Elevation

Elevation

The latest from legendary master storyteller Stephen King, a riveting, extraordinarily eerie, and moving story about a man whose mysterious affliction brings a small town together—a timely, upbeat tale about finding common ground despite deep-rooted differences.Although Scott Carey doesn’t look any different, he’s been steadily losing weight. There are a couple of other od...

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Title:Elevation
Author:Stephen King
Rating:
Edition Language:English

Elevation Reviews

  • Justin Tate

    Feel-good novel of the year? Here Stephen King steps aside from horror to write a poignant little novella on unity, tolerance and rising above the fray. Of course there is also a supernatural twist. For me it works because of its brevity and not in spite of it. Just enough is explained to inspire reflection, without ever getting too political or caught up in unnecessary adventure. The ending image is mesmerizing. I love the emotional finality of it, although I'm not entirely sure how to interpre

    Feel-good novel of the year? Here Stephen King steps aside from horror to write a poignant little novella on unity, tolerance and rising above the fray. Of course there is also a supernatural twist. For me it works because of its brevity and not in spite of it. Just enough is explained to inspire reflection, without ever getting too political or caught up in unnecessary adventure. The ending image is mesmerizing. I love the emotional finality of it, although I'm not entirely sure how to interpret it. Anybody want to start a discussion?

    As an aside, I feel the audio version is a must. Stephen King narrates it himself and the added personal touch enriches the experience. Also, the audio version includes a bonus short story called Laurie (also read by King) that was published for free on his website a while back. It's an okay story, not amazing on its own, but meshes well with the themes of Elevation.

  • Matt

    It is always nice to turn one’s attention to a piece by Stephen King, where reality can sometimes take a backseat to entertainment. Some bemoan this, though is fiction not supposed to be a chance to suspend beliefs, if only for a short time? Scott Carey appears to be a robust man. When he calls upon an old friend whose medical practice closed a number of years before, Scott admits that he has quite the problem. While his appetite is voracious, he keeps losing weight. An additional concern is tha

    It is always nice to turn one’s attention to a piece by Stephen King, where reality can sometimes take a backseat to entertainment. Some bemoan this, though is fiction not supposed to be a chance to suspend beliefs, if only for a short time? Scott Carey appears to be a robust man. When he calls upon an old friend whose medical practice closed a number of years before, Scott admits that he has quite the problem. While his appetite is voracious, he keeps losing weight. An additional concern is that he weighs the same fully dressed as he does in his skivvies. Astonished, this friend seeks to do some research and asks Scott to keep an eye on things. Going about his business, Scott learn that his neighbours, Deirdre and Missy, are being ostracised by the townsfolk of Castle Rock. A married, lesbian couple, Deirdre and Missy have faced ridicule and their local restaurant is on its last legs. When Scott seeks to speak out against the bigotry, he is silenced not only by those who toss epithets, but also by Deirdre herself, who wants to handle her own battles. While he continues to lose weight for some unknown reason, Scott enters the Castle Rock Turkey Trot, in hopes of staying in shape, for what it’s worth. Deirdre, a competitive runner in her younger days, is right there beside him. When something goes awry during the race, Scott and Deirdre are forced to come together, working as a team. This connection could serve to help others see a different side to them both. All the while, the scale is a slow reminder that Scott’s days are numbered, as his weight dwindles. Fairly soon, there will be nothing left but the indelible mark of his friendship on a few souls. An interesting piece, better labelled a novella, by King. One never knows what to expect when the King of Horror (pun intended) releases a new bit of writing.

