The WEIRD (26)

Real-Time Review continued from HERE.

The WEIRD:  A Compendium of Strange and Dark Stories
Edited by Ann & Jeff VanderMeer
First published in Great Britain 2011 by Corvus, an imprint of Atlantic Books Ltd.

29/11/11 – three hours later

The Man in the Black Suit – Stephen King

Clouds floated by, west to east, and I tried to think what they looked like.”

I have read most of Stephen King’s novels as and when they came out, i.e. from ‘Carrie’ onward, but only recently did I read the whole of ‘The Dark Tower’ series for the first time (to date, as a new one is due to come out next year) – and I real-time reviewed that series (as massive a task as doing it to ‘The WEIRD’!).  In other words, I am an enormous fan of Stephen King. But I’ve never really got on with his short stories, and I’m pretty sure I’ve never read this particular one. So, yes, another major discovery for me by ‘The WEIRD’! A truly great story. The man in the black suit character has vibes with ‘The Dark Tower’, – while the sentimentality, the American ‘good life, the Bible-wielding protagonist (using the ‘good book’ as a defensive weapon against what he believes to be the Devil) never reach that melodrama that was apparent in the William Browning Spencer story for me.  King often teeters on the edge of melodrama, but his sense of ‘pathos’ (particularly in this story) is always spot on, and one can forgive him any sentimentality, when it is used as a foil for the stalking horror in this story, a horror that remains a memory-burr (like a still-feared fatal bee-sting on the edge of stinging again) for the 90 year old protagonist with a walker who is reliving, via his own ‘Diary Room’, his boyhood with the actual tactile, olfactory, visual, emotional, Oates-family-love impact of living it for real as if from fresh out of a time machine (cf: 11/22/63).  The suspense built up on the anxious return journey to the mother’s bake-filled kitchen is masterful. The story in turn becomes a sort of nightmare memory-burr for the reader as a memory of the feelings felt when empathising with the story or the big fish engulfment. That’s why I’m pretty sure I’ve never read it before. (But I have a black suit myself for special occasions).

Continued as The WEIRD (27) page HERE.

Index of this whole real-time review HERE.

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