This is the latest collection of stories by Stephen King, who of late has produced some superlative longform works. It’s the short fiction though, that really bites into you.
In the introduction, he announces that he’s an amateur and then proceeds to show the reward of a work ethic and a dedication with an honest and fierce collection of stories that frighten, amuse and inspire in equal measure.
They are each preceded by a small explanation of the origins, the inspirations. King’s generosity, pardon the pun, is regal and I entered into each story entirely curious to see what he would do with each situation.
Mile 81 has a disturbed, discordant horror to it. A car at the side of the road, a child sleeping off a drunken adventure in an abandoned Burger King and how it escalates into a brilliant and vicious event. Batman and Robin Have An Altercation takes a small moment of sadness and turns it into something entirely poignant and vicious.
Morality follows a remorseless and relentless logic until you’re wrung out by the last sentence. Herman Wouk is Still Alive is simultaneously tragic and vital, all of it spoken in the crafted language and eye of a man who speaks in a voice that compells you to keep reading.
Drunken Fireworks is a melancholy shaggy dog story that has a wry wink on every line. There’s humour here, and terror, and genuine insight that’s informed by a writer whose body of work still resonates with an understanding of both people and the sudden twists of the imagination.
King has always been about the work, painfully honest about his shortcomings and even his less successful works have been interesting. He’s also a good example of a work ethic that still shows up moments of genuine beauty and quiet awe.
Brilliant. I’ve nothing but good things to say about this book.