Thursday, January 13, 2011

Full Dark, No Stars

I think Stephen King is at his absolute best in the novella form. He has never been a good self-editor, and some of his books are too long for the stories they tell (not all of them--The Stand is an example of a book worth its length). But in the novella form, and he's written a lot of them, he can take one good idea, or one bad situation, and just run with it. He's written some classics: The Body, Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption, Apt Pupil, The Langoliers, The Mist. King's new book is another collection of novellas, or technically, three novellas and one short story, and all of them are about depravity and retribution. It's nice to see that King has not lost his power to disturb; in particular, there are descriptive sequences in "1922" that rattled around my brain for a little too long. And each of the novellas are sick and twisted tales, summed up well by a quote from the book: "When it came to the dark fuckery of the human heart, there seemed to be no limit." I wouldn't recommend this collection over Four Past Midnight or Different Seasons, but if you've read those two and liked them, definitely read this.

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