"I believe there is another man inside every man, a stranger . . ." writes Wilfred Leland James in the early pages of the riveting confession that makes up "1922," the first in this pitch-black quartet of mesmerizing tales from Stephen King. For James, that stranger is awakened when his wife, Arlette, proposes selling off the family homestead and ...
"I believe there is another man inside every man, a stranger . . ." writes Wilfred Leland James in the early pages of the riveting confession that makes up "1922," the first in this pitch-black quartet of mesmerizing tales from Stephen King. For James, that stranger is awakened when his wife, Arlette, proposes selling off the family homestead and moving to Omaha, setting in motion a gruesome train of murder and madness. In "Big Driver," a cozy-mystery writer named Tess encounters the stranger along a back road in Massachusetts when she takes a shortcut home after a book-club engagement. Violated and left for dead, Tess plots a revenge that will bring her face-to-face with another stranger: the one inside herself. "Fair Extension," the shortest of these tales, is perhaps the nastiest and certainly the funniest. Making a deal with the devil not only saves Dave Streeter from a fatal cancer but provides rich recompense for a lifetime of resentment. When her husband of more than twenty years is away on one of his business trips, Darcy Anderson looks for batteries in the garage. Her toe knocks up against a box under a worktable and she discovers the stranger inside her husband. It's a horrifying discovery, rendered with bristling intensity, and it definitively ends a good marriage. Like "Different Seasons "and "Four Past Midnight, "which generated such enduring films as "The Shawshank Redemption "and "Stand by Me, Full Dark, No Stars "proves Stephen King a master of the long story form.
If you are a fan of Stephen King, this is truly one for you. I have been reading his stuff since I was in high school (don't ask how long ago that was) and I swear he just outdoes himself all the time. I truly enjoyed this book and even found the first story a bit rough to get through. The rest of the stories just got better and I could not put it down. A thoroughly enjoyable read is what I thought. If you are a fan, I totally recommend this one.
Publishers Weekly, 2011-02-07 King leaves the supernatural behind to find the macabre in stories of ordinary misfortune. In each, ordinary people discover how their choices define who they are and what they can become. As usual, King's characters are multidimensional and colorful, if not necessarily sympathetic. Craig Wasson takes on two of the stories, and his raspy voice is a pleasure to listen to. The main characters in "1922" and "Fair Exchange" are not young men, and his mature gruffness and easy delivery are perfect. And while Jessica Hecht's reading of both "Big Driver" and "A Good Marriage" is pleasant and steady, her characterizations through dialogue are not very broad, and sometimes sound timid and whiny. Still, the strength of the stories keeps the listener enthralled. A Scribner hardcover. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Publishers Weekly, 2010-09-27 Eerie twists of fate drive the four longish stories in King's first collection since Just After Sunset (2008). In "1922," a farmer murders his wife to retain the family land she hopes to sell, then watches his life unravel hideously as the consequences of the killing suggest a near-supernatural revenge. "Big Driver" tells of an otherwise ordinary woman who discovers her extraordinary capacity for retribution after she is raped and left for dead. "A Good Marriage" explores the aftermath of a wife's discovery of her milquetoast husband's sinister secret life, while "Fair Extension," the book's most disturbing story, follows the relationship between a man and the best friend on whom he preternaturally shifts all his bad luck and misfortune. As in Different Seasons (1982), King takes a mostly nonfantastic approach to grim themes. Now, as then, these tales show how a skilled storyteller with a good tale to tell can make unsettling fiction compulsively readable. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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