    Some see ‘Stephen King’ and run the other way, either because of his macabre offerings from decades past or that he is simply too ‘off the wall’. I tend to turn towards him for these reasons, as the reader can never be entirely sure what to expect. King shapes the Scott Carey plight in such a way that it is less horrific and more a medical anomaly. It is a hurdle that Scott must overcome or at least face to the best of his abilities. While there is little backstory offered here, the reader learns some of the lead-up to Scott’s visit to a medical professional before exploring the character development throughout this ‘illness’. I can only guess some of the inner turmoil such a confusion prognosis would create, though King does a nice job of exploring this throughout the piece. As time progresses, Scott must come to terms with whatever is going on, forcing those around him to swallow the same pill. There is little that can be done, though no one is as accepting of it as Scott himself. The other characters in the piece, particularly Missy and Deirdre, offer some interesting insight into 21st century tolerance, particularly in small towns, when it comes to bigotry. While King does not bemoan the point, there will be some who cannot see anything wrong with ostracising others for their personal choices, which speaks of a larger issue best left dormant here. The story was decent and the narrative flowed well, though I would not call this a stellar piece. King certainly offers up some inspiration where it is due, though I am not going to pound my drum and recommend that every reader rush to purchase the piece. It’s a nice bridge between two books for those who want something a little different.

    Kudos, Mr. King, for a unique story that keeps the reader involved throughout. Well done and I cannot wait to see what else you have in store for your fans in the coming year!

    Like/hate the review? An ever-growing collection of others appears at:

    A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge:

  • Johann (jobis89)

    "Everything leads to this, he thought. To this elevation."

    Scott Carey is steadily losing weight, but he doesn't look any different. To make things even weirder, he weighs the same in and out of clothes, no matter how heavy they are…

    When I'm reading a book, and because my memory is terrible, I will usually make some observations and reminders in the Notes section of my iPhone which are very helpful when I go to write my review. Given the length of this novella and the fact that I read Elevation i

    "Everything leads to this, he thought. To this elevation."

    Scott Carey is steadily losing weight, but he doesn't look any different. To make things even weirder, he weighs the same in and out of clothes, no matter how heavy they are…

    When I'm reading a book, and because my memory is terrible, I will usually make some observations and reminders in the Notes section of my iPhone which are very helpful when I go to write my review. Given the length of this novella and the fact that I read Elevation in two sittings, there really wasn't a lot of opportunities to make notes. In fact, I only had one note written down for Elevation: "Stop obsessing over legs" - I mean, come on, King!! If he's not commenting on a woman's breasts, it's the legs. And 95% of the time, it's really not relevant or necessary. There were two lesbians in this story and I lost count of how many times there were references to their legs and/or the running shorts they were wearing. I cannot fathom how Tabby hasn't pulled King up on this. That woman usually takes no shit. But that is an annoyance I have learned to semi-accept when it comes to reading King - I just needed to get that mini-rant out of the way.

    I read Elevation right away without having read any prior reviews, so all thoughts and reactions were truly my own - I didn't go into it expecting to hate/love it, whatever. And I believe that's the best way to read any new King. In my opinion, Elevation is not King's best, by any stretch of the imagination. However, I did quite enjoy it. I really liked it for what it was - an uplifting story with the kind of message we need when the world is falling to shit around us. I didn't realise how attached to the characters I had become until the very end when I was tearing up and feeling quite emotional. No other author can make me feel as attached or emotionally invested in a character's story than King.

    It's not horror and I don't know why it's been categorised as horror by Goodreads, but I never expected it to be going by the synopsis or the beautiful, bright cover. It's more magical realism - and I liked the direction that King took with it. I actually wish Elevation had been developed into a full-size novel, not a chunky book, but something similar to one of his shorter novels. I feel like he could have expanded upon so many things, developed the characters a bit more, spent more time following Scott's unusual problem. It was definitely good to be back in Castle Rock, even though it didn't really feel like a typical Castle Rock story. And of course, the Easter eggs were as fun as always!

    I have seen complaints about paying full price for such a short story, and I can fully appreciate that annoyance - although I would say that is more down to the publishers than King himself. Elevation would have worked much better if released as part of a collection, similar to Gwendy's Button Box last year. New releases are great when they're so regular, but I'd honestly rather wait and just buy a collection!

