The first time I laid my eyes on this book was last August at our nearest Reliance TimeOut store. The book was as big as the Bible. Another puzzling thing about the book was that it had multiple covers. One of the covers was that of a young girl, another was of an old man. This got me thinking – since the covers are different, it most certainly must be short stories. However, as far as I knew, Stephen King specialized in Horror genre and not short stories. Oh well, maybe he had decided to leap into the world of short stories – I decided.
Of course, now you must be wondering, why doesn’t the female just read the book cover and find out what on earth it was about – short stories or something else, instead of prancing about guessing. But being a confirmed bibliophile, I was too busy poring over the multitude of books available at my fingertips at the store. Besides, seeing the size of the book, I was certain that I wouldn’t be buying it.
I left the store that day without any books (because Hubby was tired and grumpy after holding Baby while I was grazing on books). However, after getting a Reliance gift voucher within 2 weeks, I came running back to browse through at TimeOut again. This time I was sure that I would buy some book to keep me occupied. ‘Under the Dome’ was again looking at me curiously as if wondering – “Why does this lady pick me up every time she browses this aisle, and then puts me down again?”. Once again, I surmised that the book consisted of short stories. And decided to buy it. See, the thing with me is that, once I start a book I HAVE to finish it. However, if they are short stories, I can easily finish once story at a time and then decide when I want to read the next one. SO having a book with short stories was the best option.
I came home, and the bag containing the book lay undisturbed for a week or so. Then, I suddenly remembered that I had a book in queue for me and decided to start. Once I opened the book, I realised that it was a novel and not a short story as I had imagined.
Over a span of 2 months, I managed to finish the book. The book started off in a verrrrrrrrrrry boring tone with descriptions about the town and an ex-military guy named Dale Barbara (a.k.a ‘Barbie’), his thoughts and recollections. I would have thrown it into the rubbish heap if it hadn’t been a Stephen king book and I hadn’t shelled out Rs. 350 for it.
Then things began to get interesting. All of a sudden a huge dome is erected all around the perimeters of the Chester’s Mill town – a dome which lets air and water into the town in trickles. In other words, the 300 or so residents of the tow need to make do with the resources available to them. For added spice, other characters thrown in are a corrupt Selectman Big Jim, and his cronies and some upstanding citizens like the newspaper editor Julie Shumway.
The story has a strange parallel to the world of today, where we have limited natural resources and the huge amount of pollution. Instead of dragging the whole world into it, King has localised the effects of global warming and pollution to a tiny town and shown the effects quite effectively. It has its share of Al Gorelike people as well as ones like Corporations that try to make sure no regulations are passed with respect to carbon emissions et al.
It shows the psychological effects on people when they find that they are running out of resources like food, water and air, and how they react in such circumstances. Portrayed beautifully, I would say that it is a must read for anyone.