TITLE: The Bazaar Of Bad Dreams
AUTHOR: Stephen King
PUBLISHER: Hodder & Stoughton
GENRE: Adult, Horror, Short Stories, Mystery
RATING: 3.5/5 Stars
In this new collection King 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.
What I Liked:
- King's writing is exquisitely detailed and while for readers such as myself who have a shorter attention span this can be difficult, I can fully appreciate why he is considered a master of writing. His sense of atmosphere and build-up is particularly masterful and necessary in his chosen genre, horror. There's no doubt about it, King is a great writer and I can't say that I really disliked any of these stories though I enjoyed some more than others.
- There is a huge variety in these stories, though as the blurb says, they are all linked in terms of theme. There really is something for everyone here, whether you prefer slow suspense, stories on the unusual, or supernatural thrills, you'll get it here. There's even a spot of poetry! Stories I particularly enjoyed included 'Obits' for it's focus on morality, 'Summer Thunder' because of that Dystopian edge it had, 'Ur' which was probably my favourite because it took me back to a time when the Kindle was a brand new concept and 'Bad Little Kid' which gave me fond memories of the things I'd liked about 'It'.
What I Disliked:
- As I said, there were some stories I liked more than others and while I didn't hate any of them, some left me feeling very frustrated, as if I had missed out on something. 'That Bus Is Another World' for example, or 'A Death' and 'The Little Green God Of Agony'. Areas felt rushed and I didn't connect with them in the same way that I did others. I would have really liked to have enjoyed all of the stories, as I consider myself a pretty diverse reader and don't feel this is solely down to personal preference.
This was a good little collection of stories that had a lot of variety yet played upon similar themes and each contained a distinct style from King. His writing and attention to detail truly is superb. Some of the stories didn't grab me as well as others, and I have to say, that very few of them had a new setting for me to immerse myself into. Most of them were set in Maine, which seems to be King's 'area' of choice in his works. He clearly knows it very well but often writes it in a shady, grubby manner, causing me to long for a totally new setting altogether.