Joyland is as genre-foiling as its author .... As you read the dialogue, the book becomes less a story about a summer’s mystery than a tale of entry into another, coexisting world, one with its own rules, codes, and language ...strengthens his storyline with a rich cast of supporting characters ...is quick reading, and its pleasures are simple ones. And yet it’s just complicated enough to force us to question the distinction between high and low literature.
...in many respects, a different sort of book, but it, too, depends on King’s typically unerring sense of character for its deepest effects. The narrator is Devin Jones, a 60-something writer looking back on the summer of 1973, when he was 21 years old ... Within that Bradbury-like setting, King has created a moving, immensely appealing coming-of-age tale that encompasses restless ghosts, serial murder, psychic phenomena and sexual initiation ...quotidian details pervade the narrative, providing a solid foundation for the dramatic, sometimes otherworldly events ...opens up this world and gives it a tangible reality. The resulting portrait of Joyland in action is absorbing enough, all by itself, to sustain a full-length narrative. This, however, is a Stephen King novel, and so a darker, more menacing reality eventually asserts itself ... The melodramatic aspects of the story are great fun, but the real strength of Joyland stems from King’s ability to connect with his characters directly and viscerally.
King's new novel, Joyland, operates very much from this territory: a drama that unfolds in miniature ...a double vision — the 21-year-old actively living through his experience while his older incarnation reflects on it — gives the book an unexpected perspective, even as it reassures us that whatever happens in the novel, Devin will come out alive ... Joyland, however, is written with a lighter touch, an air of if not nostalgia then wistfulness ...grows only more heightened as the narrative progresses, making Joyland a coming-of-age novel as well, although such a process is bittersweet at best.