« From two thousand feet, where Claudette Sanders was taking a flying lesson, the town of Chester’s Mill gleamed in the morning light like something freshly made and just set down. Cars trundled along Main Street, flashing up winks of sun. The steeple of the Congo Church looked sharp enough to pierce the unblemished sky. The sun raced along the surface of Prestile Stream as the Seneca V overflew it, both plane and water cutting the town on the same diagonal course.
« Chuck, I think I see two boys beside the Peace Bridge! Fishing! » Her very delight made her laugh. The flying lessons were courtesy of her husband, who was the town’s First Selectman. Although of the opinion that if God had wanted man to fly, He would have given him wings, Andy was an extremely coaxable man, and eventually Claudette had gotten her way. She had enjoyed the experience from the first. But this wasn’t mere enjoyment; it was exhiliration. Today was the first time she had really understood what made flying great. What made it cool. »
Circonstances de lecture
J’avais très envie de me replonger dans un Stephen King.
« Under the Dome » est un de ces livres de plus de 1 000 pages qu’on lit à toute vitesse. Stephen King aime délayer son histoire. Ici, il scrute toute une flopée d’habitants d’une petite ville du Maine emprisonnée subitement sous un dôme transparent. Le départ de l’intrigue est bien posé : on découvre petit à petit tous les personnages (très nombreux !) de ce gros roman. Et on s’y attache.
Reste que les « méchants » de l’histoire sont vraiment trop caricaturaux. Ils semblent avoir tous les vices… Dommage car sinon « Under the Dome » est vraiment prenant. Surtout, Stephen King montre à quel point la part d’ombre des hommes peut très rapidement prendre le dessus dans des situations inhabituelles. De quoi faire froid dans le dos ! De ce côté-là, Stephen King parvient à nous plonger dans une ambiance de plus en plus noire, glauque et violente, et à tenir en haleine jusqu’aux dernières pages. Même si l’origine du dôme manque d’originalité, ce n’est peut-être pas l’objectif premier de l’auteur. En revanche, s’il a voulu démontrer à quel point la nature humaine peut vite sombrer dans la cruauté, l’égoïsme exacerbée et la bêtise, alors oui « Under the Dome » est une réussite.
Un passage parmi d’autres
Later on – much too late to do any good – Julia Shumway would piece together most of how the Food City riot started, although she never got a chance to print it. Even if she had, she would have done so as a pure news story : the five Ws and the H. If asked to write about the emotional heart of the event, she would have been lost. How to explain that people she’d known all her life – people she respected, people she loved – had turned into a mob? She told herself « I could’ve gotten a better handle on it if I’d been there from the very beginning and seen how it started », but that was pure rationalization, a refusal to face the orderless, reasonless beast that can arise when frightened people are provoked. She had seen such beasts on the TV news, usually in foreign countries. She never expected to see one in her own town.
And there was no need for it. This was what she kept coming back to. The town had been cut off for only seventy hours, and it was stuffed with provisions of almost every kind; only propane gas was in mysteriously short supply.
Later she would say, « It was the moment when this town finally realized what was happening ». There was probably truth in the idea, but it didn’t satisfy her. All she could say with complete certainty (and she said it only to herself) was that she watched her town lose its mind, and afterward she would never be the same person.
Under the Dome – Stephen King – 2009 (Gallery Books)