“The incredible lightness of being”
A short story published in the form of a book, one might say. And why not. King has previously published short novels bundled into collections, as if they were short stories. The man can do what he likes.
Elevation is Thinner, but exactly the opposite in every way. Like the protagonist of Kings’s dark Bachman tale, Scott Carey is becoming lighter. Not exactly losing weight but simply applying less and less pressure on the scales. It is, of course, impossible which, of course, won’t stop King from writing about it and making you believe it.
In keeping with his desire to keep up, King makes his sympathetic protagonist a web designer and has obviously done some research, though not on as detailed a technical level as in Mr Mercedes. Castle Rock is here presented as a normal town with well-todo people and a golf course. A town people from elsewhere would gladly visit for a charity race. ’Inside view’ and ’The Night Flier’ flutter by as references. The story also involves a newly arrived lesbian couple running a restaurant but having a hard time with the conservative locals.
The weight mystery is mainly a positive experience for Scott. The “Turkey trot” running competition becomes an occasion to surprise the town with an impressive performance, enhanced by a profound joy brought on by just about everything around and inside him. His heart, “that sturdy little engine”, the sound of running feet on a covered bridge. Even as a strange impending doom draws near, he’s having the time of his life and making new friends. You’d be forgiven for cynically wondering when everything is going to turn bad.
Will it? I won’t say more than that it’s a story not only about a strange phenomenon but about friendship and reconciliation as well. Touching and heart-felt, Elevation may not be a Real novel, but it’s a more memorable story than many thrice as long. It’s also unironically message-y, pointing to a better way in a divisive time, and, dare I say it, uplifting.
But of course he sneaks in one overt jab at a certain president.
“(…) which would have been bad – even Trumpian – diplomacy”