DREAMCATCHER by Stephen King


A real-time review by Des Lewis

The book King originally wanted to call CANCER.

My previous real-time reviews of Stephen King’s work are linked from HERE.

I intend to real-time review this novel and, when I do, you will be able to find it in the thought stream below or by clicking on this post’s title above.

42 thoughts on “DREAMCATCHER

  1. Van Gogh

    Van Gogh

    “This is utterly unlike him, and suddenly the only thing he wants is to get the fuck out of here, fill his lungs with the cool, salt-tanged seaside air,…”
    So utterly unlike me, too, I guess. Reviewing this book at all. Reviewing this book NOW. Seems preternatural. Explicable somewhere, sometime, but meantime, inexplicable. Like these four backstories. And data on historic UFOs. But they are not backstories. More paced or staggered retrostories.
    Accretive tantalisations to resolve: SSDD. Along the way somewhere they went on a Hunting Trip as men do with guns and drinks. The file marked D-F. Darkness as a polarizing filter. Moonrock. Aspirin. Finding a woman’s lost key. Cheating in exams. The Line. Depression, both seductive and unpleasant. Beware Mr Gray?
    Four of them. 1988 Beaver. 1993 Pete. 1998 Henry. 2001 Jonesy. Once there was an inscrutable fifth. Their next meeting at different distances from each of their heartache retrostories just given…each with a preternature to call their own? Some link?
    “Dreams age faster than dreamers, that is a fact of life Pete has discovered as the years pass. Yet the last ones often die surprisingly hard, screaming in low, miserable voices at the back of the brain.”
    Compelling King as ever. Threaded with sadnesses while having joys from accepting and/or transcending those sadnesses.
    Later, below, I shall read on into the text of…
    PART 1
    “I learn by going where I have to go.” – Theodore Roethke


    Van Gogh was master of browns and oranges. As is this ‘ascairt’ intruder with his unwise targeted brown and orange garb in the woods, someone whom Jonesy nearly shoots dead, while left on his own by the other three, during their latest hunting trip. Never seen such snow coming, I guess, during their earlier decades of coming here. Jonesy is recovering from, in 2001 (presumably just after the events told earlier before this chapter began), being knocked over by a car. Double Zero for Emptiness, like King himself around this time? Authorial retrostory? Pre-accident Jonesy and Post-accident Jonesy almost two separate characters. Not only hunting ‘eye-fever’ but also existential I-fever, I suggest. The ascairt stranger (preternaturally named as hovering toward Jonesy’s own target of guessing McCarthy at the end) seems slowly born as an inscrutable character through the zip of the flowing text. Hallucinatory text urgently driving on with its drawn-out words. I found it obsessive reading.

    “Because maybe death was out there, and maybe sometimes it called your name.”

    I no longer intend fully to itemise the plot, for fear of spoilers – life is full of spoilers: like death? – but I will try to describe my reactions to it (as well as to death itself) as I read this huge work. I will simply note that the foursome have a traditional ‘dreamcatcher’ hanging in their hunting hideaway. More brightly coloured than just brown and orange. A charm.


    “Again Jonesy was struck by the man’s queer ungainliness – it made him think of himself a little that past spring, as he had learned to walk all over again.”

    Beav, larger than life, well-characterised, arrives at the hideaway as the heavy snow sets in. You’ll love THE BEAV.
    Worries about Henry getting back from shopping in their vehicle (Beav and Jonesy sure need his ‘shrinkology’, with ‘the guy’, aka Rick McCarthy, ill, farting, time-confused, red blemish on his cheek, now ensconced) and also worries about Pete getting back with Henry. I, too, blink and somehow see ‘the guy’ but as a sort of trophy on the wall. Click, Rick, like guessing his name correctly. Bonhomie at bay, but still rustling up eggs for scrambling, As they always do in King!
    [I hesitate to yet talk about my earlier literary visions of ‘dream sickness’ but I smell it here, be sure! Also, I hesitate to talk too much about personal health problems as part of my book reviews, but I first took my body to the GP a few months ago because of flatulence, and the hospital later found something in my prostate instead. The treatment on that situation is progressing well. Nobody’s solved the flatulence, yet, though.]

    “‘Okay.’ Beaver took off his jacket (red) and his vest (orange, of course).”


    “Henry let off on the gas until he felt the Scout start to straighten out, then zapped the go-pedal again, deliberately too fast and too hard.”

