"I forgive you everything.
"Can you forgive me?"
The Wind Through the Keyhole is a Dark Tower novel written by American author Stephen King. The novel, released late April 2012, is the most recent publication to the series - now counting eight among its number - but chronologically the events recounted are during the travels between Wizard and Glass and Wolves of the Calla. The hardcover is a matte black binding, with a matching black elbow. The title adorns only the spine; gold letters written in a serif font.
The Wind Through the Keyhole has a different feel than the remainder of the Dark Tower Series. I had first picked up a used bookstore copy of The Gunslinger in 2007, in a little strip mall situated in Pasadena, California near the airport I was to be flying out of later that day. A touch of arithmetic reveals that I had just missed the first edition release in 1982. I cracked the binding later that day as my plane took off for the east coast, and upon landing was already done with the story and ravenous for Drawing of the Three. As I hadn't discovered the series prior to its completion (at the time) I had no need to suffer a G.R.R.Martian wait while reading continuously over the course of the next two months. The story of The Dark Tower was simply hypnotic. From the opening refrain - "The man in black fled across the desert and the Gunslinger followed." - to the conclusion the saga, King weaves an elegant and epic tale, building and developing characters through repetition, repetition, and repetition. It was, in my opinion, the lack of this child-book repetition which makes the Wind Through the Keyhole inferior to the remainder of the series, even if no less beautiful.
The structure of the novel is what gives me cause to name it elegant. Employing a frame narrative, three stories are nested by King within the novel. Roland and his ka-tet are traveling along the path of the beam, walking every closer to The Dark Tower. Their travel is interupted by a sudden storm, during which time Roland shares with them a story about another such time in his life he was beset by a similar storm. It is within this story Roland tells his ka-tet that we learn of another tale that a much younger Roland had told once to a tangential character who exists - in the universe of the Dark Tower Series - only within Roland's oral story to his ka-tet and nowhere else throughout the timeline. Like another recent puzzle story, Christopher Nolan's movie Inception, it is this deepest level where the core of the story is bitten into, and the golden seeds of the author's truth come tumbling out.
All three stories are well-written. The second and third tales have the same feel as did Wizard and Glass with the nested tale of Susan Delgado. The story begins; you know who the good characters are, who the bad characters are, and that they are hardly ever the same person; and by God things happen! The parade of verbs is rapid in both nested tales, as the action progresses and tension builds and characters are developed like a shaken polaroid - in splotches wherein initial impressions are refined and replaced by the final imagery. The latter of the two nested tales is a slower building story, but the payoff is immense with what is, in my opinion, the best two-page passage of the entire series (where we are also introduced to the title track metaphor, what the "wind through the keyhole" actually represents).
After the reveal of this titular metaphor, the nested stories begin to resolve themselves and unwind back to the present tense of Roland telling a story by firelight to his ka-tet. The third story is a fairy tale of Mid World, and has a particularly happy ending. The primary story, being a late mid-series inclusion, has no true ending. The second story is set up much like the fairy tale nested within it - action leading somewhere, but by some hunch you're suspicious that it is a big misdirection ploy. The fairy tale ends, the action within the story is winding down with the good guys drinking coffee by a fence-post at sundown, and you are just as ease as the characters who have finished their dark work.
It is here, with the tension dissolving and the hero victorious, that the final reveal of the book slips loose of its paper bonds, rises off the page, and coaxes that villainous "Oh no!" from your voice. The final reveal is as shocking as the fate of Eddie comes to be, and arrives treacherously - without warning, without tension - it appears. While I feel this particular reveal is not the center of the novel, it does manage to delve deeper into one particular character than any other individual novel in The Dark Tower series manages to. By daring to do so, it opens the possibility to a new interpretation of the entire saga - and for that alone, I say "Thankee sai."