Stephen King has been scaring the American populace silly for the past thirty five years with “what if?” scenarios. For example, what if there was a killer dog? Or a killer clown? Or a killer ’58 Plymouth Fury? Or even killer cell phones? The “what if?” scenarios behind King’s most popular novels always feature everyday objects turning deadly, but King’s favorite book of his, Lisey’s Story, doesn’t feature a killer antagonist at all.
Originally published in 2006, Lisey’s Story follows follows Lisey Landon – the widow to a highly successful novelist, Scott Landon – as she cleans out her husband’s writing office two years after his death. On top of finding unpublished manuscripts of Scott’s work, she finds evidence of his abusive childhood and his supernatural abilities.
According to Stephen King himself, inspiration for the novel struck him when he was hit by a van in 1999, and had to spend weeks in a grueling recovery process, during which his wife decided to clean out his office space in their home, and King wondered what would become of it if he were to die.
In my personal opinion, Lisey’s Story is by far the best of Stephen King’s work, but it’s easy to understand why it’s his favorite: it’s autobiographical for him. It’s perhaps the most relatable story for him he’s ever written, and illustrates to us the one thing that seems to scare the King of Horror the most: the devastating effect his untimely demise might have on his family.
While Lisey’s Story may not be the most traditional Stephen King novel, its terror comes from a far more relatable, almost universal fear.