    Talk of mass hysteria back at the shop, but more like God’s Flashmob. I shall take it as read and I won’t keep repeating it in this review, that this is prime King, compelling, page-turning (but I am trying to eke it out and savour it slowly), crammed with King’s bon mots and mots justes, expletives and beer, full of cosy prospects of bonhomie in snowbound hideaways while away hunting, sown with leitmotifs, now the woman sitting in the snow-tracked road with orange vest and orange streamers on her hat, and Henry — who now adds his own Eschatological (deathwish or feeling ‘down’ syndrome) to the Scatological (plague of flatulence) — nearly accidentally drives his Scout into her, like someone in a car nearly hit Jonesy once, or DID hit him, of course. Oozing the Claret. Whick-thump, whick-thump, there are even what I shall call Close Encounters lighting up the sky, too. Enthrallled. Entrammelled. Despite or because of the Nemonymous Night ‘dream sickness’, I have already inferred. Hope it doesn’t entrammel me TOO much. Eke it out, boy, eke it out!


    “‘Go away!’ McCarthy called with weak vehemence. ‘Can’t you go away and let a fellow . . . let a fellow make a little number two? Gosh!’”

    ‘Weak vehemence’ is maybe code or dream-captcha for ‘Mongol’, what they used to call those children with Down Syndrome when I was a boy in the 1950s. Look at my face in the mirror; it sometimes has a Mongol look about it, I guess, but I am not one. But I think the way they treated Duddits in the old days, like letting him win cribbage, keeping things from him to protect him; they treat me the same as a reader. You, too. We readers are all Duddits. That’s my theory but I do not yet know the significance of this Duddits character in their past. I’m only guessing.
    Meanwhile, whup-whup-whup, helicopters come as there is a quarantine panic afoot, bullhorn hovering above Beaver — and ‘the guy’, aka McCarthy, goes to the loo. GOES TO THE LOO. What is conveyed is beyond this review to re-convey. Just read it, sucker.
    And animals come in and gather, close to, even IN, the foursome’s hunting hideaway. And those CE3K lights dodging about in the sky as if CERN Zoo has been allowed to escape from the LHC. Peg it there, I reckon. For today, anyway. Just one thought: can you ‘catch’ dreams like you can catch disease? If so, this is a dangerously preternatural book. Stinks.


    “‘Beaver,’ Pete said, and toasted the dark afternoon as he sat with his back propped against the overturned Scout’s hood. ‘You were beautiful, man.’ But hadn’t they all been? / Hadn’t they all been beautiful?”

    Silence gives consent, it says somewhere. As Pete – his damaged leg killing him [with his own Kingian post-‘accident’ fugue with “Double Zero for Emptiness” (Mike O’Driscoll’s phrase for it), passive and deadpan] – tries to get beer by dodging bear in the snow back to the Henry’s Scout. Through mooseshit (cf the earlier mouseturds for mustard) – leaving the orange-tasselled woman behind at least for a beer-hunting while. Amid that ‘weakly vehement’ diaspora of animals, linking with the CE3K lights, or the whup or thud of proximate vehicles. And he returns in his mind to 1978, the school where the 4 of them (girl-pussy hunting, then) attended – and that school was near the ‘school for retards’ (or ‘mongoloid idiots’ as the text says and I had no earlier idea that it was going to say it) where DUDDITS attended. He knew the dream-captcha ‘SSDD’ mantra, too, but now I myself, as DUDDITS the reader, know it, too, but I won’t spoil it for you. Chapter ends with another Click and now the name Marcy? Who’s Marcy? Like the foursome together, I seem to be getting their mutual ‘mental links’, too. The intensely scatological theme-and-variations on farts, notwithstanding. A passage of agonisingly passive threnody.

    “He did not look back at the overturned Scout, did not see that he had written DUDDITS in the snow, over and over again, as he sat thinking of that day back in 1978.”


    “It’s the smell of the body eating itself, because that’s all cancer is when you take the diagnostic masks off: autocannibalism.”

    A flowing theme-and-variations on Nursery Rhymes, a yellow imageScooby Doo lunchbox, mixed with present perils and the foursome’s ancient past rescue of DUDDITS ‘retard’ from bullying, all in Henry’s mind as he tries to get help for Pete in the snow. Double Zero for Emptiness. All steeped in a sense of twisted destiny. ‘No bounce, no play’. Refrains interwoven with ‘foo-lights’. No worthwhile pussy but they found DUDDITS himself. Mr Gray again? Henry’s Ligottian anti-Natalism seems slight when compared with the ‘Everything infected’ scenario of the foo-lights. And ‘eyes with Chinese tilt’ – like his mouth? – DUDDITS’ real name Douglas Cavell. My unique UKIP MP in imageClacton where I live is called Douglas Carswell with his own tilt. Preternatural connections abound with me and this text – and between things WITHIN this text.

    “In an effort to turn his mind away from his friend behind and his friends ahead, or what might be happening all around him, he let his mind go to where he knew Pete’s mind had already gone: to 1978, and Tracker Brothers, and to Duddits. How Duddits Cavell could have anything to do with this fuckarow Henry didn’t understand, but they had all been thinking about him, and Henry didn’t even need that old mental connection to know it.”

