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M Hunt
Posted on Friday, April 08, 2005 - 09:29 am:   

I was researching information about the Steven King Short Story for my college's American Short Story class and came across this essay/article written by E. Hand. http://www.villagevoice.com/vls/163/hand.shtml
she states...
" If King's ambition is to earn a place on that shelf that holds the work of acknowledged 20th-century gothic masters ("The Lottery," Flannery O'Connor's "A Good Man Is Hard To Find," William Faulkner's "A Rose for Emily"), this tale deserves to join them."

Although she referred to "Hearts in Atlanta" and not "The Man in the Black Suit" and given the admiration of King's work that was apparent in that article, I thought she would might like to hear that "The Man in the Black Suit" is being taught right along with those very same famous short stories that she mentioned in college level classes.
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liz hand
Posted on Friday, April 08, 2005 - 01:21 pm:   

Hey, that's cool! I hadn't heard that at all. Where are you teaching it?

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Bill Reynolds/Socrates17
Posted on Friday, August 26, 2005 - 10:33 am:   

Great piece. Speaking of collecting peoples reviews in book form, Liz....
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Gary Fry
Posted on Tuesday, September 27, 2005 - 12:11 am:   

Liz, I hear you got name-checked by King in a recent article! Cool...
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liz Hand
Posted on Tuesday, September 27, 2005 - 04:02 am:   

Hey Gary --

Well, SK sounded more peeved than not about my mixed review of Bret Easton Ellis's LUNAR PARK. He also pointed out a typo -- my bad -- and certainly liked the book more than I did. I still like King's stuff better than Ellis's.
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Gary Fry
Posted on Tuesday, September 27, 2005 - 05:43 am:   

If he referred to me as that idiot from England and then went on to dismiss any of my fiction he'd read as trash, I'd be happy! :<)
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Gordon Van Gelder
Posted on Tuesday, September 27, 2005 - 07:51 am:   

I saw that column of SK's in Ent. Weekly and I wondered: Did Stephen King typo the title of his own book? I always thought there's an apostrophe at the start of 'SALEM'S LOT (as it's shortened from Bensalem's, I believe). I haven't checked to confirm this, but I did notice the Ent. Weekly column did not use the apostrophe in the title.

Not that I'm one to throw stones, considering how many panes in my glass house have taken hits.
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liz hand
Posted on Tuesday, September 27, 2005 - 08:32 am:   

I'll have to check. Since I didn't read SALEM'S LOT 12 times (which Elis copped to in an old interview I found online), I don't remember.

Even that typo was an homage to King -- well, not my typo (Yerby), but the correct word, TERBY, which at the end is revealed to signify (spoiler warning) YBRET -- "Why, Bret?" Get it?

Redrum, redrum ....
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Jason Erik Lundberg
Posted on Tuesday, September 27, 2005 - 09:19 am:   

Actually, it's short for Jerusalem's Lot, and yeah, that's weird he would misspell his own book.
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Tim Pratt
Posted on Tuesday, September 27, 2005 - 10:41 am:   

Yeah, it's got a leading apostrophe -- 'Salem's Lot. That's pretty funny.

I've only read it maybe three times. :-)
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liz Hand
Posted on Tuesday, September 27, 2005 - 01:37 pm:   

Ah -- but have you read it backwards? It turns into AMERICAN PSYCHO.
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Gary Fry
Posted on Tuesday, September 27, 2005 - 02:00 pm:   

King can't spell. Look how he writes Sematary... :<)
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Mark in CT
Posted on Friday, January 20, 2006 - 08:16 pm:   

If Stephen King could actually END a book without it turning into B-Movie schlock he might make a step or two towards being a good writer. Personally I think he aims higher then his talent can take him and after pushing out thousands of pages he's left with tons of threads that should be tied together and he just gets out his hot glue gun. MESSY!!!
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liz Hand
Posted on Saturday, January 21, 2006 - 05:54 am:   

Well, I admire a lot of King's work, especially the later books -- not that I've read all of them. I think he's an ambitious writer, and often an exceptional one. His energy just seems to get away from him sometimes. Hey, I wish I could be that prolific!

I tend to like his shorter works better than the longer ones, and the ones that veer towards the side of realism more than the purely supernatural ones. I loved that story he had in The New Yorker a few years ago -- forget the title, about the travelling salesman in I think Nebraska. Dark and very unsettling and beautifully done.
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Mark in CT
Posted on Saturday, January 21, 2006 - 09:08 am:   

Hi Liz!

I might have been a little harsh. I've had this discussion with quite a few friends who are fans of his. I DO think that King has his strengths.

I loved IT, thought it was brilliant - until the last 60 pages or so. I felt after investing the time and energy with the book and having it disintegrate at the end just left me well, like "what the ...?" It was so scarry, the imagery of the clown, and even the photograph, were so understated (for a horror novel) and well done, that the ending was very disapointing, it was so over the top and almost humorous that it felt like it was from another book.

I felt the same way with the Stand, and a few other of his novels too. I think my favorite book of his (also the one I found the scariest) was Pet Semetary. It was also IMO the most low brow of his books. The whole thing was schlock, he didn't over aim, and I think he created a classic horror novel in the process. I haven't read a King book in a little while and I might give The Cell a try, but usually when I finish a King novel, I don't feel like I've gotten anything from it.

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Chris Dodson
Posted on Saturday, January 21, 2006 - 05:39 pm:   

I totally agree that his short fiction is often much, much better than his novels. The story Liz mentions ("All That You Love Will Be Carried Away") is a masterpiece, as is "Mrs. Todd's Shortcut," "Lunch at the Gotham Cafe," and several others.
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Mark in CT
Posted on Saturday, January 21, 2006 - 09:21 pm:   

OK, just dug up my copy of Everything's Eventual. Will give "All That You Love Will Be Carried Away" a shot tonight. I haven't read a King short story since "The Man in the Black Suit" (which was were I put down Everything's Eventual, didn't think much of it). But I also remembered how much I loved The Mist. Not really a short story, but much shorter than his usual output.
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liz Hand
Posted on Sunday, January 22, 2006 - 05:19 am:   

"The Reach" is another story I really liked. Great Maine setting, low-key, no striving after pyrotechnical special effects.

I never read IT. I read some of the early books -- CARRIE, THE SHINING -- and never liked them as much as the movie versions. Later works like ROSE MADDER and HEARTS IN ATLANTIS I liked quite a lot, though as Mark pointed off they tend to go off in terms of being overly long and over-written. But the realist elements are so fine, and I think King has a really deft hand with female characters, especially ones that tend to be under-represented in fiction, rather dowdy middle-aged women wresting control of their lives.

But my favorite King book is BAG OF BONES. I just loved that. One of the best fictional depictions of a working writer that I can think of, and a lot of great insights into the writing process itself, with one of my favorite lines about the creative process -- "let the boys in the basement do their work," or words to that effect.

DANSE MACABRE, I like that too. There should be an updated edition of that, or maybe there is one and I just don't know about it?

Chris, thanks for reminding me of that title. What an amazing story that is. I should reread it; maybe reread all of them (the stories, I mean). I should also catch up with his later books, but I never have enough time to read for pure pleasure. Occupational hazard ...
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Sunday, January 22, 2006 - 07:43 pm:   

I haven't had time to read any of his novels since The Green Mile (which I loved) but I still very much enjoy many of his stories. I also think Danse Macabre is terrific. I admire him his ambition and his ability to still creep me out.

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