Thursday, 4 August 2011
1922 - Stephen King
It's told in the first person with the doomed farmer Wilf offering the narration - we see everything through his eyes and as he is dealt blow after blow, the reader shares in his slip into madness. The story runs for just over 150 pages, minuscule by King's standards, and it is a length the author should use more often. It's all story with no room for padding Constant King readers will know that padding is something that often plagues some of the author's longer works. Wilf is also a fully rounded character and although he is a bad man who deserves his ultimate fate - he did, after all cajole his young son into helping murder his wife (the boy's mother) - but King manages to create reader sympathy and even some level of understanding for the character. It's powerful writing and set, as it is in depression era America, it almost feels like an epic blues song. Man oh man, King can write and I think I'd go on down to the crossroads and barter my soul to be able to create characters like this.
Full Dark, No Stars, contains four novellas (the new paperback edition also contains a bonus short story) and although I've had the book some time I hadn't gotten around to picking it up yet. If the other stories are as good as 1922 then this could quite easily qualify for being one of King's best works.
Upon the original publication of the book, King's publishers produced a trailer of each of the stories and the first is embedded below.