Thursday, 16 March 2017

Book Review - Full Dark, No Stars

Book Review - Full Dark, No Stars
By Stephen King

'What tips someone over the edge to commit a crime? 

For a Nebraska farmer, the turning point comes when his wife threatens to sell off the family homestead. 

A cosy mystery writer plots a savage revenge after a brutal encounter with a stranger. 

Harry Streeter gets the chance to cure himself from illness - if he agrees to impose misery on an old rival. 

And Darcy Anderson discovers a box containing her husband's dark and terrifying secrets - he's not just eh man who keeps his nails short and collects coins. And now he's heading home...'

As I am often wont to do, I borrowed this book from my mum - she has exceptionally good taste in books I must say, and borrowing hers is seeming to become a lifelong habit... which does serve to make my insistent reading  habit slightly kinder on the bank account, which is pretty useful.

Anyway, with this dark and exciting collection of short stories King has once again delivered absolutely fantastic, gripping, and moving, reading. These stories explore the darker side of the human psyche and look at just what it takes to push people into actions they never dreamed they'd take. These stories put their characters into shocking, and in cases disturbing, scenario's that force them to make choices we all hope we'll never have to make. Their choices shape the world around them and change the way they think and feel for the rest of their lives. 

The Writing - In this collection of short stories King's writing is as descriptive and immersive as we've all come to expect. Creating scenes, characters, and stories that seep into our minds and stay with us long after we've put the book down. I found myself hooked into each story, the words painting vivid scenes in my mind and allowing me feel the complex emotions of the characters, and in turn my own compassionate feelings towards them and their situations. King's writing is absorbing, pulling you into each story and keeping you hooked until you've reached it's end.

The Plot - As this is a collection of four short stories, plus a bonus story at the end, the plots are all different. However, each one is incredibly well thought out, delving into the human actions and reactions surrounding the scenario's presented, in a totally immersive fashion. Each story is almost instantly captivating, and each one leaves you pondering it for some time after, wondering what you would have done in that situation. While outrageous, most of these plots are potentially realistic and that is part of what makes them both fascinating and disturbing. These are all situations that could potentially occur in real life, that people may or may not have found themselves in in the past, or that could be waiting just around the corner of someone's future. And each one twists and turns and presents to you questions and choices that you hope you'll never have to face in real life.
For me, I think it was the last one, the bonus story at the end, that left me reeling the most.
If you do read this book make sure you read the Afterword at the end. In this King talks about both writing, and what lead him to coming up with the respective plots.

The Characters - We have all come to know and expect that King's characters will be living, breathing, people, walking and talking and acting and reacting just as you or I would. And the characters in these stories are no exception. They are truly and totally believable, so much so that you almost feel as if you might bump into them on the street, or they might live just down the road from you. These characters are like tiny people inserted into the pages of the stories, feeling, and being, and utterly convincing. Their 'realness' pushes you into feeling as they would feel, and into feeling compassion for them, into understanding the world from their point of view, seeing how they came to their decisions, looking at the world a little differently. Through their eyes we get a glimpse of the world as it may seem to someone else.

Read this book. But beware, you're in for a bit of a bumpy ride, these stories are gritty, real and absorbing, and they'll leave you questioning humanity for quite a little while after.

Rach x 

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