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Book Review: Bazaar of Bad Dreams

Book of The Month Review: ‘The Bazaar of Bad Dreams’

Five years ago, Stephen King presented us with the gift that was Full Dark, No Stars and this November he outdid his previous effort with The Bazaar of Bad Dreams. The twenty short stories are characteristically complex, dark and gripping and King has admitted that some of the stories (such as ‘Batman and Robin Have an Altercation’) were inspired by events he either witnessed or read about.

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 you question your own values is what makes it more unsettling than any horror story.

Another of the more unnerving stories has to be Afterlife which centres on one of the biggest unanswered questions in the world; what happens when we die? I won’t tell you what happens (according to the story) when you cross over to the other side but I can tell you that the dead are given very similar rules and choices to the ones that they were presented with when they were alive. The agonising choice between choosing to return to life or remain dead was excruciatingly painful to read and begs the question: which door would you choose?

However, for me the best story of the collection was Obits which featured a man who can kill people who are still alive by writing obituaries- sound anything like King’s Word Processor of the Gods? The story begins innocently but his powers predictably grow until they are out of control and he discovers the devastating consequences.

King’s collection of stories does not disappoint and despite the serious themes of many of them, his sense of humour casts glimmer of light here and there which makes the collection very enjoyable to read.

Written by Tash Voase


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