Friday, March 18, 2011

Full Dark, No Stars (short stories)

Full Dark, No Stars, by Stephen King
I have tried my best in Full Dark, No Stars to record what people might do, and how they might behave, under certain dire circumstances.  The people in these stories are not without hope, but they acknowledge that even our fondest hopes (and our fondest wishes for our fellowmen and the society in which we live ) may sometimes be in vain. - Stephen King
Full Dark, No Stars is a collection of 4 short, harshly told stories, where the main character must face a darker side of themselves.

1922 - the worst year of Wilfred Leland James' life.  Not only does Wilfred meet a darker side of himself when his wife, Arlette, decides to sell off 100 acres of land that she inherited, but he also introduces his 14 year old son to his own demon.  The story is a detailed confession of exactly how he talked his son into helping him with his gruesome deeds, how they worked together to cover them up and how his son chose to live with the guilt he carried.

Big Driver - Tess is violated and left for dead in a ditch along one of Massachusetts back roads.  She meets a determined side of herself, the "new Tess" as she scrambles out of that ditch and works her way back home.  She doesn't report the rape, but instead learns more about her attacker and woman who sent her to him.  what she does with that information is not unimaginable.

Fair Extension - Make a deal with the devil? Dave Streeter doesn't believe it's possible at first, but within days, signs of his fatal cancer show that it is rapidly disappearing.  The price? Fifteen percent of his earnings for fifteen years and the name of the one person he hates.  Dave has a good marriage, loving children, and why wouldn't he want to spend more time with them?  Cancer was cheating him out of his fair share, just like his best friend since high school cheated him out of his first love.

A Good Marriage - When you've been married for almost 30 years, you think you'd know someone.  But when Darcy's husband goes out of town on business and she needs to enter his domain (the garage) in search of two AA batteries, she learns there is a side of Bob she never knew existed.  In her quest to discover how far he could have gone, she also finds another side of herself.  Just how much is too much when it comes to keeping secrets?

I have to be honest and say, I have never read Stephen King before.
::: gasp :::
I've tried! I love the movies and mini series' made from his books, but my attempts at reading him have been a painful process which ultimately leads me back to the bookshelf.  I saw this book in the store (then price comped it on my kindle) and thought I'd give it a try - short stories don't leave much time for wordiness and fluff.

The stories were somewhat predictable, but the gruesome detail (that I sickly enjoy) was there in true King fashion. It was interesting to explore the darker side of your average, every day Joe.  Reading these stories had me asking myself what I would do if I found myself in the same situations ... while I can't say I would have allowed the sinister side of me to take over, I can acknowledge the plausibility of the outcome.

1 comment:

  1. I've read a lot of Kings books over the years. I'm sure I've missed a few here and there too. This book sounds intriguing Diane. I'll have to look for it. Thanks for reviewing a King novel.