    This is slightly SPOILERY so beware of you haven't read Elevation yet, but I had seen a few reviews where people had complained about the inference that "Oh these two poor lesbians needed help from a straight white male" and I honestly did not view it in that way AT ALL. Do you really think King has that perspective? Given that his own daughter is a lesbian? In this day and age, nothing is taken at face value anymore, it has to be twisted or interpreted in some way to be negative. Instead of viewing it like that, how about just viewing it as an act of kindness? Of community? Of giving someone a helping hand when they're struggling? It really baffles me. Same when it comes to people giving off about King being so political - I'm sorry, is this a new thing? King has a history of being political in his writing. I will admit, however, that the politics are a bit heavy-handed in this story and it could have been toned down a bit.

    There's a lot of dividing opinions on Elevation, but overall, I had a good time! 3.5 stars.

  • Matthew

    After a couple of recent monsters (both size of book and characters within), King gives us a novella that reads quickly and could easily been a part of a short story collection. In fact, I think it is considerably shorter than several of the novellas in his collections like Four Past Midnight and Different Seasons. But, it is a decent little mysterious story if you need a King fix.

    Let’s set the record straight on something right up front – this is very far from being a horror story. I have seen

    After a couple of recent monsters (both size of book and characters within), King gives us a novella that reads quickly and could easily been a part of a short story collection. In fact, I think it is considerably shorter than several of the novellas in his collections like Four Past Midnight and Different Seasons. But, it is a decent little mysterious story if you need a King fix.

    Let’s set the record straight on something right up front – this is very far from being a horror story. I have seen it designated as horror and nominated as horror in the Goodreads Choice Awards (where I have now voted for it, even though it is not really horror, because I have not read any of the other selections). It is a good little story, but you really cannot automatically send King to the Horror category anymore! In fact, I see that The Outsider was nominated in the Mystery and Thriller category. Elevation is much more of a Mystery/Thriller while The Outsider is definitely horror. Oh well!

    Now that that is out of the way, thoughts on the book itself! It is very well written and a very quick read. If you are on hold at the library for this you shouldn’t have to wait long as I think many people will be able to finish it in one sitting. It reminds me a bit of some early King stories (Thinner comes to mind, and you will see why when you read it!). Also, I think this is his first official Castle Rock story in a long time. At one point he was talking about retiring Castle Rock as a location (with Needful Things, I think), but this book is 100% Castle Rock!

    I will say, without opinion or agenda, just laying it out there, that this book definitely has a lot of undertones related to the current climate in America. This is not surprising as King is very vocal on Twitter about how he feels about things, so it seems pretty obvious that it is likely to seep into his writing. If you are someone who likes to keep politics out of your reading, this may be distracting for you. But, I think it also may be unnoticeable by some – it just depends on the personality of the reader. For me, it was fine.

    I didn’t go in looking for King’s best as it is a shorter book and it didn’t really have a lot of fanfare that I saw prior to its release (the library didn’t even realize it was coming out until I went to ask if I could put it on hold!), so I just went for it like I do with all Stephen King. What I found was an entertaining, almost cute, story that has a little inspiration, some heart string pulling, lots of mystery, might get a few synapses firing in your brain, and will definitely leave you wondering . . .

  • Trish

    You know the end of the world is coming when Stephen King writes stories that are only 160 pages long. Or at least I thought so until a true King fan educated me. *lol*

    Seriously though, I saw this in my TL only the other day because many others here have read it and I didn't know anything about it at first. When finally reading the blurb tonight, I was intrigued by SK writing a story that sounded as if it was meant to function as a bandaid. That is because this author usually draws up characters

    You know the end of the world is coming when Stephen King writes stories that are only 160 pages long. Or at least I thought so until a true King fan educated me. *lol*

    Seriously though, I saw this in my TL only the other day because many others here have read it and I didn't know anything about it at first. When finally reading the blurb tonight, I was intrigued by SK writing a story that sounded as if it was meant to function as a bandaid. That is because this author usually draws up characters that are uncongenial, even "the good guys". Maybe he's changed his MO because of what is currently going on in the US. I don't know but it would make sense and if it's true, it's a mighty fine stand he makes.

