You know, I often heard (well, read) people saying how bad SK’s writing is for the past decade, but I have never read bad books by him yet…his newest books are getting better, in my opinion. Take a look at Under The Dome, anyone who said the book is bad clearly had no idea how intense the book is…It was one of the best by King. And now, I have just finished Full Dark no Stars and it is AMAZING!! I love all the stories in the book. Don’t expect monsters and ghosts in this book, although there is one ghost and one representative of devil, but the main idea of each story is human heart and how human deals with specific situation.
It’s one of the books that I find hard to put down. It’s brilliant and intriguing. It’s gruesome and yet understandable. Simply said, I love the book. Keep it coming Mr. King 🙂
There are 4 stories in this book, 1922, Big Driver, Fair Extension and A Good Marriage. All four of them are equally great. One deals with the guilt of killing his wife, one takes care of her personal revenge, one finds that hatred can turn into a benefit and the last one has to make a decision regarding her husband’s dark secret. I like all four of them.
I like to include bits of SK’s afterword in each review because it’s fun to know how he finds his inspirations…hoping I can write something like his one day 🙂
1922 (Page 1-192)
1922 was inspired by a nonfiction book called Wisconsin Death Trip written by Michael Lesy. And featuring photographs taken in the small city of Black River Falls, Wisconsin. I was impressed by the rural isolation of these photographs, and the harshness and deprivation of the faces of many of the subjects. I wanted to get the feeling in my story.
For his first story, King wrote it as a note left by the man who was about to die, it was his confession. Wilfred James was a farmer who loved his land but he had a wife who felt that city life was much better than farm life. She wanted to sell her land which she inherited from his father, but the land was near his own land and she was about to sell it to a big company. He hated that idea and started influencing his son to take his side. He managed to make his son helped him to murder his wife, his mother. But, was the problem solved by her?
I like to think that 1922 is about guilt, even though you will read a bit about ghost but we can clearly see that it is more about quilt. I once heard this great quote from a Japanese dorama called Mr. Brain “When you kill yourself, you only kill yourself…but when you kill someone, you also kill yourself. You can’t smile like you used to smile”. That quote fits perfectly for 1922. We could see the changes in Mr. James and his son. Killing someone simply isn’t the way to solve problems.
I like the way King slowly changes the man’s life. Although I don’t like him for killing his wife but I can’t hate the man either. King also put a bit of romance in the story, which I find as the most heartbreaking of all. I wish it ends happily for them but such thing is impossible.
Big driver (Page 193-356)
When I came out of the refreshment shack, I saw a woman with flat tire talking earnestly to long-haul trucker parked in the next slot. He smiled at her and got out of his rig.
The lady got her tire changed, I’m sure. I got a Three Musketeers and the story idea that eventually became “Big Driver”.
Tessa Jean was a writer, she wasn’t a great writer. She wrote about old woman playing detective. One day, she was invited to speak for a book club. Tess liked to drive everywhere, and since the place was quite close to her home, she decided to drive there. The host of the book club suggested her to take a shortcut, she was a sucker for shortcuts, so took her advice. Unfortunately her shortcut took her to a giant rapist. She was raped and left to die. But she survived. She was in confusion, if she told the police she would be in the cover of every magazine but not for her book but because of her misfortune, she didn’t want that to happen. But if she kept quiet, more women would die in the hand of that rapist. She was in dilemma. It took her a couple of days to finally find the solution.
What would you do if you are in her position? Tough call isn’t it! To report or to stay quiet? Most rape never go reported, did you know that? You might not agree with the step Tess finally took but somehow it feels right…it is after all the only fair solution.
I like how Tess keep discussing her movement with her cat and her GPRS machine, yes she actually talks to herself but it was fun to read how her imaginary voices came everything around her.
Fair Extension (Page357-404)
His quote for this story is too long, so basically he saw a man who sold used gold ball in Hammond Street Extension, and he got the idea for Fair Extension from seeing that man.
Fair Extension is a fun story…well, fun in Stephen King’s way that is! Dave Streeter had cancer and he won’t be breath the air for much longer. He had no heart to tell his children about his condition, only his wife knew the truth. He met an interesting seller in Harris Avenue Extension, he sold extension to everything. Streeter thought of it as a joke, but Mr. Elvid was a very convincing, and sometimes scary, man. He began to believe that Mr.Elvid could give him a life extension free of cancer. Fun idea isn’t it? And he I didn’t have to sell his soul. All he had to do were to give Elvid 15% of his salary every year and enjoy the pain on the person Streeter hated the most.
Fair extension is not a fair story at all. You will feel sorry for Streeter ‘s enemy….but humans heart can never be fully satisfied. You’ll see how a person still hopes for more when he already has more than he used to have.
Good Marriage (Page 405-526)
The last story in this book came to my mind after reading an article about Dennis Rader, the infamous BTK murder who took the lives of ten people – mostly women, but two of his victims were children – over a period of roughly 16 years. Paula Rader was married to this monster for 34 years, many refuse to believe that she could live with him and not know what he was doing. I do believe.
SK closed his book is spectacular way. I really like this one as anyone can suddenly ends in this situation. You could guess the story from the quote I inserted above. Darcy Anderson had a good marriage for the past 27 years. Her marriage life to an accountant named Bob Anderson had given her 2 wonderful children who had left home by then. She enjoyed living her marriage life. She would enjoy more happy life if she hadn’t stumbled on a something under his husband work table. What she found changed her marriage forever. She found IDs of the missing woman who had been missing for days and suspected as another victim of Beadie, a serial killer. She was in crossroad, who would believe that she never knew about her husband’s cruel hobby if he reported him? What would happen to her children if they found out that their father is a serial killer? To make matter worst, Bob knew that she knew!!
As I have said before…I really like this story. It shows a decision made by a woman in tough position. It is a very scary position to be. Can you imagine loving a monster for that many years? And yet you know nothing about it? I admire Darcy’s strength and it made me curious about what happen to Paula Rader, the woman that inspired King’s story.
If you are not intrigued with my summary…there’s something wrong with you 😉 Full Dark No Stars worth every minute of your reading hour. I feel like a sales woman but who cares, the book is really good….it’s that simple.
I really have to quote Mr.King last paragraph because it makes me smile a little (I always love reading his afterword or foreword because he always write as if he was speaking directly to us)
All right, I think we’ve down here in the dark too long enough. There’s a whole other world upstairs. Take my hand, Constant Reader, and I’ll be happy to lead you back into the sunshine. I’m happy to go there, because I believe most people are essentially good. I know that I am.
It’s you I’m not entirely sure of.
Title: Full Dark No Stars
Author: Stephen King
Pages: 532 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster, Inc
Challenge: Stephen King Reading Challenge 2011, Mystery and Suspense Reading Challenge 2011, What an Animal Reading Challenge IV
Other Reviews: Kelsey’s Book Corner