Owen King’s literary star has risen steadily since his debut collection of short stories, “We’re All In This Together,” was published in 2005 — and since the blockbuster novel, “Sleeping Beauties,” he wrote with his dad, Stephen King, came out last year.
This weekend, in honor of Father’s Day, Owen King wrote a sweet essay for The New Yorker about a uniquely King family thing he and his dad do for each other: record audio books, something Stephen actually paid his son to do, at the whopping rate of nine bucks per 60-minute tape. Son recounts his attempts to record “War and Peace” and “The Fellowship of the Ring” for his dad, while papa recorded classics from Graham Greene and Louise Welch for his kid. Along the way, there are some great anecdotes from growing up in a literary household such as the Kings.
My parents and I still read books together each night, and I had recently begun demanding an equal turn as narrator. Along our tour through Robert Louis Stevenson’s “Kidnapped,” I had tested their love with reckless attempts at a Scottish accent for the revolutionary Alan Breck Stewart, whom the novel’s protagonist, David Balfour, befriends. Even as they pleaded for me to stop, I made knee-deep haggis of passages like the following: “Do ye see my sword? It has slashed the heads off mair whigamores than you have toes upon your feet. Call up your vermin to your back, sir, and fall on! The sooner the clash begins, the sooner ye’ll taste this steel throughout your vitals.”
It’s a nice read for King fans — and for Father’s Day.