    “…only a dust of white on the aromatic orange- brown needles. There Henry fell on his knees, sobbing with terror and putting his gloved hands to his mouth to stifle the sound, because what if it heard? It was Mr Gray, the cloud was Mr Gray, and what if it heard?”


    “McCarthy, sitting there on the toilet, made no response. He had for some reason put his orange cap back on – the bill stuck off at a crooked, slightly drunken angle. He was otherwise naked. His chin was down on his breastbone, in a parody of deep thought (or maybe it wasn’t a parody, who knew?). His eyes were mostly closed.”

    Scatological? Eschatological? Just leave off the ‘-logical’ and replace with ‘aberrant’. Aberrantly aberrant to the power of monstrous. Scatorrant, Eschatorrant, as the McCarthyite incubus beast takes his seat or throne within the bowl, not on it, and Beaver sits there acting as downweight waiting for Jonesy to get the tape to tape the worm within. Of course, that gives you no idea. Only the text has the nature of the incubus within it, a horn’s oogah-oogah, a submarine’s dive, dive, dive, the wood’s crackle-crunch-splinter. It’s iced-tea Proustian with DUDDITS’ mother, too, a retrocausation from today back to DUDDITS and then forward again from their five years of walking him to school to keep him safe from bullies.
    DUDDITS’ open-vowels of speech now become open-bowels, I guess!
    You heard it here first – in hindsight.
    The mercy killing that was never to be. I have a reviewer’s ‘slant’ second to all.

    “He saw the little gelid gleam from between McCarthy’s eyelids.”

    • Having slept on what I’ve read so far, I sense this is a backstory in itself, not only a personal rite of passage, but a literal post-accident retrocausal *back-passage* story of the extremist scatological and eschatological kind. It is a case study in extrapolated Horror genre as well as personal absurdity. A lost masterpiece – spoilt by a deterrent cinema version?


    “In Roberta’s view they had been friends sent from heaven, angels with kind hearts and dirty mouths who had actually expected her to believe that when Duddits started saying fut, he was trying to say Fudd, which, they explained earnestly, was the name of Pete’s new puppy – Elmer Fudd, just Fudd for short. And of course she had pretended to believe this. Too many memories, too many ghosts of happier times.”

    Roberta, DUDDITS’ mum — with him suffering now in leukaemiac Dracula syndrome on top of Down, and in his thirties — watches TV reports of the missing hunters, the quarantine area, the UFO lights [uncannily reminiscent of my own brief LEFT FOOT (2) (from ‘The Last Balcony’ (2012) book) that I very recently rewrote HERE before starting King’s ‘Dreamcatcher’]. DUDDITS sobs his heart out – ‘Thump and hum, thump and hum, thump and hum’. She goes to him and hears his transcending traumatic message (“Eeyer-eh! Eeeyer-eh! Oh Amma, Eeeyer-eh!”) that the text later translates for us, even though part of us is DUDDITS himself, I guess.
    DUDDITS as Peter Pan? Does one Never in Never Never Land cancel the other one out? I naively ask. Evidently so…

    “No Never Land for her.”

    • Left Foot missing, as part of my own dream sickness. Van Gogh’s left ear, too, although this book’s link with Van Gogh is so far tenuous. Missing teeth. Pete’s knee ‘gone’. And the innards of incubus and later Becky succubus as a form of excreting rather than birthing that I’ve just read about in next chapter below.


    “Tears of horror, tears of pity, tears that opened the stony ground of self-regarding obsession and burst the rock inside.”

    Pete returns to Marcy or Becky? He clicks her name somehow, she who was left in the road. His preternatural contact with Beav sitting on the toilet trap to keep his under control….”What’s all this jobba-nobba?” A form of Spielberg’s ET – as carcass or carcinoma? Chemo Demon on the roof. Words I’ve just used, not the text, although the text somehow gave the words to me. And ‘Margaret Thatcher’ is mentioned in the text of this chapter for real at some point, Douglas. ‘A dog’s scat.’

    The invasion’s under way. Like the worst mass biopsy, I guess. On to…

    PART 2

    1 – 6

    The phooka horse: “I use it to mean an operation which is both covert and wide open. A paradox, Perlmutter! The good news is that we’ve been developing contingency plans for just this sort of clusterfuck since 1947, when the Air Force first recovered the sort of extraterrestrial artifact now known as a flashlight.”