    The story is set in the famous town of Castle Rock, where a married lesbian couple has settled and opened up a restaurant. People can "accept" lesbians (the cheek to think like that!) but not MARRIED gay couples (I'm not even gonna comment on that line of thinking). I have no trouble believing that there are people (not only in the US) who actually think like that.

    However, in Castle Rock, it just so happens that one of the couple's neighbours, Scott Carey, finally realizes all the shit these two women have to face. Granted, one of them isn't exactly nice herself but maybe that's because of the town's hostility.

    He decides to help which, at first, backfires. Slowly but surely, though, could a miracle happen and the small town come together to overcome the differences on all sides in order to heal (like the country should)?

    Oh, and because this is Stephen King, there is an element of weirdness in this story as well as great writing and infuriating characters after all. So no, I didn't rate this so highly just because of the socio-political theme or because I hate homophobia / bigotry but because the author really pulled it off wonderfully. Maybe it's a bit too idealistic but dammit, we could all do with a little silver lining and optimism right now, don't you think?! Besides, that wasn't the only element to this story (don't forget the possibly supernatural element because the author hasn't).

    Also, this was narrated by the author himself and he really is great at reading his own story (not all authors are, believe me ;P).

  • Emily May

    This was...

    I love a good

    book. From the classics like

    and

    , to the recent

    and

    , I just think he's a really great storyteller with a knack for strong character development. But

    didn't even feel like a King story to me.

    The characters in this story are such

    . I know it's a novella, but maybe it shouldn't be if you can't write some life into your characters in less than 200 pa

    This was...

    I love a good

    book. From the classics like

    and

    , to the recent

    and

    , I just think he's a really great storyteller with a knack for strong character development. But

    didn't even feel like a King story to me.

    The characters in this story are such

    . I know it's a novella, but maybe it shouldn't be if you can't write some life into your characters in less than 200 pages. Scott Carey is a bland Good Guy™ who trips over himself trying not to offend anyone or make a fuss even when his body is literally becoming weightless. The vegetarian Lesbian Couple™ are made up of sweet foodie Missy, and abrasive runner Deirdre. Side characters play the role of Homophobic Trumpers™ and Benevolent Doctor™.

    's story is a little weak, too. Scott finds he is losing more and more weight, even though his body isn't getting any smaller. He also has the curious ability to render weightless the people and things he touches. With his weight decreasing every day, he is forced to consider-- what happens when he reaches zero?

    It could have been interesting, but I felt the direction the story took was unsatisfying. Scott's bizarre condition ends up bringing people together - the gay couple and the homophobes - in a way which was too

    for my tastes. Unlike some readers, I like that King is political in his books and I have no problem with him dropping in a Trump insult or two, but the political message here felt forced and poorly-done.

    "Why can't we all just get along?" is a sweet message - and perhaps one we need right now - but it needs a better story and fewer stereotypical characters to save it from being too sentimental and contrived. It doesn't get that here.

    Also: I have no idea why this book is categorized as "horror".

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  • Sadie Hartmann Mother Horror

    Please read this review *after* you've read this book for yourself. For some brief, non spoilerly thoughts, I did a mini review on my Instagram.

    SPOILERS & PLOT DETAILS BELOW

    I'm always excited when I hear of a new Stephen King book (of any length, genre, collaboration, collection) hitting the market. I like to wait until the day it releases to go to my local bookstore and find it--this time I went to the University of Washington, Tacoma campus bookstore to buy it. Exciting times. I was surpri

    Please read this review *after* you've read this book for yourself. For some brief, non spoilerly thoughts, I did a mini review on my Instagram.

    SPOILERS & PLOT DETAILS BELOW

    I'm always excited when I hear of a new Stephen King book (of any length, genre, collaboration, collection) hitting the market. I like to wait until the day it releases to go to my local bookstore and find it--this time I went to the University of Washington, Tacoma campus bookstore to buy it. Exciting times. I was surprised by its cute, compact size and attractive cover design. Sidenote: It's a bitch to photograph with its very shiny dust jacket.

    Also surprising is that somehow I managed to avoid reading any plot summaries for this one. I knew it was a novella but I wasn't temped to read more about it.

