Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King

(Source: hachette.com)

(Source: hachette.com)

Yesterday night I have finished Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King, which is a book of four short stories, including one little bonus story.

Here is the the list of stories:

  • 1922
  • Big Driver
  • Fair Extension
  • A Good Marriage
  • Bonus: Under The Weather

And S. King also wrote an afterword. Here's an extract of it.


Bad writing is more than a matter of shit syntax and faulty observation; bad writing usually arises from a stubborn refusal to tell stories about what people actually do — to face the fact, let us say, that murderers sometimes help old ladies cross the street.

Stephen King, afterword in Full Dark, No Stars

​This highlights exactly the content of these stories. In 1922, the plot is about a farmer whose wife wants to sell lands. But he wants to keep it and this is where his idea of getting rid of her begin. I don't want to spoil you the whole story. However what I can tell you is that while reading this story, you shouldn't just anticipate the development of the story itself. I have liked the description of the complex feelings of this farmer, of its daily routine and I could easily imagine what his life was (even if I have never travelled in the United States!) This is part of the genius of King, he starts with a simple story and adds lot of details that gives it strength.

In Big Driver, I was shocked by the disruptive element (again, no spoiler here) and the quite crude and harsh description. Even if it was hard to read it, I don't think this part should be taken of the book, since it is important to the story. Some people might say there is no need to write horrible events but King describes the long struggle of a character to survive in a terrible situation. And it is not only about getting money with some well-written horror stories. His work is actually much more interesting to the psychological point of of view. The character's actions seem real because the author probably put himself in his character's shoe.

Fair Extension follows the same thinking, without falling in sweet happy ending. The main character is far from being a hero or a saint, and maybe you'll feel bad while reading what choice he made. Why? Because you know you would do the same (or maybe with a 99% of chance)

So Stephen King is the best in making us thinking while reading his stories. I think it is a good way to be prepared to every situation (through it is impossible to be 100% prepared but just taking time to imagine that this could happen to you... not so uninteresting mental exercise) With the last story A Good Marriage, he speaks to all the old couple that believes that they know each other really well (a theme recurrent in the other stories)

I'll end with Under The Weather, the bonus story, which ending is predictable but the parenthesis about advertisement is enjoyable. To conclude, I recommend this book to those who don't know Stephen King yet, as it is easier to begin with short stories before diving in a big novel.


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