    Things grow macro. As we are fed well-characterised soldier men’s men, in abrasive interface with each other, a blend of men from a combo of Cambodia, Vietnam, Desert Storm, Bosnia, with Clinton’s voice somewhere, as they combat, whup-whup-whup, these invaders. This infection of grayboys or cancer called clusterfuck. A telepathy that I’d prefer to call preternature. A spreading IS State before its time.
    What I need to know is why is one of these soldier types called Kurtz with the same name as the main man in Conrad’s ‘Heart of Darkness’? Why is ‘grayboys’ one typo short of ‘gayboys’? And the infection a ‘reddish-gold fuzz’ growing on everything? – like a Van Gogh painting? Whatever the case, there is some dialogue here to die for.

    “Time of intercept 0627, November fourteen, two-zero-zero-one.”

  12. 7 – 12

    “With that, twining through it like a pigtail, came the voice of Mick Jagger: ‘Please allow me to introduce myself, I’m a man of wealth and taste;…'”

    With Owen Underhill’s backstory as a boy, with his hat turned back, despite being a good guy like Napoleon could have been, I sense, defecating in his neighbour’s house when it was unexpectedly empty…. And his involvement, along with Kurtz, in the tactics and strategy and craziness of a stunning description of a whupping battle with the almost sadly stoical Grayboys, a red-gold cancerous collaterally suicidal sting in their tails, all interwoven with lines from ‘Sympathy with the Devil’, HOO-HOO, crowned by the telling Cain and Abel coda, yes, with all those things, these sections of text represent the strongest writing of King so far in this book, possibly his strongest writing in the whole of his fiction canon so far.

    “Kurtz spun the cocked hat on the end of his finger. If possible, he intended to see Owen Underhill wearing it after he had ceased breathing.”

    1 – 6

    “Suicide, Henry had discovered, had a voice. It wanted to explain itself. The problem was that it didn’t speak much English; mostly it lapsed into its own fractured pidgin. But it didn’t matter; just the talking seemed to be enough. Once Henry allowed suicide its voice, his life had improved enormously.”

    Quiet Ligottian anti-natalism. In spite or because of what I imagine is going on by dint of the sound effects and undercurrents in the text, I now feel I am gentled into a good night by Henry’s PoV, half aftermath, half continuing battle by helicopters overhead, as he returns to the foursome’s hideaway, amid encroaching plague-zone of red-gold fuzz like ‘Ebola’ the text says; the diaspora of animals, mercy killing, all narrated by half-inchoate half-sophisticated Stubb from Moby Dick, I guess. Toadstools in the cleft of the buttocks. Doc Martens as a sexual flag. Fuck me Freddy, as casual expletive… Insidious growth: almost too much.
    “: the dreamcatcher had snared a real nightmare this time.”

    I am old enough to have watched the Magical Mystery Tour on British TV when it first came out in the sixties. Some Boxing Day of yore. I Am The Walrus – my favourite non-lieder song. Amazing scat of eggs and the eggman that Henry descries. Classic King.

    “….the occasional padded plop as a clot of snow slid off…”

  14. 7 – 14

    “I’m on a journey , he told himself. Maybe someday someone will write an epic poem about it: ‘Henry’s Journey’. ‘Yeah,’ he said.”

    Yeah, we readers say, too.
    Like Henry, we skirt despair as well as hope, unaccompanied by Devil or God, with whom we would have no Symphony. HOO-HOO. Henry is skiing back to where he left the woman and Pete, the text threaded recurrently with song music extracts and modern American history, modern for him. Thoughts of comforting suicide. Of past acts of kindness. ‘Idiotic non sequiturs’. ‘Prattling madness’ and HG Wells. DUDDITS imprinted in the snow by Pete.
    NOW LISTEN BIG. Another real-time revelation. This book (was it published in 2001?) was a premonition of the Internet CLOUD.
    DUDDITS, inter alia, inter alien, is in that ‘cloud’ with tilted face. Read these sections and see. Accompanied by the stutter and crackle of gunfire and the big whoosh of jets, as the war against the Graybots goes on above or below that ‘cloud’. Left leg throbbing upon its colony of red-gold fuzz. The Eggman, notwithstanding. Goo-goo-joob and more goo.

    “Not after the foot sticking out of the bathtub.”

    1 – 6

    “He could, he was the little engine that could, but what a price the little engine had paid.”

    “Death pretending to be a patient. Death had lost track of him – sure, it was possible, it was a big hospital stuffed full of pain, sweating agony out its very seams – and now old creeping death was trying to find him again.”