    I read the inside flap in the car on the way home from the bookstore and my heart sank a little.

    "but the people of Castle Rock want no part of a gay married couple, and the place is in trouble."

    Oh no.

    To be perfectly honest, I've grown a bit weary of Stephen King and Joe Hill's political commentary in their stories. It's not because I don't want to hear it or that I believe we should keep our real lives and fiction separate (although reading is a break from it all and a necessary reprieve so it is an intrusion when I desire to unplug from the negativity) but it's because I don't find Hill or King to be very good at mixing their fiction and politics. They lack finesse. It's too obvious and too cliched. *Super* heavy handed.

    ELEVATION, for example is stuffed with ridiculous cliches and stereotypes.

    Vegetarian, jogging lesbian couple where one partner is "icy cold" and the other one is "fragile"?

    Close-minded "Trumpians" who won't support a restaurant because a gay married couple own it?

    Bad blood between neighbors because of dogs pooping on the lawn?

    A kindly retired doctor with savory advice? A do-gooder with a mysterious illness and an agenda to save his town from homophobia--can't we all just get along??! It's this nice man's dying wish!!

    Barf.

    Yawn.

    This story was so thin the politics stuck out like a sore thumb. Literally zero backstory of any of the characters. I didn't care about anyone to the point of investing or caring about what would happen.

    (For a better horror story celebrating gay marriage-read A CABIN AT THE END OF THE WORLD by Paul Tremblay. Tremblay perfectly painted a beautiful family with loving, meticulous detail and really approached the subject with normative subtlety so that it felt authentic and real not a poster gay couple to preach the author's politics-but REAL PEOPLE)

    Another pet peeve of mine was how many times the main character ogled the physical attributes of the lesbian couple-their legs, their form fitting clothes, their short shorts, their hair, their eyes...ALWAYS THEIR LEGS. Really annoying and unnecessary. It was as if King didn't know how to describe the women's looks without doing it through the eyes of a man who is attracted to them. Lame.

    It was so lame I began marking in my book every time I saw it.

    Anyways, this was a huge disappointment. King is very vocal about his political opinions, which is fine, I just wish he'd save it for his Twitter and write in his wheelhouse.

    PS. NOT HORROR. I have no idea why it was nominated for best horror.

  • Edward Lorn

    I'm crowning this book The Worst Thing Stephen King has Ever Published.

    Die-hard conservatives are going to hate ELEVATION because of the gender politics. SJWs are going to hate it because the LGBTQ characters in the book literally need a straight cis white man to help them win. Everyone else will hate it because it's god-fucked boring.

    In summation: This tone-deaf pile of anal drippings reeks of desperation. Trying to please everyone usually does.

    I'm crowning this book The Worst Thing Stephen King has Ever Published.

    Die-hard conservatives are going to hate ELEVATION because of the gender politics. SJWs are going to hate it because the LGBTQ characters in the book literally need a straight cis white man to help them win. Everyone else will hate it because it's god-fucked boring.

    In summation: This tone-deaf pile of anal drippings reeks of desperation. Trying to please everyone usually does.

  • Bookdragon Sean

    I’m not going to mess around with this one: me and King are completely through.

    I’m going to keep my review short and simply say that he doesn’t work for me. I hate the way he writes. I hate the way he puts sentences together and I hate the way he forms characters. I don’t get on with him. After a few chapters of this I remembered exactly why I avoid him. It’s not this book, it’s just King in general. He’s not my cup of tea.

    (Postscript – if you recommend a book of King’s in the comments sectio

    I’m not going to mess around with this one: me and King are completely through.

    I’m going to keep my review short and simply say that he doesn’t work for me. I hate the way he writes. I hate the way he puts sentences together and I hate the way he forms characters. I don’t get on with him. After a few chapters of this I remembered exactly why I avoid him. It’s not this book, it’s just King in general. He’s not my cup of tea.

    (Postscript – if you recommend a book of King’s in the comments section I won’t listen. I’ve tried five of his novels now. I will not try anymore, life’s too short to read authors you don’t like.)

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