In the same year that his successful six-part serial novel The Green Mile came out, King released two additional novels on the same day in September — The Regulators (under the name of King’s long-retired pseudonym, Richard Bachman) and Desperation (690 pages), about an ancient evil that takes over a secluded Nevada town. The two books were distorted mirror images of each other, featuring the same cast of characters in different situations. Desperation grapples with the idea of an absent, and sometimes cruel, God.
King: I was raised in a religious household, and I really wanted to give God his due in this book. So often, in novels of the supernatural, God is a sort of kryptonite substance, or like holy water to a vampire. You just bring on God, and you say “in his name,” and the evil thing disappears. But God as a real force in human lives is a lot more complex than that. And I wanted to say that in Desperation. God doesn’t always let the good guys win.
I always wanted to say that you can still reconcile the idea that things are not necessarily going to go well without falling back on platitudes like “God has a plan” and “This is for the greater good.” It’s possible to be in pain and still believe that there is some force for good in the universe. That certainly doesn’t mean to say that everybody should go out and join the First United Church of My God Is Bigger Than Your God. That’s half the trouble with the world. Maybe more.
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