From what I can gather via the (admittedly limited amount of) research I have done on the subject, Peter Straub tends to be a fairly divisive figure among Stephen King fans. And, for that matter, among horror fans in general.
The most common opinions seem to be as follow:
- Peter Straub is one of the best writers in the history of the genre, and maybe one of the best writers of his era regardless of genre classifications.
- Peter Straub is a good writer sometimes, and a not-so-good writer at other times.
- Peter Straub is one of the most overrated writers in the history of the genre, and maybe one of the most overrated writers of his era regardless of genre classifications.
I leave it to you to determine whether these are actually the consensus opinions on Straub's work, or whether I have feigned all of this as an icebreaker for the post. Might be it's both.
Regardless of what the truth of this particular situation might be, I think it is probably safe to say that anyone who actually does hold any of those three opinions will find plenty to reinforce their stance if they read Straub's sixth published novel, 1983's Floating Dragon.
|Look how scuffed up my hardback is...! Looks like the previous owner was using it as a seat-booster or something for the past three decades. Also, how lame is that cover art? Pretty bad, in my opinion.|
There is a great deal about Floating Dragon that is notable, and I can already feel an unfortunate truth brewing: this review will not do it justice. In saying that, I am admitting defeat up front, which is perhaps a less-than-admirable way to begin a post. But the fact is, Floating Dragon is approximately 30 lbs. of crazy stuffed into a 5 lb. sack. Unraveling it would take much more effort than I am prepared to give this week.
So, instead, allow me to simply try to make a case for why this novel, despite its shortcomings, is a hugely worthy piece of work.