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Drunken Fireworks by Stephen King

Drunken Fireworks

by Stephen King

Other authors: Tim Sample (Reader)

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Showing 5 of 5
Drunken Fireworks is an audio only release of a short story that will be a part of King's forthcoming The Bazaar of Bad Dreams to be released on November 3. At only 80 minutes it made for a nice listen while cleaning the house. The story is told from the point of view of Alden McCausland who with his unusually attached mother inherits some money and uses it to start a fireworks arms race with the Massimo family across the lake. I personally don't understand wasting your money by blowing it up in the sky but living in South Florida I have quite a few neighbors who would have fit into this story perfectly. Alden and the Massimo family try to one up each other every holiday to the delight of the neighbors but each time Alden and his mother come up short. That is until the invest $2,000.00 into CE4 and the results are quite literally explosive.

The narrators voice takes some getting used to at first. I have met a lot of people from Maine who don't speak in quite such an exagerated way. I especially took issue with his pronunciation of the word monsieur and the sound he made mimicking the horn blowing every time the Massimo prepared to fire. As the story rolled along though I got used to the voice narrating it. Beware when listening with other ears around, the language gets salty. This was not one of my favorite King short stories, I much prefer the ghosties in 1408, but it still kept my attention. Having witnessed some series firework showdowns in my own neighborhood I could relate to the lake Abenaki face off. As the story unfolded you didn't really root for the narrator and his mother. They were portrayed as prejudice drunks who insinuated that the Massimo family was involved with the mob just because they were Italian. As you can imagine drunk, stupid people shouldn't be messing with explosives. But when they do you can't help but watch what happens. ( )
  arielfl | Aug 13, 2015 |
I haven't listened to an audio book in many years but when a new Stephen King book is released on audio only, how could I resist? Apparently, it's going to be included in an upcoming book of short stories but I wasn't waiting!

It's a short listen, only an hour and 20 minutes. It's basically about neighbors on opposite sides of a lake competing as to who has the best fireworks. Don't expect any scares in it and the end is easy to see coming, but it's very humorous and I had many a chuckle throughout it. I do think King was a bit heavy handed with the rough language or maybe it was just hearing it rather than reading it that turned me off a bit. But it did fit in with the main character who was telling the story. Tim Sample does a great job with the reading and I'm glad I had the chance to hear him tell this amusing tale.. His reading added so much to the atmosphere of this book.

Quite a fun, entertaining read. Now hungering for the rest of the stories! ( )
  hubblegal | Aug 13, 2015 |
At first, the ridiculousness of the narrator's voice annoyed me, but as I stuck with it, I fell in love with his storytelling. It's rough, drunk, and redneck sounding and fits the vibe of the story perfectly. This latest short story by Stephen King tells of an escalating fireworks battle between two lakeside neighbors. Each year the two try to outdo each other until the inevitable happens. Hilariously told, this is a must for fans of Stephen King and short stories. ( )
  ecataldi | Aug 13, 2015 |
Drunken fireworks, author, Stephen King; narrator, Tim Sample
This short story will be part of King’s latest book, “The Bazaar of Bad Dreams” which is due out in November of 2015. In this story, two families, from the right and wrong side of the tracks, living on opposite sides of a lake, are engaged in a feud involving fireworks and a trumpet player. Like an arms race, every year, on the fourth of July, they compete to have the best fireworks display.
The Italian Massimo family is very wealthy and possibly well “connected” as in with unsavory characters, according to the McCauslands. The Massimos have the wherewithal to buy and accomplish anything they choose. As a result, they always win the competition. Not well educated or rich, but dedicated to the rivalry, the McCauslands, Ma and Alden, try every year to create a better display then the Massimos, although Ma sometimes finds the sound of their triumphant trumpet to be far worse than the experience of being bested by their display.
Mother and son are very close. They live together in a cabin bought by Mr. McCausland in ’91 and although they thought with his death they would have to sell it, a fortuitous insurance policy and a lottery win has made them solvent. They have enough money to sit around and do little more than drink the day away, at least for a certain period of time, after which, they will deal with what comes. The two families are portrayed as being on opposite ends of the spectrum, but in the end, they may not be that different.
I thought the ending was the perfect culmination to a neighborly dispute. I think any other ending might have seemed obvious and contrived. In this ending, there was the justice of an eye for an eye, but not literally. I thought the word touché, summed it up perfectly.
While I believe that the vulgarity and racial slurs might have been necessary for the tale, I still found them uncomfortable, but I thought that King expertly handled their treatment.
The narrator was perfectly in tune with the characters in tone and accent, and I think he enhanced the “reading” experience. I don’t know if the story would be as entertaining in print, but as an audio, which is its only format right now, it was excellent. The humor comes through with the personalities of the characters, and it reminded me of the old Steven King, the King who wrote stories that did not simply shock the reader with tales that were sometimes difficult to read because of their content, but challenged them instead, with creative and imaginative tales. This was just a good story without the horror and/or sadism that has been so prevalent in many of his novels. ( )
  thewanderingjew | Aug 9, 2015 |
Sometimes, when King isn't trying to scare us to death, he can also be telling us some truly fantastic stories, and "Drunken Fireworks" is one of those stories. This is nothing more than two families across the lake from each other, with a rivaling fireworks problem, but the magic is in the telling of the story. This short will eventually appear in print in The Bazaar of Bad Dreams, but I doubt it will hold up nearly as well; it's Tim Sample's narration that really makes this story shine. For King fans, this will be a nice, light-hearted break from some of his heavier offerings, and for non-fans, you can experience King doing what he does best: telling a damned fine story. ( )
  tapestry100 | Aug 4, 2015 |
Showing 5 of 5
Although stories of rivalries between neighbors aren’t particularly new, Mr. King deploys a surprisingly sweet comic touch with Alden’s narrative that keeps the neighbors more Simpsons and Flanderses than Hatfields and McCoys.

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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Stephen Kingprimary authorall editionscalculated
Sample, TimReadersecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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