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.
...Stephen King’s nostalgic new summer novel about the adventures of a lovelorn college boy in a haunted Southern amusement park. The book delivers chills, not shocks, and is silly-scary in the manner of a yarn that a sophomore might tell a freshman while toasting marshmallows around a fire ... Between the lines is an implied critique of the sanitized, corporate, Disney-style amusements that have supplanted the grass-roots titillations of an earlier, cruder era ... There’s not a lot more to Joyland than that, good fun ... The novel is like a plump wad of cotton candy; it fills the mouth with fluffy sweetness that quickly dissolves when the reader starts to chew.