My Kyrosmagica Review of Bazaar of Bad Dreams by Stephen King
A master storyteller at his best—the O. Henry Prize winner Stephen King delivers a generous collection of stories, several of them brand-new, featuring revelatory autobiographical comments on when, why, and how he came to write (or rewrite) each story.
Since his first collection, Nightshift, published thirty-five years ago, Stephen King has dazzled readers with his genius as a writer of short fiction. In this new collection he assembles, for the first time, recent stories that have never been published in a book. He introduces each with a passage about its origins or his motivations for writing it.
There are thrilling connections between stories; themes of morality, the afterlife, guilt, what we would do differently if we could see into the future or correct the mistakes of the past. “Afterlife” is about a man who died of colon cancer and keeps reliving the same life, repeating his mistakes over and over again. Several stories feature characters at the end of life, revisiting their crimes and misdemeanors. Other stories address what happens when someone discovers that he has supernatural powers—the columnist who kills people by writing their obituaries in “Obits;” the old judge in “The Dune” who, as a boy, canoed to a deserted island and saw names written in the sand, the names of people who then died in freak accidents. In “Morality,” King looks at how a marriage and two lives fall apart after the wife and husband enter into what seems, at first, a devil’s pact they can win.
Magnificent, eerie, utterly compelling, these stories comprise one of King’s finest gifts to his constant reader—“I made them especially for you,” says King. “Feel free to examine them, but please be careful. The best of them have teeth.”
This is an amazing collection of short stories. Go get a copy, don’t think twice, it really is worth it. Especially if like me you want to write short stories what better place to start than to read some from this master short story teller? This collection literally speaks to the reader, it is as if you can hear Stephen King’s voice reading you these magnificent stories. How wonderful is that? He manages to achieve this by beginning each story with a short anecdote making it doubly interesting and giving each story a personal touch. One of my favourites is his cup and handle analogy in which he explains that some stories come complete while others need a bit more work to fulfil their potential. He ends each story with a dedication to friends and to authors such as Raymond Carver, John Irving, W F Harvey, Russ Dorr, (researcher, advisor, and close friend,) Elmore Leonard, Jim Spruce, Surendra Patel, Owen King, (his son,) Herman Wouk, Joe Hill, Michael McDowell, Hesh Kestin, Marshall Dodge, (a Maine Humorist,) Kurt Sutter and Richard Chizmar.
As well as this he passes on little writerly gems like “The Hair of Harold Roux, which he says is “probably the best novel about writing ever published.”
In this compilation there is such a wide variety of stories to suit all tastes, there is poetry, The Bone Church, and one for baseball fans, Blockade Billy. As well as this, The Little Green God of Agony “is a search for closure,” after experiencing “two or three years of physical therapy and slow rehabilitation,” after he “was hit by a guy driving a van.”
After reading this wonderful compilation of short stories I felt drawn even more to Stephen King’s writing, he achieves this by sharing numerous personal anecdotes: ” Public appearances aren’t my favourite thing,” and follows this particular apologetic confessional by writing an amazingly imaginative short story That Bus Is Another World.
All of the stories are excellent but I do have my personal favourites which are:
Mile 81. A story about a car with a nasty bite! Loved it!
Premium Harmony. A ten year marriage can end in an unexpectedly tragic way but being Stephen King a touch of dark humour sneaks in there!
Batman and Robin Have An Altercation. What could happen when you are out and about with an aging parent, in a road rage situation.
The Dune. A fantasy story which has the most amazing ending.
The Bad Little Kid. With a title like that it was bound to be awesome. Loved this one!
Afterlife. Would we do it all differently if we could live our lives again?
Herman Wouk Is Still Alive. This story was triggered by a real life tragic accident which killed the drunken driver, “all but one of her passengers (her son survived), and the three men in the SUV.”
Under The Weather. When you just can’t bear to let a loved one go.
The Little Green God of Agony. This is a nasty piece of work, make no mistake.
That Bus Is Another World. Whilst peering into another world momentarily, what would you choose to ignore ?
Obits. Stephen King was thinking of a film called I Bury the Living when he wrote this one!
Drunken Fireworks. This made me chuckle a lot!
Summer Thunder. The final story in the collection is about the end of the world, and is inspired by his love of his 1986 Harley Softail.
Hope that convinced you to read Bazaar of Bad Dreams.
Bye for now,
Marje @ Kyrosmagica xx