Meredith Enos's Reviews > Everything's Eventual: 14 Dark Tales

Everything's Eventual by Stephen King
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Nov 22, 10

bookshelves: b-plus-reading

So, the summer before sixth grade I read "The Stand" and that pretty much changed my life. It was a lot of things: what happens after the end of the world? How do you pick out good and evil? Where would I get food and supplies if that were me (when Costco opened, I was palpably relieved--no joke)? And the scene where Fran buries her dad will probably stay with me my entire life.

And then, when I was in eighth grade, I read "Different Seasons," and that changed my life some more. At that point, I had become interested in writing, so I was hooked by the characterization, the coolness of the novella, the pacing.

I was a Stephen King-reading fiend, but my interest petered out during the Dark Tower series. First, it was interminable. Second, by this time I was in high school and a lot more interested in doing other things on Saturday nights than reading novels. And finally, I think I just got tired of being scared silly and by the style of it, and the feeling that everything shitty happens in Maine. So I took a break from Stephen King for, um, 15 years or so. "Everything's Eventual" is my third foray into Stephen King as an adult (The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon was all right, but just slightly patronizing in tone) and Lisey's Story (good, but slightly self indulgent). "Everything's Eventual" came out between those two works, and to me is a really good example of how life feeds art, how this whole damn thing is a craft, and how art helps you, I guess, deal with life.

First off, I really admire Stephen King and his work ethic. He just keeps writing, and he keeps writing about different things. He doesn't even care that something's been written before (In the intros to "Riding the Bullet" and "1408" he straight up says "this is my version of the XXX story"), he'll write it anyway, with his flavor, even if he doesn't really add anything to the, say, "hitchhiker picked up by a ghost" storytelling fabric. "Riding the Bullet" is a way for him to ruminate on his own mother's death (I'm not analyzing this--he says it in the intro), not the only way surely, but a creative response to a real-life event. The whole collection seems like a good snapshot of where he is in his life, actually.

Some parts are still crude, some parts still have that great horror-movie pacing, that great word choice designed to freak you out the most. A few parts are actually scary. But most of it is, frankly, better than that. Maybe it's just because they are short stories (but having read three other of his collections, I doubt it), but he's not as long-winded as before. The narrators are confident in their tales, and the tales themselves don't have to rely on shock value. They are stories about characters and the things that shape them, how their perspectives change based on things they've experienced, secrets they've kept or uncovered, things they've done that they're ashamed of. There's more subtlety.

I look forward to, maybe, five or eight books from now. Judging by "Lisey's Story," and the thing with the boob, he's not past the theatrics. I think he's on his way, though, to really blowing the doors off the genre. So I give it an extra star because this work promises greater things from him.
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