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Full Dark, No Stars
by Stephen King
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Pretty bold of Stephen King to dedicate this book to his wife, since it contains a story about a man who kills his wife, another about a man sexually assaulting a woman (who then gets revenge), a man who curses his best friend because he stole his high school girlfriend, and a story about a woman who discovers her husband is a serial killer who abducts women. Also a bonus short story about a man who pretends his dead wife, whose rotting corpse is still in the bed, is still alive but ill. Bold move, Mr. King, bold move.
Great collection of stories!
An excellent collection of three novellas and two short stories. "1922" was, for me, the best of the bunch. It is simply one of the best pieces he's written, told in a mesmerizing first-person unreliable narration. A great sense of time and place, too. "Big Driver" was the toughest one, a great tale to be sure, but featuring a truly disturbing and harrowing sequence early on. "Fair Exchange", the first short story of the book, puts an interesting spin on the deal-with-the-devil idea. "A Good Marriage" was the second best, for me. What I liked most about this was its exploration of the idea that it is ultimately impossible to completely know another person, even when that person is someone we love very much. The last tale, another short story, is called "Under the Weather", and, while predictable, it still struck me as unsettling and quite haunting. Overall, I loved the book. The stories hit me equally on an intellectual level and an emotional level. A top five King, for me.
i picked this up randomly at the library because i wanted something light, and because i sometimes like stephen king a lot, but i also sometimes don't. this book provoked the "don't like" reaction. most of these stories, out of five in all, had very little to redeem them. king's premise, which he overtly and unnecessarily states in the afterword, is that difficult and dark things are difficult and dark, and how well can you know someone, really? duh. i don't feel like these stories do anything but bring us into the dark and leave us there. king is at his best when he is balancing light and dark, humanity and inhumanity, demonstrating the possibility of both existing side by side -- but this teeter-totter is overly weighted down with the latter.
also, trigger warning for survivors of sexual assault, in a story that is basically a retelling of "i spit on your grave" and "ms. 45" -- two films that are not mentioned by the main character, who bolsters her revenge-courage with a blockbuster rental spree. weird. and ...
anyway, other stories here also felt derivative -- of LOTS of movies, and of poe, lovecraft, earlier king, not to mention some of his son's stories. i kept seeing flashes of these other, superior things while reading, and that was annoying. i liked "a good marriage," because it seemed to ring true, truer than the others. or at least it had an interesting dilemma. the bonus story in this edition, "under the weather," didn't let the story build before it gave itself away. it could have been ... something.
lastly, king makes a habit of continually pointing out, in multiple stories, that "were this a horror movie, ___________ would happen here. but this wasn't a horror movie." cute the first time, barely tolerable the next few times, nearly angering from then on.
as i was walking from the library with this book in my hand, i was telling one of my closest friends, who had never read him, why king is an important author for me -- how, when he gets it right, something seems to shine through that i've never seen before. words failed me then, and they're kinda failing me now. to put it simply, you'd be better off avoiding this one.
PS -- i just read another review here where someone bemoans the fact that king seems to always deem it necessary to add an afterword, or foreword, to defend his work as literature, or at least as writing worth reading. it's not always obvious that it's what he's doing, but it is. it makes me sad, and it's unnecessary.
Mr. King’s “Full Dark, No Stars” has a lot of straight-up horror. The sheer size of its rodent population is enough to stamp it with the horror label. But it will serve as a page turner even for the reader who is aghast at some of the whisker-twitching particulars.
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1922 by Stephen King
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Wikipedia in English (4)
Prolific author Stephen King presents a collection of four new novellas. In the story 1922, a man plunges into the depths of madness when his wife attempts to sell off the family home. A mystery writer, who was beaten and raped while driving home from her book club, plots her revenge in Big Driver. Diagnosed with a deadly cancer, a man makes a deal with the devil in Fair Extension. And in A Good Marriage, a woman discovers her husband's darker side while he is away on a business trip.
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Melvil Decimal System (DDC)813.54 — Literature English (North America) American fiction 20th Century 1945-1999
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An edition of this book was published by Recorded Books.
I really don't have much to say about it. The truck driver story had some elements I didn't like, but overall it might have been my fave story so clearly it didn't bother me too much. It was also nice to see some female main characters, even if they were as most of King's characters, writers. :P ( )