportp movie* ' '^ "- ^'toyawnandajaofetlft i.who discovers she used to be a government assassin. Samuel L. Jackson is the low-rent private eye who sides with her as the bad guys come gunning. Lots of explosions and special effects in a comic book plot where the stunts are more important than the dialogue. Dramatically meaningless, technically skiUed. .SLEEPERS *** CENTRAL RATED R . Four 13-year-olds from the streets of New York are sent to a reformatory, where a sadistic guard (Kevin Bacon) abuses them. Years later, two of the boys kill the guard, and the other two rig the court case against them. Effective on a superficial level, with good performances by Dustin Hoffman as an priest, but the movie's real subject is a homophobic revenge *** * THATTHINGYQUDO RATED PO Tom Hanfct Wrotf ,ajK( directed this cheerfully jwsiajgic story of a t9$4 reck foind, and plays toe ward executive who stejers them to Hollywood, Tom ivsnjtt Scott stars is the drummer, Johnathon Schaech Is the lead singer who gets a big head, and Liv Tyler is hie long^ujfertng gJrtfriend. With a quasi-Beatles sound, the bjnd has one hit and collects some good memories, in a film whose only purpose Is to make us smile. SUGGESTIONS? CALL JIM HAAG, ENCORE! EDITOR, AT (913) 823-6363 OR 1-800-827-6363

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