Christine by Stephen King

An awkward teen buys a junky old Plymouth that seems to have a life of its own–and sinister plans for Artie and those he loves.

I’ve read Christine a bunch of times, and I always get caught up in the hopelessness of Artie’s situation. As soon as he buys the car, he’s a goner. King never gives the sense that anything anyone does will save him. The only other King book that attains this level of nihilism is Pet Semetary, but at least Christine has some rays of hope throughout. Since best friend Dennis is narrated, he is a presumed survivor, and while he sounds shattered, he never sounds destroyed.

First person is a difficult choice for a horror narrative, unless the narrator is unreliable (Patrick McGrath does this quite well.) Dennis ultimately has no agenda in telling this story, unlike the first person narrator in King’s recent car tale, From a Buick 8, and so the horror happens at a remove. There’s a lot of gore, but no icy fingers of fear.

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