I have never been a fan of the horror genre—in both books and movies. I know friends and YouTubers who love reading/watching horror. They have always made it sound so fascinating. There is a booktuber (@paperbackdreams) whose fondness for horror is particularly palpable. She gets visibly excited and happy while taking about the horror books she has enjoyed. I love watching her videos and hearing her talk about all these scary stories. But somehow being scared, with goosebumps up my arms, wasn’t a state of being I was comfortable with.
That changed when I started watching movies based on Stephen King’s novels on Netflix during the lockdown. The movies were creepy and made me cover my eyes and ears at least a dozen times during our weekly movie night—but I was hooked. Now, I seek horror recommendations and I’m determined to discover writers other than King who will make my skin crawl. Turns out, that ‘goosebumps up your spine’ is a pretty fun feeling.
I’ve also kind of made it my mission to devour King’s books; the endings of many of his movies, I hear, are quite different from how the books conclude. Not satisfied with how some movies have ended, I figured I’d read ‘The Shining’ and ‘Pet Sematary’ to get some closure. But, unfortunately, I couldn’t find the books at any of the bookstores in Kathmandu and the only one I could lay my hands on was ‘Elevation’.
Elevation is a tale of Scott Carey and how he ends up uniting his town folks, while dealing with a baffling personal issue and his own prejudices as well as those of his community. It’s a story of an ordinary man, in extraordinary circumstances, who chooses to rise above hatred and value the people in his life.
Scott is suffering from a mysterious ailment. He is losing weight but doesn’t look any different. Every day he is getting lighter and lighter while taking up the same amount of space he always did. He doesn’t know what will happen if he steadily keeps losing weight. Scott also has another problem. He is engaged in a low-key battle with one of his neighbors, who happen to be a lesbian couple—Deidre McComb and Missy Donaldson. He is sure Deidre’s dog is doing its business on his lawn. She refuses to believe it and so he is fixated in proving her wrong.
Generally, King’s books can be used as doorstoppers. Not that we should use books for that but you get the drift. Elevation, on the other hand, is a novella. And it’s not horror. As disappointing as that was when I read the blurb, the book is now one of my favorites. It’s unlike King’s regular style but he is a skillful storyteller and, turns out, he doesn’t need the help of horror to grip your heart.
Elevation is a charming tale of the way our biases run deep, why it’s important to get over our narrow-mindedness, and how we can find friendship and love in the unlikeliest of places.