"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 20 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.
©2010 Stephen King. All rights reserved. (P)2010 Simon & Schuster, Inc. All rights reserved
"[T]hese tales show how a skilled storyteller with a good tale to tell can make unsettling fiction compulsively readable." (Publishers Weekly)
"King has gone on record saying he believes that American readers should pay more attention to the virtues of short fiction... if anyone can get reluctant short-story and novella readers into the swing, he certainly can with this book." (Booklist)
I know that life, like these 4 short stories doesn't always have closure. However I felt while listening that these stories were just book ideas that were never fully germinated... I don't know if they were fully germinated that I wouldn't feel so slimy after listening.... Jessica Hecht, who narrates 2 of the 4 stories needs to stop with the weird distracting voices and accents....
Typical Stephen King story emphasizing every aspect of decaying flesh and body fluids. Initially, I loathed the wife/mother who seemed to delight in humiliating and embarrassing her family. And I empathized with the husband and son, who only wanted to remain on the farm and live a simple life. But as the story progressed, I could only feel sadness for the son who was too weak to stand up to his father and follow his conscience.
Say something about yourself!
These are some of the best stories King's done in a long time. They are all riveting. Oh yeah, and watch out for the rats.
I would have enjoyed the two from the woman's point of view even more than I did if the narration had been better. Jessica Hecht seemed to have been told by someone that she should smile while she read, a technique that really didn't work. I don't know if she thought the heroines were stupid, but she seemed almost to be mocking them, especially in the last story. The listener who described her as burbling and baby-talking really captured it. It's too bad, because both the characters could have been read as much more grown-up and intelligent people, and I wondered several times what they would sound like in my "mind's ear" if I was reading instead of listening. Craig Wasson, on the other hand, was very convincing as both characters, though they were quite different from each other.
Craig Wasson is the reason I bought this book. He was so good in 11-22-63 I wanted more! I was not disappointed with his performance in 2 of these Novellas. The other Narrator, Jessica Hecht was different for sure but the stories were perfect for her. I was thrilled with both "Big Driver" and "A Good Marriage". It was appropriate since the lead character was female, and compelling with her distinctive style and character development. I find myself missing her now that I am on to "From a Buick 8" and the female voice is someone else.
Addicted to audiobooks & podcasts. 5 Stars=I Loved It, 4 Stars=Enjoyed it Thoroughly, 3=Kinda Good, 2=Bad/Boring, 1=Complete Waste of Credit
I really enjoyed this collection of dark tales - they gave me the creeps and entertained me - what more could one ask for? As usual, King's character development and gift for dialogue are the real stars of the show - he gives you a chance to allow your internal critic to relax a bit and just enjoy the ride. Worth a credit - worth the time.
This is the kind of book that makes you really glad to finish it and go back "to the light", as Stephen himself puts it. The stories are great, the editing is great, and the narrator does a GREAT job. Mr Wasson is definitely one of the best!
I like a book that mixes horror and comedy - it's an awkward blend of suspense and release.
The stories were great! The last one - well - the idea was fantastic, and the story could have been amazing if it wasn't the most unending redundant repeated stuff I've suffered through in a long long time.
I listened to the last story on a 4 hour trip. My wife and I began the trip listening to it. After an hour, she begged me to use earphones. Two hours later, she asked me for an update, and amazingly, it took me two sentences to cover the ground it took this book two hours to cover.
By THAT time, I was so invested in it, I couldn't just put it down. Again - the story was a great idea - but the writing just rambled. And rambled. And rambles. HOW can a story ramble in an annoying way? I can't even remember - it was THAT uninteresting.
So. Enjoy the first three. The fourth one - I'll be happy to give you the 5-minute short story version.
Stephen King at his very best. I can't remember being any more captured by this storyteller engaged in his articulate craft. Don't enter into the world(s) of these stories unless you are ready to be completely caught up in the narrative(s). I will listen to them again, I think, but not until I'm once more willing to face myself wholly for one (like the characters in each tale) who may very well be possessed of two (at least) people. For the moment I'm just going to let these morality tales ferment someplace deep within me. Wonderful. Engulfing. Stephen King at his best.
The male narrator was okay - not great, but okay. Definitely not as bad as the female narrator. Each word from her sounded like it was being wrung from a whining drama queen's neck. If I could do over, I'd have just read this book instead of listening to it.
It was so nice to have short stories that take me back to Four Past Midnight and Bachman days. The narrators are fantastic and add a great deal to the story. I hope King's following books keep up this energy.
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