Monday, September 17, 2007

SHORT STORY MONDAY: a small peril

All That You Love Will Be Carried Away by Stephen King from the Everything's Eventual collection

King is known for his scary, horror stories, but he does poignancy as well as anyone. He has a way of connecting in little ways with people, his characters, that the reader immediately identifies with. That he can do this so well in a short story speaks to his talent.

Alfie Zimmer is driving, on the road. The story begins as he is checking into a motel in Kansas or Nebraska, somewhere in the desolate prairies. Alfie is typical midlife, Willy Loman salesman, questioning his life and meaning. The interesting quirk of Alfie is that he collects graffiti and studies it as poetry and humor, the comments on America. This was King's germ of an idea that built into a story. I enjoyed the poetry analysis that Alfie applies to his graffiti, and felt for Alfie as he deals with a crosssroads in his life.

EDIT TO ADD: I was thinking about graffiti: I have these wooden squares in my physics lab that I use to ration out the masking tape, because kids use masking tape like they don't have to buy it! Anyway, these little pieces of wood now have the funniest graffiti on them, and they crack me up when I read them. Of course, right now all the funny escapes me, but the witty, pithy comments of well done graffiti are poetry in themselves, especially the ones that get answered.

heh, a short review for a short story


  1. I just can't get into King's work anymore. Thanks for the review!

    * Check out my big announcement on my blog

  2. This story is really good at displaying one of King's strengths which is showing us, up close, something that we are already very familiar with. I mean, we've all seen graffiti, but we don't really look at it, you know? This is a great story. Good review.

  3. It seems like more and more people are seeing the value in graffiti. In Newfoundland I've always enjoyed driving through rockcuts and seeing all the messages painted there, wondering for instance, if Jerry and Cindy are still an item.

  4. Btw, any interest in hosting Short Story Mondays next week? I'm hoping that if a few more people host, the word will spread and more people will jump on board.

  5. I think I could manage hosting. What all do I need to do?

  6. Basically all you need to do is invite people to add their names and a link to their own SSM post on yours. You could get them to do that simply in your comments section, or if you're feeling very adventurous you could try out Mr. Linky. I usually edit the post at the end of the day to include a brief note (and link) about all the other participant posts (which are never many, so it's not a lot of editting).

    I'm finding it a little slow getting off the ground despite getting a nice few emails from people saying they're interested and plan on contributing in the future. If the hosting gets passed around a few times, the more people will hear about it and hopefully get the ball rolling, much like Poetry Fridays.

  7. I really do love Stephen King. I'm glad I'm reading Gaiman for Short Story Sundays this year, though. He reminds me of King actually. Not what he writes about but the WAY he writes. So clean and easy to read!!

  8. sstephanie- I agree, there is a similar quality, and it's a very good thing. I'm hosting the short story Monday next week, if you want to link up your Fragile Thing review next week

  9. I really must get back to the stories in this one. Read Autopsy Room Four a few weeks back...was totally on the edge of my seat the whole time. Loved it. But for whatever reason, I haven't gotten back to it. Thanks for the kick in the pants.


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