Last week when I talked about how I was coming to love Stephen King’s formula, I meant it, I really am.
But this week, as I read through the four novellas that make up Different Seasons (Two, stone cold classic stories that I basically knew by heart, another other also very very good and a fourth that’s…well…) I realized the aspect of his writing that I fell so deeply in love with last year.
I love when this man tells stories that are about stories. God, I love it a lot. All of the stories in Different Seasons are about stories.
Rita Hayworth And The Shawshank Redemption is held up as possible the best thing King’s ever written and for good reason. It’s incredible, like a warm hug of words, all hope and lights shining in the darkness, artful and straightforward and strong. And it’s a folk tale for a modern age. Andy Dufresne (A name I can’t even think in my own voice, only Morgan Freeman’s soothing baritone.) isn’t a man he’s a myth, some outsized figure who made day to day life in Shawshank interesting for the other prisoners.
Apt Pupil is a shudderingly intense portrait of the way stories and history linger as ghosts, an intimate and horrifying story of evil, the true human kind of evil, not the boogey men and demons King is normally talking about, and the cancer that it is, the legacy of it, and how it can twist and infect, even through the slightest crack in a window. I really enjoyed reading that story and will likely never touch it again, because, it’s uncomfortable.
Then there’s The Body, the first King story I ever fell in love with before I even knew it was Stephen King and it was called Stand By Me, like Shawshank this one has voices attached to it, Richard Dreyfuss, and Wil Wheaton and River Phoenix. (And Jerry O’Connell and Corey Feldman too…) and the way The Body deals with memory, and puberty and growing up and tragedy is so wonderful. “I never had any friends again like the ones I had when I was twelve, Jesus, does anyone?”
The Breathing Method is literally about a magical storytelling club. It’s also not particularly good, but still, 3/4 of the stories in this collection being amazing makes up for that and it fits in well with this being a collection of stories about stories.
Anyway, I liked this and it was a good way to sustain my new Stephen King project. (Which will likely wax and wane…unlike the Vonnegut Project, I don’t really have an outside force pushing me to get on with it, so I’ll be checking in.)
Up next…ummm…well…I know I said I wasn’t doing any repeats this year…but…well…
Look, I’m reading The Dark Tower again, OK? I’m already halfway through The Drawing Of Three, and it’s perfect and amazing and even better the second time around. I’ve decided I’m only counting it as one book though, since it’s a reread and counting it as 7 would be kind of a cheat.
See you around…but not if I see you first.