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….
You might know that Stephen King is one of my favorite authors. I first began reading his short stories in my early twenties and was hooked since. I brought The Bazaar of Bad Dreams on vacation last month and I found it the perfect book to dip in and out of while relaxing in the sun. This is a collection of 20 short stories, some brand new, others previously published. King also includes his personal comments on each story which gives it all a nice touch.
I have to say I enjoyed this set and thought a few could make for great full length stories. Among my favorites was “Morality” which was about a married couple in financial crisis and an act that could save them financially, but had a much higher price morally. King did a great job at showcasing what these characters were not only capable of , but at how committing a single act unleashed dark and hidden desires. I enjoyed reading this one because of the dynamic of the relationship between this couple. They were somewhat partners in crime, and that made each view the other in a different light. How far is too far? The wife’s actions began to take on an animalistic nature and it seemed beyond her control.
“Bad Little Kid” was also very entertaining and another one I thought could be a full length novel. It highlights the fear of not being believed, of being thought insane by everyone. That is a scary thought, knowing that something is real yet being doubted by all to the point of doubting your own sanity. The main character is pushed to the brink and commits an act that makes him seem like a monster.
“Ur” was about an English professor who finally gets a Kindle and discovers unpublished works from famous deceased authors like Poe and Shakespeare. I would have searched for Austen myself. This was another story about a character who fears he is going crazy and thinks that no one will believe him. Eventually after reading many undiscovered works he finds future news clippings on the magical Kindle as well. Now he realizes he can alter a course of events that have yet to happen. This story is about whether you should mess with the future or not as some things are meant to transpire, as awful as they may seem.
Overall, I enjoyed this set of stories, old and new. The stories were all eerie in one way or another and they tap into our fears and emotions, the way King is prone to do.
You’d be surprised -at least, I think you would be-at how many people ask me why I still write short stories. The reason is pretty simple: writing them makes me happy, because I was built to entertain.
About the author:
Stephen King is the author of more than fifty books, all of them worldwide bestsellers. His recent work includes Doctor Sleep and Under the Dome, now a major TV miniseries on CBS. His novel 11/22/63 was named a top ten book of 2011 by The New York Times Book Review and won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Mystery/Thriller as well as the Best Hardcover Book Award from the International Thriller Writers Association. He is the recipient of the 2003 National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. He lives in Bangor, Maine, with his wife, novelist Tabitha King.
Disclaimer: This review is my honest opinion. I did not receive any kind of compensation for reading and reviewing this book. I am under no obligation to write a positive review. I purchased my copy of The Bazaar of Bad Dreams by Stephen King. Nothing in this post is available for download. The photo above is my own.