If you have been reading this blog for more than two minutes you’ve probably seen that I have nothing but love for Stephen King. The man has given me so many good memories and scares that I’ll always be loyal and I’ll always read what he puts out.
That said, I’ve got my favorites, and my least favorites. Stationary Bike is in the latter category. I grabbed it while looking for an audiobook at the library. The reader is excellent: Ron McLarty, who I recently loved on the audiobook of Thomas Pynchon’s Inherent Vice. And he does a great job here with a so-so story.
Here’s the plot summary of Stationary Bike, without spoilers:
Richark Sifkitz goes to the doctor, gets a physical, and is less than thrilled with the results. The prescription? Exercise. Richard goes to the store and gets himself a stationary bike that he installs in the basement, where he works on his various art projects.
Sifkitz is a freelance artist, you see, and it just so happens that he starts a very strange mural right in front of the bike. This being a King story–and not even the first of his about a changing painting–the picture starts sucking him in and soon enough, it is getting harder for Sifkitz to tell what is reality.
The final section is introduced as having an ending that is not at all what you expected. I would agree with that, I just wasn’t in love with it.
After the thrilling 11/23/63 and the gritty freak out of the four novellas in Full Dark, No Stars, this one just didn’t grab me the way it might have if I had encountered it at a different time.
But I liked it well enough to finish it. Definitely worth a read if you’re a Stephen King completist.