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The Bazaar of Bad Dreams

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Nicole Tracy | Literary Columnist

The newest Stephen King
is always a literary event,
and this release is no exception.
The Bazaar Of Bad
Dreams brings us a collection
of visits to the dark
side – the side of no happy
endings. His short stories
are always like little scary
appetizers that almost always
end ambiguously.
Each story comes with
its own little memoir, where
King reveals the motivation,
the inspiration, the explanation
behind the narratives.
Some stories are new, and
some have been released
before. King says in his Author’s
Note, “Until a writer
retires or dies, the work is
not finished; it can always
use another polish and a few
more revisions.” One of the
stories in the collection, “A
Death,” was released back
in March to The New Yorker,
and the ending of that one
was a complete surprise.
Another, “Mile 81,” about an
evil demon chewing car, was
released in an E-Book format
only in September 2011.
“Drunken Fireworks” was
released in an audio format
back in June, and his 2010
novella, “Blockade Billy” is
also included.
There are 20 short stories
included in this collection.
Perhaps one of the most
unsettling stories in the
collection is Morality which
features a couple who are
struggling with money and
are led to strike a deal with
the devil which they truly believe
they can win. Morality
leads the reader to question
their own sense of morality
and when something stops
being right and becomes a
sin and the fact that Morality
makes one question their
own values is what makes
it more unsettling than any
horror story.
Another of the more unnerving
stories has to be Afterlife
which centers on one
of the biggest unanswered
questions in the world; what
happens when we die? According
to the story, when
you cross over to the other
side, the dead are given very
similar rules and choices
to the ones that they were
presented with when they
were alive. The agonizing
choice between choosing to
return to life or remain dead
was excruciatingly painful to
read and begs the question:
which door would be the
one you choose?
However, possibly the
best story of the collection
was Obits which featured
a man who can kill people
who are still alive by writing
obituaries. The story begins
innocently but his powers
predictably grow until they
are out of control and he
discovers the devastating
consequences.
The Bazaar of Bad
Dreams is available at the
Howard County Public Library.
Copies are limited,
so if it is unavailable, ask at
the front desk to be put on a
waiting list for it.

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