TITLE: THE DARK TOWER II: THE DRAWING OF THE THREE
AUTHOR: STEPHEN KING
PUBLISHER: NEW ENGLISH LIBRARY
BLURB FROM THE COVER
Roland of Gilead, the Last Gunslinger, encounters three doors which open to 1980’s America, where he joins forces with the defiant Eddie Dean and the courageous, volatile Odetta Holmes. And confronts deadly serial killer Jack Mort.
As the titanic forces gather, a savage struggle between underworld evil and otherworldly enemies conspire to bring an end to Roland’s quest for the Dark Tower.
The gunslinger came awake from a confused dream which seemed to consist of a single image; that of the Sailor in the Tarot deck from which the man in black had dealt (or purported to deal) the gunslinger’s own moaning future.
The Drawing of The Three is one of my favourites from King’s Dark Tower series.
STRUCTURE: King uses a standard, linear structure in The Drawing of the Three. The events follow in chronological order. I’ve read so many non-linear narratives recently it will take a while for me to get used to a linear narrative. The Drawing of The Three is split into three large sections, each one deals with King ‘drawing’ one of the three people who will be important to his quest – Eddie Dean, a junkie from New York City, Odetta Holes/Detta Walker, a black woman from Atlanta whose schizophrenia has caused her to have two distinct and different personalities and Jack Mort, the pusher, a bad man who has links to Odetta/Detta and Jake, the boy Roland encountered in the first novel, The Gunslinger. There is a brief interlude between each section that focuses on Roland and the people he has drawn making their way to the next door on the beach towards the tower of Roland’s obsession. I liked this structure. King even manages to slip in a few unobtrusive trips down memory lane.
PLACE: Almost all of The Drawing of the Three takes place in America at different points and places in the 80’s. King doesn’t spend a lot of time in Roland’s world. The sections set in Roland’s world take place on a seemingly endless beach with Roland and co. moving slowly towards the next door. They need to fight off weird lobster monsters that live in the sea and like human flesh. At points, Roland and Eddie need to confront Detta Walker, who is dangerous and would kill them both if they dropped their guard for a second. I enjoyed the glimpses King offers into Roland’s world but I was keen for Roland to be done with America so I could read more about his world. King’s descriptions of the hostile beach and the lobster monsters were very vivid and visceral. I enjoyed Roland’s trips to different where’s and when’s in America. King brought these different parts of the country to vivid life. Some of the best sections involved Roland’s rather hilarious interpretation of our world. I love the scene near the end when, as Jack, he hold up a drugstore to steal some penicillin worth about $70 and uses Jack’s $6,500 Rolex watch to pay for it.
CHARACTERISATION: The cast of characters is small in The Drawing of The Three. The main characters are Roland, Eddie, Odetta/Detta and Jack. King, as ever, does a great job of making these people so real they leap off the page. Roland is still a bit of a mystery and remains this way for most of the novels in the series. King makes him real and fascinating enough I wanted to read more about him. I thought Eddie was a great character. King creates an excellent portrait of someone who is dependent on drugs. Eddie is a heroin addict when Roland enters his mind when he steps through the first door. Only King could make a junkie a great character. I loved Odetta/Detta. I found her character incredibly sad. I think King’s portrayal of schizophrenia and multiple personality disorder was really moving and realistic. I thought it was heart-breaking when Roland later discovers Jack pushed the brick on Odetta’s head as a child that caused Detta to develop and pushed her in front of the train years later that took her legs. Roland is able to fuse the personalities of Detta and Odetta into one, Susannah Dean. I’m looking forward to reading about her. Jack was a nasty piece of work; a serial killer who pushes things onto his victims of pushes them into something. King did a great job of making him creepy and unsettling. I was relived at the end of The Drawing of The Three when Roland makes him commit suicide at the very station where he pushed Odetta in front of a train years before. Even the minor characters Roland encounters in each trip through the door are well drawn.
PLOT: I think King offers something unique and original with The Drawing of The Three. The premise is simple; Roland encounters three doors on a seemingly endless beach that let him step inside the body of someone from different places and points in America in the 80’s. I think that’s pretty original. I liked it when Roland drags one of the men Eddie was carrying drugs for into his world and feeds him to the lobster monsters. Some of the best scenes involved Roland fumbling his way through our world. In Roland’s world sugar is luxury afford by only the very rich. He can’t believe how much of it is available in our world and how cheap it is. He’s can’t believe the box of penicillin he steals from the drugstore has 200 doses in it or that he can get bullets for his guns in boxes of 50. There are loads of scenes I loved in The Drawing of The Three. I loved it when Roland hides the bags of cocaine Eddie was trying to smuggle in his world and Eddie is arrested by police who are baffled and want to know where the drugs they knew he was carrying are gone. A steward saw the bulges under his shirt and alerted them. I loved the shoot-out at the end of Eddie’s section. I loved it when Roland entered Detta’s body while she was in the middle of shoplifting in Macy’s. Jack’s section was hilarious as Roland robbed the gun shop and chemist. His interpretation of events was hilarious.
The Dark Tower III: The Waste Lands by Stephen King