Stephen King’s “Bazaar of Bad Dreams”: Book review

Stephen King keeps going and going. Last year’s “Bazaar of Bad Dreams” is a collection of punchy little short stories that run the gamut from horror to humor, from pensive to poignant. This is King at his most engaging, with all the New England color of this world and otherworldly high strangeness of the afterlife and the paranormal.
As 2016 draws to a close and continues to draw the strings tight around so many necks, I look at King’s age and hope he is not on that death machine list that seems to have exploded all over this shoddy year. Yet, the subject of mortality seems to be a preoccupation throughout this collection. The sad tragic sense of pointlessness about the graceless death in “Herman Wouk Is Still Alive” and the sweetly funny “Premium Harmony”; the “life on life’s terms” feeling about the father’s oncoming senility in “Batman and Robin Have an Altercation”; the premonitions and prefigurations of death by name in “The Dune” and “Obits”; the refusal to accept the passing of those closest to us in “Under the Weather”; the glorious ride-out of “Summer Thunder” – again and again King seems to carefully approach death from new angles, teasing at it, probing its innards.
While the eternal bully from “Bad Little Kid” reaches the same heights of creepy as the floating lawn jockey of King’s “Duma Key,” the narrative in “Drunken Fireworks” is laugh-out-loud hilarious. All through this collection the characters are alive and human as only King can paint them.

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One response to “Stephen King’s “Bazaar of Bad Dreams”: Book review

  1. I saw this in the drug store the other day, almost bought it. I’ve always liked short stories, but was a little concerned it might be too depressing, haha. Sounds good though, so maybe I’ll check it out.

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