Following an overstuffed feast of a novel (Under the Dome, 2009), King returns with four comparative snacks, each of which deals in some way with the darkest recesses of the human soul.
None of the narratives have previously been published, and all are apparently recent. The first, best and longest is “1922,” a richly detailed ghost story about a Nebraska farmer whose wife wants to sell land she’s inherited and move to the city, and how he enlists their 14-year-old son to conspire against her. He had been convinced that moving to the city would be hell, but discovers, as he tells himself, “You realize that you are in a hell of your own making, but you go on nevertheless. Because there is nothing else to do.” “Big Driver” concerns an implausible plot against an author speaking to a book club, and the toll her revenge takes on her, transforming her into a different person in the process. “Fair Extension,” the shortest, is a fable about a terminal cancer patient who experiences a miraculous remission following a transaction with the devilish Mr. Elvid. “A Good Marriage,” is, of course, a title dripping with irony, with a wife of more than 25 years discovering devastating secrets—a secret life! even a dual identity!—about her boringly predictable husband. Can things somehow go on as they have before? Or does she risk ruining her own life and those of their children by exposing her husband? "Does anybody really know anybody?" asks the story (rhetorically). Explains King in his “Afterword,” “From the start…I felt that the best fiction was both propulsive and assaultive. It gets in your face. Sometimes it shouts in your face.”
A collection of page-turning narratives for those who prefer the prolific tale spinner at his pulpiest.