Monday, September 22, 2008

In the shadow of the King

Have you heard of Tabitha King? You might know she’s the wife of Stephen King, but do you know she’s also an author? No?

I won’t hold that against you, I found out by accident myself. I mean, I always knew she was a writer, I’d read in one of the biographies about her husband how the two met at college, and how ‘Tabby’ was a poet. And apparently ‘damn cute’, according to Stephen. But, as usual, I digress.

I discovered the first novel of hers I read by accident, but I hunted down the others with intent. I only came across it because someone stuck it on the shelf next to the Stephen King paperbacks, and I always check there. Just in case, you know, a book release might have snuck past me.

That first Tabitha King novel was The Book of Reuben and it was a revelation to me. From the first page I was falling into a parallel world, a black hole, a trance, whatever you like to call it when a story simply takes you away. Tabitha King writes engaging, lyrical prose with never a wasted word and she tells a great story. I haven’t read all of her books yet (I can be a bit of a squirrel; I like to know there’s some still waiting for me) but I have read a few, enough to know Reuben was no fluke.

Tabitha King doesn’t have a huge body of work. I wonder if it’s because she’s been busy with raising a family and being an author’s wife. I believe Lisey’s Story isn’t about Tabitha and Stephen King in the strictest sense, but it surely isn’t totally unconnected. Perhaps Tabitha King is just a writer who lays down words over a more leisurely turn of the seasons than other, more famous authors.

Has Tabitha lived in the shadow of the King? Maybe. If so, her talent is shade-loving, and has produced exquisite blooms.


Kirsty C said...

I have been meaning to read Tabitha for a while, I must get to it. There was a very good interview with her in the Writer's Digest about 6 months ago. As you would expect of someone Stephen King would choose to spend his life with, she sounds rather awesome.


AJ Macpherson said...

Hi Kirsty,

Wish I'd seen that interview - I might see if I can track it down. And you're welcome to borrow Tabitha, any time :-)