Review

Review: Everything’s Eventual

Everything's EventualEverything’s Eventual by Stephen King

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Forgive me, but I’m going to say exactly what I mean here!

If you struggled with The Dark Tower series or The Stand like I did, if you think those stories are outstanding concepts but wish they’d been a whole lot shorter, if you harboured the idea in the back of your mind that Stephen King would do well to read his own On Writing after attempting/struggling/failing to finish any of those, then read this to find your way back on track to the glory that is Stephen King.

I found myself continually amazed at how good a story-writer Stephen King is. Every story in this anthology left me with the feeling of having discovered something rich and deep, something that will stay with me forever. I literally re-discovered the joys of reading that I first discovered as a child reading the likes of Isaac Asimov’s and Ray Bradbury’s short stories.

King is possibly the only writer I know who can re-use his old devices in new ways – paintings that appear alive in It are equally alive in The Road Virus Heads North. Undead characters from the grave are there for a hitchhiker in need in Pet Sematary and Riding the Bullet. The me that went before The Dark Tower would not have appreciated that as much as the me that came after does.

Absolutely outstanding.

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2 thoughts on “Review: Everything’s Eventual

  1. I’m similarly intimidated by The Dark Tower and The Stand (but loved IT profoundly and want to read 11/22/63), but I’m surprised to see that you’re such a big fan of this collection. I unintentionally started with the best of his collections (Skeleton Crew and Night Shift) and even in Night Shift I saw a difference in quality. Everything’s Eventual has some classic King genius here and there, but I don’t think it’s on the level with Skeleton Crew. Not that everything in that collection is so great (“Cain Rose Up” and “Here There Be Tygers” are more like novelties than actual stories).

    A few sticking points for me on Everything’s Eventual, though: “Autopsy Room 4” is predictable, unimaginative and ends with a dick joke; “All that You Love Will Be Carried Away” has such a reputation with fans, but it turns out is about an old suicidal man sitting in a motel room and thinking about truck stop bathrooms, and even the author says he doesn’t know if it’s a good story or not, so enough said there, I think; “Sisters of Eluria” is everything I was afraid would be wrong with the Dark Tower and the Stand, I didn’t know what was happening for the most part, who the characters were or why we should care, and I definitely didn’t know why everyone was talkin’ so funny; LTs Theory of Pets is introduced as King’s favorite–what a letdown–it would have been an interesting little distraction without the ending, but I wasn’t sad (much less scared) for the narrator, or LT, or his wife or her dog, because there was no proof they were dead!

    The less egregious disappointments so far have been “The Death of Jack Hamilton” and “The Deathroom,” both of which I think of as severely lacking in imagination. And King doesn’t have to write about death or monsters to be good. Where “The Last Rung on the Ladder” is simple, those two are simplistic; where the Ladder is vivid and poignant, the Death stories are just stories.

    The standouts for me (at least in the first half) are clear: Man in the Black Suit and Road Virus Heads North are classic King. Short, sweet, scary. In both those stories I was compelled by the characters, interested in the setting (so much that I wanted to be there) and vaguely scared, as surreal as they are. Especially Road Virus, which without rehashing anything manages to capture some of the same brilliance you find in Duma Key, “The Sun Dog” and even IT. Classics.

    Like

  2. Hi Jeff – Yep. Stephen King infuriates and perplexes me. Some of his works are amazing – Carrie, Firestarter, and Cujo are three of the most amazing stories ever conceived, and his Langoliers still chase me; but then he writes stuff I can’t be bothered to finish. The Dark Tower series is an interesting concept that deteriorates into ramble and self-aggrandizement and I still haven’t brought myself to face the last one in the series. I’d like to recommend an excellent book ‘On Writing’ to him – it’s filled with valuable advice… oh wait. He wrote it.

    Liked by 1 person

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