Skip to main content

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.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

New Yorker Fiction Review #146: "Three Short Moments in a Long Life" by John L'Heureux

Issue: May 9, 2016

Story: "Three Short Moments in a Long Life" by John L'Heureux

Rating: $

Review: I feel like this is a somewhat tired technique, straight out of Creative Writing 101: write a story consisting of three or four different snapshots or snippets out of a character's life at different ages, sort of like a series of written photographs. Fun perhaps, but strikes me as a bit amateurish. However, I also think L'Heureux succeeds here by pushing it a bit further, playing with the character's tentative attempts at something close to faith -- in childish, adult, and mature adult ways -- and tying all three "Short Moments" together in a subtle and readily decipherable way.

L'Heureux's prose and his frank humor and his ability to glorify and find the meaning in the mundane events and thoughts of every day life, and thereby turn the life of an ordinary person into a drama with meaning and significance puts me in mind of John Irving. As well a…

New Yorker Fiction Review #151: "The Bog Girl" by Karen Russell

From the June 20 issue...

My loyal readers (if there are still any, which I doubt) will know I'm usually not a fan of Magical Realism, which, as you may also know, is Karen Russell's stock in trade. That said, there's nothing I love more than having my antipathy for magical realism shattered by an awesome story like "The Bog Girl."

Briefly, an Irish teenager discovers the body of a young woman who as been buried in a bog for over 2,000 years and begins to date her. What more do you need, right? If I'd read that one-line description somewhere else, and wasn't on a mission to review every New Yorker short story, I doubt I'd have read "The Bog Girl." But maybe I should start doing a George Costanza and do the opposite of everything I think I should do.

Where Russell succeeds here is in two main areas: 1.) Making us really love Cillian, the teenager who falls in love with the bog girl, and 2.) pulling the unbelievable trick making the characters…

Water Review: San Pellegrino 250ml Bottle

Damn you, tiny little bottle of San Pellegrino. So little. So cute. But what are you really good for other than to make me wish I had a full bottle of Pellegrino? 
Good as a palate cleanser after a nice double espresso, I will give it that. But little else. The suave yet chaotic burst of Pellegrino bubbliness is still there, but with each sip you feel the tragedy of being that much closer to the end of the bottle, that much faster.

This is a bottle of water made specifically for the frustrated, for the meticulous, for the measurers among us with a penchant for the dainty. This water does not love you in the wild, on a sunny porch or with the raucous laughter of friends. No...much the opposite. Whatever that may be.

Best drunk in tiny, tiny sips, while forcing oneself through an unreadable and depressing Russian novel one does not want to read but feels one should, on a cold, wet day in December that promises four months of gloom and depression...or in pairs or threes and poured over …