Full Dark, No Stars

Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King
Four novellas from Stephen King brought together in one collection, and with an added short thrown in for good measure. How could it go wrong?

The answer is: it didn't. But I genuinely struggled with motivation to finish Full Dark, No Stars. Not because of the stories were bad; it's just that more acutely than ever I found myself lamenting King's massive success, because while he remains amazing at writing life-like characters in incredible situations, he seems to do so without anyone having the courage to actually edit his work.

I can almost picture a typical conversation The King has with his beleaguered editor.

Beleaguered Editor: Mr King, sir, can I respectfully - and I do mean with the utmost respect, sir - suggest that BIG DRIVER has a few unnecessarily detailed sections?

King: Hmmm. Like what?

Beleaguered Editor: Well, sir, you do spend a great deal of time focusing on Tess' cat, Fritzy, after it's well-established she's a cat lover.

King: I do, do I?

Beleaguered Editor: Well, this is just my opinion, sir. But can I suggest we tighten up on a few of those sections? Like, perhaps, remove every segue in parentheses? Because, sir, I fear that whilst they add detail, they do slow the pace of your work considerably?

King: No, I don't think we'll be doing that.

Beleaguered Editor: Of course not, Mr King, sir. I don't know what I was thinking. Just pretend I never spoke. And this track changes function really is a waste of time, isn't it?

King: You, Mr Editor, do diggit da most.

Or something like that. You get my drift.

Anyway, 1922 takes an awfully long time to get going, but is a great study of burgeoning insanity in the context of a period drama; BIG DRIVER puts a slightly different spin on the female-victim-turned-revenge-seeker tale, but really does spin its wheels for a good proportion of it's running time; FAIR EXTENSION is the shortest of the four, and perhaps not surprisingly, by far my favourite, as it showcases the fall out of a literal deal with the devil; before A GOOD MARRIAGE rounds things out with the story of a housewife who learns the truth about her husband's life outside of the family they've built together and her attempts to deal with this on her own. The bonus story UNDER THE WEATHER was little more than filler, and wasn't up to the standard set by the other tales, mainly because it seemed overly predictable and therefore largely pointless.

As the title of the collection implies, all the stories here concern themselves with the darker trappings of humans, and there is little in the way of positive, life-affirming messages. But there is plenty of characters that feel real (even if too real at times), so if you are seeking to get your hands a little dirty with your next read and you've not yet managed to catch this one, it's likely you'll appreciate the road King takes you down.

3 Wrongs Made Wronger for Full Dark, No Stars.
Source: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1081984689