“I’ve had ideas fall into my lap from time to time-I suppose this is true of any writer-but From a Buick 8 was almost comically the reverse: a case of me falling into the lap of an idea.”-SK
- Released by Scribner on Sept. 24, 2002
- Was #1 on NY Times Best Seller list on Oct. 13, 2002
- 2003 Horror Guild Winner for Best Novel
What can I say about this book? Only that I loved it! Yeah, it was a great, well-written novel by one of the best writers alive or dead. I can say for sure that I went into this book not knowing what this novel, at its core, was really about. You think it’s going to be about a haunted car or something but how wrong you’d be; how wrong I was.
Yeah, the title says it all: From a Buick 8. You know it’s going to be about a ghostly car, a 1954 Buick Roadmaster to be exact. And you already know King’s work with a car in the past. But was this going to be like Christine at all? The answer is no. This novel was waaaay better than Christine. Buick 8 had a certain texture and tone to it that made it more about the people than the car itself.
This novel is a gem hidden among all of his work, novels and shorts. It doesn’t get the fanfare that I think it deserves because casual readers of King will ask where are the scary parts? Well, it ain’t a horror novel. It does have supernatural tones, but the book achieves in making us realize that for all the questions that we have about the world we live in, they are hardly any answers if any at all. That’s what King conveyed to me at least. Sometimes there are’t any answers. It is what it is… as the kids these days say.
So why did From a Buick 8 work?
- Buick 8 works because King writes characters that we just can’t help but to like and identify with in some way or another. In this novel, he does it again because he lets us meet Trooper Curtis Wilcox, a rookie with the Pennsylvania State Police. When he comes in contact with the abandoned 1954 Buick Roadmaster, he becomes obsessed with it, wanting to know where it came from, what it is, and what it could do where the owner was. I think there’s a Trooper Wilcox in all of us because most of us obsess over things from time to time. Sometimes to the point of insanity. And sometimes in that pursuit of obsession we lose ourselves. The lucky ones are brought back.
- Buick 8 works because the car takes the backseat so to speak. The novel is more about trying to solve questions that have no answers. There’s so many questions about the car that is stowed away in Shed B at the Barracks at the PSP (Pennsylvania State Police) building. However, the tone of the book weighs heavy because it strikes a nerve with the deep readers that have asked existential questions before about certain things only to never have a real answer. Sometimes, just like in Buick 8, there is no answer. Things just are. There’s a lot of talk about fate. And King rolls fate fast and hard in this novel.
- Buick 8 works because the pacing of the novel King presented to us. They weren’t chapters per say but flashbacks from the past to the present concerning the car that was locked up in Shed B. I liked the way different people took to the narrating giving their slant on the overall story about the car and experiences they had.
- Buick 8 works because there was a distinct aura of mystery surrounding the car. It just shows up at a gas station and the driver disappears around the corner of the building never to be seen again. That’s where the story picks up because there is the plot: where in the hell does a car like that come from and why did someone (a man dressed all in black) leave it and never come back for it? Questions with no answers.
- Buick 8 works because it does exceed expectations. It’s one of his most philosophical novels because it dives into a broad range of emotions. I think the more emotional parts of the book were these: 1) King’s description of Trooper Wilcox being hit and killed on the side of the road by a drunk driver (The same man that found the Buick at the gas station where he worked in 1979) 2) At the end of the book where Ned is a trooper just like his old man, still watching over the Buick Roadmaster locked up in Shed B just like his father before him had. Talk about the use of fate…
From a Buick 8 roars in at-5/5 (Certifiable Classic)