23
Apr
19

“When creative people do their best work, they’re hardly ever in charge, they’re just sort of rolling along with their eyes shut yelling wheee.” CBR11 Review 17.

Unknown-1I have had this beaten-up paperback copy of Everything’s Eventual in my backpack for at least a year, reading a few pages here, a short story there. I was enjoying it, but kept forgetting it was there, usually opting to listen to Audible or read on my kindle when I had some free time. And finally, I went for a walk at lunch today, found a cute table outside a sandwich shop, and sat down to finish it.

I’m pretty sure that this was only my second time through this specific collection of stories from Uncle Stevie. Kind of strange to have spent so little time with this book, seeing how many times I’ve read Skeleton Crew (seriously, I’ve read The Mist at least 10 times) and Just After Sunset. Some of these stories I’ve only read once before, but you know how it is as a Constant Reader… some of these – The Little Sisters of Eluria and The Death of Jack Hamilton – I’ve definitely read numerous times in various places (I can remember my dad sending me some of these that he cut out of his copy of The New Yorker, along with some of the cartoons that he thought would make me laugh and a few crossword puzzles).

What I love about King’s short stories (and the same mostly goes for Joe Hill’s short stories) is his ability to make the reader become invested in characters and situations in such a short period of time. Some are just a few pages. Some are really novellas. But they move quickly and pull you in immediately. Sometimes you want the story to move faster, maybe its scaring the crap out of you and you just need it to be over (The Road Virus Heads North), and sometimes you wish there was a little bit more (seriously, how did Dinky make his final journey over to Algul Siento?).

My favorite thing about this book is how King provides either a little blurb at the beginning or the end, explaining why he wrote it, what inspired him, how it came about. I’m fascinated by the way that he can turn a very simple idea into a fully-fleshed out story, almost immediately. For one of the stories (Luckey Quarter), he said that he had an idea in a hotel room, sat down, and wrote the whole thing out on the hotel stationary in pencil. I can’t possibly imagine ever being that inspired creatively, and it is truly amazing. I can barely write out a list of things I need at Trader Joe’s this week.

For my money, the scariest stories are The Man in the Black Suit (old time HORROR) and The Road Virus Heads North. Did you ever see that bizarre miniseries that TNT made about 15 years ago, taking some of King’s short stories and attempting (mostly unsuccessfully) to translate them into one-hour blocks of tv? I remember watching all of them and thinking some were great (The End of the Whole Mess with Ron Livingston and Henry Thomas), some were crap (Hi, Steven Weber, I’m talking to you and the bizarre You Know They Got a Hell of a Band episode), and some were riveting simply because the actor involved really got what King was saying. Tom Berenger played horror writer Richard Kinnell in that episode, and I remember the terror on his face when he realized just what was going on with the creepy-ass painting in the trunk of his car. Re-reading the story, I pictured Tom Berenger, and even though I knew what was going to happen, I still tore through the story breathlessly.

Everything’s Eventual has something for everyone. Dark Tower stories. An award-winning homage to Nathanial Hawthorne. Historical fiction. Inspiration for a lackluster John Cusack movie. A few are genuinely frightening (The Man in the Black Suit, Autopsy Room Four, The Road Virus Heads North). A few are unsettling (Lunch at the Gotham Café and That Feeling, You Can Only Say What it is in French). And two are must-reads for fans of Roland and his ka-tet (The Little Sisters of Eluria and Everything’s Eventual).

Flipping through a list of my previous King reviews, it looks like I’ve rediscovered old favorites like Night Shift and Skeleton Crew. I’ve been underwhelmed by bulk of the stories presented in The Bazaar of Bad Dreams, and content with the collection in Just After Sunset. I think its time for me to dig up an old copy of Nightmares & Dreamscapes or pull out the most dog-earred book I own – my original copy of The Bachman Books…watch this space.


0 Responses to ““When creative people do their best work, they’re hardly ever in charge, they’re just sort of rolling along with their eyes shut yelling wheee.” CBR11 Review 17.”



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