    The Crowrd OR The Grayboys - By Camille Gabrielle

    The Crowd OR The Cloud OR The Grayboys –
    By Camille Gabrielle

    We come to the nub of things here, but most nubs, like clouds, are full of nonsense and madness, carrying these things but not changing them, like today’s ‘cloud’, mixing, too, the real past, present and, indeed, future, for some moment’s consumption, here Jonesy in hospital after being knocked down by a careless car that could, or the dementia driver could? Mixed with a DUDDITS vision, as well as Grayboys, and Jonesy’s own separate Proustian ‘selves’, explicitly mixed, too. ‘Scatting the words.’
    Jonesy even appears in a film about the war against the Grayboys. Against what the text calls those ‘space-niggers’. This is strong stuff. It’s silly, too, because such experiences — although truly really felt like a gestalt real-time review, a preternatural series of connections, a dreamcatcher review, indeed, as I have now called these reviews DREAMCATCHERS (on this seven year old review site) for over a year now and ensconced in some carrying but not changing ‘cloud’ — ARE silly. These Reviews, I hope, make a triangulated seriousness of sense from fiction. Meanwhile, this book, so far, is far better than some seem to think it. Have faith, dear Author.

    “He glimpses something more, as well: some huge pattern, something like a dreamcatcher that binds all the years since they first met Duddits Cavell in 1978, something that binds the future as well.”

    I’ll soon be coming up to halfway in this book, just to give you some sort of triangulation upon this review’s coordinates.

    “If he yelled they might turn around. / And he was afraid to see their faces.” – from ‘The Crowd’ (not ‘The Cloud’!) by Ray Bradbury.

  16. 7 – 11

    “For a moment – brief but far too long – Jonesy fully imagined the reddish-gold tendrils reaching from that defunct eye into Pete’s brain, where they spread like strong fingers clutching a gray sponge.”

    Byrus is now the name for the red-gold fuzz, the ‘outer-space thrush’, and I feel a parthenogenetic sense to this growth (and the eggs); I referred, in 2001, to the fiction literature in ‘Nemonymous’ as ‘parthenogenetic’, in print and on-line at that time. Check it out. I then coupled this with ‘late-labelling’ the authors’ names in the same way as this first use of the ‘Byrus’ label now becomes a force of retrocausation in the gradually dying text, but making the increasingly flabby use of italic refrains and the blurring character identities tighten back again in my mind. Authorial omniscience at least stops Mr Gray from knowing about DUDDITS and the open-vowel sounds and the incantation, ‘No bounce, no play.’ But am I alone, at this stage in the book, in connecting GARY Jones (Jonesy) with Mr GRAY? Not a spoiler, though, as nothing has been hidden from the reader in the text on this score, only perhaps some readers having been denied the ability to connect the two names, in spite or because of all us readers being DUDDITS. No nous, no know.

    Van Gogh

    Van Gogh

    1 – 4

    “…but in his shock at hearing the names of his wife and daughter from this stranger’s lips, Owen barely noticed. The urge to go to the man and ask him how he knew those names was strong,…”

    There is something very ‘Nemonymous Night’ about the sliding in and out of identities or selves, like Jonesy and Brodsky (a week or so ago I saw the Brodsky Quartet play a Zemlinsky String Quartet as reported then on my other blog) in a movie set that is really a real place, (a CEof 3K hub, spotlit, humming, or Apocalypse Now) if anything can be real in fiction, and now the text comes clean about Kurtz the name, Heart of Darkness and all that, and about his nature, blowing off someone’s LEFT FOOT (yes, LEFT FOOT, can you believe this serendipity?) blowing it off for his using that awful expression ‘space-niggers’ earlier. The Horror, The Horror. Apocalypse Soon Enough. Kurtz is ‘existential’. The state of being, the ‘IS’ State now truly spreading.
    Religion as ‘plumage’. Fiction as a Review of itself. A Review more fictional than the Fiction it reviews? No, more a preternatural positive symbiosis between the two, I say.

    “‘Or Allah akhbar, as our Arab friends say; “there is no God but God.” What could be more simple than that? It cuts the pizza directly down the middle, if you see what I mean.’”

  18. 5 – 8

    “Henry realized that he was looking at an actual river of consciousness, and at the flotsam and jetsam the river was carrying along. The humbling thing was how prosaic most of it was.”

    And, naturally, this text is going that way, too. Like the ‘cloud’, infected with universal low-grade telepathy as a form of dream sickness, an annoying virus in the guise of a carrier, a cloud saver, like Typhoid Mary or the little girl (a dreadful thought for our times) with fuzz infected lipstick, a President covering the truth, a Kurtz-Hitler with his phooka horse, about to mass murder parts of the human race as a sort of scorched earth policy following the diaspora, shit-weasels, et al. Only Owen, as undercover, under-hill representative of the author, has the ability to stand separate? Like all authors or their pecking order of leasehold narrators and PoVs? Yet the head-lease or freehold author himself is perhaps infected, too. He hates this book, someone has told me since I started this review of the Invasion of the Grayboys… Yet, if only he’d re-read it or at least read my review of it, he will begin to understand it, optimise its message for our times by aversion therapy? A bird in a crocodile’s mouth. But which the crocodile, which the bird? Which the suicide-bomber, which the bomb?


