The Bazaar of Bad Dreams: Stories
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Date: November 2015
Duration: 19 hours 17 minutes
Since his first collection, Nightshift, published 35 years ago, Stephen King has dazzled readers with his gift for the short (or long) story. In this new collection he alters a few stories he’s published before; writes a handful of brand new stories, and assembles for the first time stories that have never been published in a book. He introduces each story with a passage about its origins or how he felt when he was writing it – when he first thought of the idea, or what motivated him, or why it’s set where it’s set, or who the protagonist is based on.
Several of these stories address one of King’s long-time obsessions: What Comes Next. “Afterlife” is about a man who died of colon cancer and keeps reliving the same life, repeating his mistakes over and over again. Other stories address what happens when someone discovers that he has supernatural powers – the columnist who kills people by writing their obituaries in “Obits;” the old judge in “Dune” who, as a boy, canoed to a deserted island and saw names written in the sand, the names of people who then died in freak accidents. Over the last couple of years, King has visited failing family members in old people’s homes, and a few of these stories feature characters at the end of life, revisiting their crimes and misdemeanors. In “Morality,” King looks at how a marriage and two lives fall apart after the wife and husband enter into a kind of devil’s pact. And two stories are about the perils of getting behind the wheel of a car if you’ve had too much to drink, or smoke.
These are magnificent and unsettling stories from King, and the interstitial autobiographical passages are a fabulous bonus - On Writing updated.