Monday, October 1, 2007

SHORT STORY MONDAY: a small peril

I'm hosting Short Story Monday again, so please feel free to leave a link to a review you've written of a short story in the comments. I'll collect them all together at the end of the day. I'm continuing my reviewing and slow reading of Stephen King's Everything's Eventual.
I didn't get squares baked for any visitors to Short Story Monday; my grade twelve physics tests got corrected instead. (I can't even pretend lie on the internet about imaginary baking)

In the Deathroom by Stephen King
I am struck by how much I am enjoying this collection of King's. His writing is so wonderful and easy. This one had quite a bit of suspense, as we begin with Fletcher, under guard and beaten up, entering a room that he is sure is a deathroom, his deathroom. It's not clear why he is here, if he is a good guy or a bad guy, or even where this is located. Gradually, it is revealed that this deathroom is in a police station of sorts, in a South American/Central American country. King makes great use of repetition here, reinforcing important facts and sentences, as if by repeating the phrase, Fletcher can tell us twice as much, when he only really says half as much.

King can turn a phrase and set an image: He thought of the light on the water at noon, moving river light too bright to look at. Later, Fletcher tries to focus during his torture on images, not memories, as memories are too difficult. Oh yes, there is torture here, and gory descriptions of what exactly goes on when a bullet rips a face or a person is electrocuted. I am reading King after all. King calls In the Deathroom "a Kafka-esque story about an interrogation in a South American version of hell." Makes me wonder if I'm ready for Kafka.

If I hope to finish this book before October 31, I'm going to have to step it up and read several stories each weekend. That is one of the things I like about short stories: that a collection of stories provides an atmosphere, and although the stories are not connected per se, a good collection has a feel, a theme running through them, and it is all the stories together that make up the experience.

So, feel free to share any short stories you are reading. John Mutford at The Book Mine Set is hosting a Bookworms Carnival in November with a short story theme and is looking for submissions.

Other Short Story Monday participants:

john mutford read A Small Good Thing by Raymond Carver

stephanie read more Neil Gaiman stories from Fragile Things


  1. No brownies?! Humpf!

    No worries, I came for the ambiance anyway. I'm in this week with Raymond Carver's "A Small Good Thing".

    Interesting that King compares his own story to Kafka. I wonder if critics would agree (not that their word is truth either). Anyway, if you do decide you're ready for Kafka, I linked to one of his short stories In The Penal Colony a while back if you're interested.

  2. I really need to go back and reread Everything's Eventual. It's been a while. And reading King short stories is like a visit from an old friend!!

    My Gaiman readings this week weren't nearly as good as previous weeks, but I still enjoyed them. With over 30, it's been hard to keep them around just for Sunday's!! I'll probably finish it up this week (cause I need to return it to the library!), but still publish my thoughts on Sunday's or Monday's!


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