    “Duddits is what held you and Henry and Pete and Beaver together – you’ve always known that, but now you know something else, as well. Don’t you?”

    What, me? Or you? Going South often means a GoIng Down Syndrome, dropping, going backward… “Welcome to your own head, big boy.” And here, Jonesy’s is an endless warehouse of memory-boxes, where Gary meet Gray for the High Ground, Scooby DOO-DOO, notwithstanding, et al. Monsieur Mesmer included. ‘Kurtz’s net’, all these things to avoid, alter-egos, alter-nemos, other readers, the Author himself who sticks his biro byrus in your eye. Nobody else can write stuff like this to get at his readers, from his own hospital bed. Double Zero meets Emptiness. A Duel to the Death. You or him. each wanting to be human. And a spear-‘carrier’ character just for this chapter has this suicide-biro jabbed his way… Do not ‘save’.

    “He caught a shiny zipping glitter as his hand, which was gripping the ballpoint like a dagger, plunged the pen into his staring eye. There was a popping sound and he jittered back and forth behind the wheel like a badly managed puppet, his fist digging the pen in deeper and deeper, up to the halfway mark, then to the three- quarter mark, his split eyeball now running down the side of his face like a freakish tear. The tip struck something that felt like thin gristle, bound up for a moment, then passed through into the meat of his brain. You bastard, he thought…”

    Indeed only King can write like that.

    In contrast to my otherwise consistent habit of only real-time reviewing hard copies of books in paper, cheap paperback or luxurious hardback, this review is based on my reading of the ebook version of ‘Dreamcatcher’ bought from Amazon. It somehow seems right, or at least advisable, from outset. I’m now not so sure – can the viral telepathy or dream sickness cloud work better through screens than through paper? No answer does there come. Although there is a ‘comment’ facility on this page for others to join in, if anyone is actually bothered to read this review at all.


    “…only Jonesy could run with him mind for mind, book for book, idea for idea; only Jonesy also had the knack of dreaming outside the lines as well as seeing the line. But Jonesy was gone, wasn’t he?”

    A dream is the truth dreaming you (my expression, not this book’s) but it is what I feel this book is about, as if now reaching an attempted, disappointingly over-thought, ‘rationalisation’# of what happened in 1978 and now with the Grayboy invasion et al; when the teenage foursome went hunting to their hideaway, what was dreamed then, about Jonesy’s 1978 ‘puke’ as a sort of rectoplasmic (my word) version of byrus, the past as benign parasite of the future, and the future (now become the present) as cancerous parasite of the past. All to the ‘weakly vehement’ backdrop of shed and barn with people as part of Hitler’s hive-cull (my idea, not necessarily the text’s).
    “When it’s laid, it’s played.”
    Jonesy as King pursued by his son Owen-Joe? Cruel to be kind. With the help of the DUDDITS – the readers. Only the readers, having once been made to eat shit (earlier parts of this book?), have now the purest or objective telepathy by being able to absorb all the words without having first written them. Now able to puke them out and begin to rewrite them in the head? The reader fighting back.
    “Thoughts and words have become one.”
    But only possible in a reader’s mind. In this case, mine. There’s something white growing out of my shoulder. Paper before the print is applied; King was a pioneer of the ebook, don’t forget. Byrus Vyrus building up around the fingernails, left leg itching. “And a little in one ear.”
    Note, LEFT leg. Left ear? Byrus as telepathic papyrus? Papa byrus. The new tactile-pathic electronic-screen. It says in this chapter that byrus can think. Can cancer think? I have been diagnosed with it recently and I wonder how that is affecting my reading of the text and the writing of my review?

    # Please read Henry’s and Owen’s Socratic-Scientific Dialogue as ‘phooka horse’ in this chapter if you want such a rationalisation.
    Well, thinking about it, it’s not a rationalisation as such, but a reconciliation of the irrational as the arational.

    1 – 7

    “It was just a dream, Duddits.”

    “– Marigolds, a Christmas gift from Henry –”

    “…concentrating, he could look out through his own eyes.”

    “He looked at the boxes he’d dragged in here, most marked DUDDITS, a few marked DERRY.”

    “The Standpipe’s been gone since 1985.”

    These sections are like notes in memory boxes. The memory boxes in this book’s warehouse of the head. So my own review is taking its model of notes from that. Memory boxes like ‘clouds’ as Internet packages. A thinking cloud. How much memory is left for saving?

    Concentrating, too, King is perhaps looking through my eyes reading his own novel. But who is concentrating best to out-concentrate the other? My fulfilment of a ‘temptation to taunt him into a tantrum’? Or vice versa, as he links into a DUDDIT like me?

