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New Yorker Fiction Review: "A Death" by Stephen King

Issue: Mar. 9, 2015

Story: "A Death"

Author: Stephen King

Rating: Meh

Review: Hey, guess what?? There's a story by Stephen King in the New Yorker this (last) week! Yeah, I don't care either.

There are people out there who think Stephen King is God. There are people out there who think his work is trash and won't go near it. I'm neither. I actually used to like his stuff when I was in my early teens...his short stories mostly...actually just the book Skeleton Crew. I tried to read It. I tried to read Cujo. Tried to read The Stand. Couldn't get very far through any of them. In fact the book of his I like best is On Writing, which is his autobiography-cum-writing manual.

Look...."A Death" is obviously well-written, well-paced, with good dialogue and all that. It's a solid story. I may not love Stephen King but he's a goddam pro. There's no arguing that. This story just fell flat for me. I could feel the author pushing it toward some kind of kooky ending and I was kind of hoping for some kind of kooky ending...but it turned out to be pretty weak.

Having read the author's "explanation" of the story, I like it even less, which is why I read the New Yorker's little author interviews very selectively. I feel like when an author "explains" a story or novel, he takes something away from it. The story should speak for itself. This story didn't have a lot to say.

Forget the fact that why the &$%#@ is the New Yorker publishing a crappo Stephen King story except as a way to shill for his upcoming short story collection, as if he needs that and as if any New Yorker reader is going to read this and say, "Gee whiz, that Stephen King is really a fine writer, I think I'd like to purchase his next book." Just crap.


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