    The ‘standpipe’ has a 11/22/63 feel about it. Years are now messaging each other through time’s ‘cloud’ – 1978, 1985, the year ‘now’ in the book, the year ‘now’ when I’m actually reading it, the year ‘now’ when others once read it or will have read it. Thinking aloud, if thinking is allowed at all.

  22. 8 – 10

    “The years of 1984 and ’85 were bad ones in Derry. In the summer of 1984, three local teenagers had thrown a gay man into the Canal, killing him.”

    “‘We do what we have to do.’ / ‘That might be, but if you expect me to help you, you’re mad.’”

    It’s as if my dialogue of tussle with the author’s dark side reflects that of Gary and Gray quoted with an extract above, twin peaks peaking each other out — bad things seeping through, even sending the text itself bad, rotting the book’s tightness of plot, so that it now hangs flabby and contrived on the insipid screen, but the good things remaining like nostalgia, like when the foursome visited DUDDITS regularly in the good old days, but finally leaving him (or me?) with ‘chemo’… And porn instead of marigolds. Gaiety grayed out? Bracketed by Danielewski bracketed texts instead of King’s italic thinkings aloud, thinking clouds?

    “She just gave Duddits the Valium, painted his poor dry lips and the inside of his mouth with one of the lemon-flavored glycerine swabs that he liked – the inside of his mouth was always developing cankers and ulcers. Even when the chemo was over, these persisted.”

    “(the matter-of-fact pornography of the girl with her skirt raised had been replaced by Van Gogh’s Marigolds),”


    “Kurtz had everything on but one boot…”

    This chapter deals with ‘instinct’ or ‘the hunch’ pitted against ‘telepathy’ as dream sickness. Human instinct pitted against alien [[Byrus as reality and dream mixed]], a Byrus as foreshadowed by my earlier quote from Lord Byron. And MY instinct is that Owen Underhill here is the author’s unconscious instinct of the personification of his own non-dark side, despite Owen’s underhand childhood misdemeanours – Owen as leader of a kaTet fighting the kaTet of the dark side of the author (cf another K name: Kurtz) on behalf of all us DUDDITS. Yet, how can I be certain whether this is my instinct and not King’s instinct about farting out of me when concurrently looking through me at the text? Or do different rationalisable instincts make an arational fudge? Eras and identities morphing and blending, the Nemonymous Night of the soul. Refugees and internees not in Bosnia et al, but in a barn in America! A flabby flashmob of Canetti’s Crowds and Power?
    This text is now quite intractable, where each reader can have his or her own gestalt of meaning among many possible such separate gestalts, derived from ever-permutating leitmotifs, but there are still some wonderful flashes of genius, viz:

    “Kurtz shucked his gray workout shorts and stood naked in front of the mirror on the bedroom door, letting his eyes go up from his feet (where the first snarls of purple veins were beginning to show) to the crown of his head, where his graying hair stood up in a sleep-tousle. He was sixty, but not looking too bad; those busted veins on the sides of his feet were the worst of it. Had a hell of a good crank on him, too, although he had never made much use of it; women were, for the most part, vile creatures incapable of loyalty. They drained a man. In his secret unsane heart, where even his madness was starched and pressed and fundamentally not very interesting, Kurtz believed all sex was FUBAR. Even when it was done for procreation, the result was usually a brain- equipped tumor not much different from the shit-weasels.”

    With some trepidation that I might soon be forced (internally or externally) to give up reading this book before finishing it, I shall now proceed to:

    PART 3


    “Jonesy realized an amazing thing, both touching and terrifying: Mr Gray was smiling with Jonesy’s mouth. Not much, just a little, but it was a smile. He doesn’t really know what laughter is, Jonesy thought.”

    I sense I am reading the text closely, but someone within me is only skimming it. Or vice versa? One of us farting daintily, the other uncouthly. Is that what they call osmosis? 🙂


    ….OR one of us is reading closely a different book to the book that the other one of us is skimming?

    The chase, indeed. My chase to nail this book. My chase to find a cure for cancer. This review must follow the chase to the end. Someone called Moorcock wrote a book called ‘Cure for Cancer’, I recall. A title gives no entitlement. No cure for needy passive-aggression.

    Words and thoughts are not always one. The title of a book is just a label with a merest smidgen of indication as to its contents and it is not what it really IS. It is not its IS state, still spreading like Byron’s (Heart of) Darkness.

    “Hadn’t that been the real source of his despair? The grandiosity of the dreamcatcher concept coupled to the banality of the uses to which the concept had been put?”

    Didn’t King want ‘DREAMCATCHER’ to be called ‘CANCER’? A market killer…

    Meanwhile, KaTet still chases KaTet…

    “In the end it was Owen who took Roberta Cavell by the arms and – with one eye on the racing clock, all too aware that every minute and a half brought Kurtz a mile closer – told her why they had to take Duddits, no matter how ill he was.”

    That bit made me feel tearful. Little Head and Big Head.


    Onward; from Moorcock to Hitchcock; I sense a spectacularly thrilling cinematic ending at a potentially Byrus poisoned reservoir judging by my instinct or hunch.


    “South and South and South.”

    I sense the Owen and Henry KaTet has the open vowels as gestalt of O Henry. It all fits in. The dog is Oy, another ‘I’ that is me.

    “…and Jonesy thought: Outpegged by a retard – what do you know. Except this Duddits wasn’t retarded. Exhausted and dying, but not retarded.”

    Indeed, I am not a retard.

    “Mr Gray didn’t like the idea of leaving a trail ‘Duddits’ could see, but he knew something Jonesy didn’t.”

    With all my DREAMCATCHER reviews (when so-called a year ago, without thought to this novel), reviews that evolved from my public gestalt real-time reviews of fiction books since November 2008, I have ever not only sought to catch a book’s ‘dream’ but also follow its audit trail. Here it is a farting yellow bricking road induced from the Byrum or Bacon, a sort of yellow paint that Van Gogh used, literally, to EAT, a trail that mixes in even with American history, modern news management, philosophies of crowds and power, clouds and memory boxes, internal dialogues of existentialism and suicide…

    “Between 1860 and 1865, it seemed America had split in two, as byrus colonies did near the end of each growth cycle. There had been all sorts of causes, the chief of which had to do with ‘slavery’, but again, this was like calling shit or vomit reprocessed food. ‘Slavery’ meant nothing. ‘Right of secession’ meant nothing. ‘Preserving the Union’ meant nothing. Basically, they had just done what these creatures did best: they ‘got mad,’ which was really the same thing as ‘going mad’ but more socially acceptable. Oh, but on such a scale!”

    “The entity which now thought of itself as Mr Gray – who thought of himself as Mr Gray – had a serious problem, but at least it (he) knew it.”

    This book now even relates its farts to trumpets and in the news YESTERDAY (my time as I read the book and write this review) I heard about eerie trumpet-like sounds coming all over the globe. http://www.trendspot.co/2015/06/eerie-trumpet-like-sounds-heard-across-the-globe-now-heard-in-some-parts-of-the-Philippines.html – You’ve gotta believe it.

    This is one whole crazy mishmash. But my audit trail holds – to Quabbin Gestalt and beyond. Or so I sense. A unique masterpiece of a mess.

    “Are we going to be heroes?”

  27. One of the longest aqueduct tuneless in the world

    One of the longest aqueduct tunnels in the world


    “Mr Gray feared Duddits, sensed that he was the one most responsible for how absurdly, infuriatingly difficult this job had become. If he could stay ahead of Duddits, all would end well. It would help to know how close Duddits was, but they were blocking him –”

    This book is imbued with the contrast between Byrus and snow. It somehow makes tactile the battle between author and author, author and reader, and something that neither can control. The audit trail has become that aqueduct, a potential conduit for a cleansing force, a mixed-up religious force of fiction…

    “….a byrus culture which Jonesy’s mind identified simultaneously as ‘Christianity’ and ‘bullshit’. The image was very clear, from a book called ‘the Holy Bible’. It showed ‘God’s only begotten son’ carrying a lamb – wearing it, almost. The lamb’s front legs hung over one side of ‘begotten son’s’ chest, its rear legs over the other.”

    It is also a study of the Corridors of Pain, filled with memory boxes.

    It is also a battle between KaTets.

    DUDDITS is of course the Dreamacatcher that, in turn, IS the book in a raw state, a book that eventually dies. But as each reader turns to it or returns to it, DUDDITS is born again. “They often come to visit it in his dream.” That other force accretively discovers human emotions not only from the other characters but also upon the book’s paper or screen itself, turning it grey with text – eventually growing black as the darkness. But Conrad’s Darkness or Byron’s?
    Whatever the case, DUDDITS always wins, despite having given Mr Gray ‘his foothold, his mindhold.’ A tilt in the balance of his Douglas Cavell face.
    The customer is always right. Turning the paper white again by creating letters of text upon it instead of deadpan greyness, ready for the emotions to accrue again, ready to read.

    This mad book only works as a cathartic self-anatomisation by the author of the author through the eyes of his reader so as to transcend its madness and pain, his own madness and pain, ever hoping for the ultimate reader to solve its cumulative puzzle. Whether that reader in the shape of myself has now arrived, I hope not. The book needs recurrent readers to keep it alive, ever on the brink of, but never reaching, resolution. Even madness, one short step from genius, needs its own book. This book.

    “And Jonesy slipped into darkness, smiling.”


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