Title: Full Dark, No Stars
Author: Stephen King
First published January 1, 2011
368 pages, Hardcover
ISBN: 9781439192566 (ISBN10: 1439192561)
Stephen King’s Full Dark, No Stars is a gripping collection of tales that explores the darkness within us all. In “1922,” Wilfred Leland James is forced to confront the stranger inside him when his wife proposes a move that sets off a chain of horrors.
“Big Driver” follows a cozy-mystery writer named Tess as she seeks revenge on the stranger who violated her. “Fair Extension” is a wickedly funny story of a man who makes a deal with the devil.
And in “A Good Marriage,” Darcy Anderson discovers a horrifying secret about her husband that shatters their seemingly perfect life. King’s mastery of the long story form is on full display in this chilling and unforgettable collection.
About the Author
Stephen Edwin King was born as the second son to Donald and Nellie Ruth Pillsbury King. When he was two, his father left the family, and Stephen and his older brother, David, were raised by their mother.
They lived in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and Stratford, Connecticut, before settling in Durham, Maine, when Stephen was eleven. His mother took care of her parents, Guy and Nellie Pillsbury, after they became incapacitated, and the family was supported by other relatives.
After Stephen’s grandparents passed away, his mother found work in the kitchens of a nearby residential facility.
Stephen attended grammar school in Durham and graduated from Lisbon Falls High School in 1966. While studying at the University of Maine at Orono, he wrote a weekly column for the school newspaper and was active in student politics.
He supported the anti-war movement and graduated in 1970 with a B.A. in English. He met Tabitha Spruce at the university library, where they both worked as students, and they married in 1971.
After graduation, Stephen was unable to find a teaching job and worked as a laborer at an industrial laundry. He sold his first professional short story, “The Glass Floor,” in 1967 and continued to sell stories to men’s magazines during his early years of marriage.
In 1971, he began teaching English at Hampden Academy while continuing to write in the evenings and on weekends.
Full Dark, No Stars is a haunting collection of four novellas by the legendary Stephen King. First published in 2011, it is a stunning example of King’s mastery of the horror genre.
King, an American author and winner of countless literary awards, is widely regarded as one of the best horror writers of all time. With Full Dark, No Stars, he delivers a set of chilling, thought-provoking tales that are sure to stay with readers long after they’ve finished reading.
Each of the four novellas is an intriguing exploration of darkness and human nature, making the reader question what they would do in each dire circumstance. They are all set in rural America during different time periods, ranging from the 1920s to modern times.
While the characters are different in each novella, they all face moral dilemmas, struggle with their actions, and come to terms with the consequences of their decisions. Some of the tales are haunting, while others are darker than night.
King’s descriptions are vivid, allowing the reader to picture the setting, characters, and events with ease. The first novella, “1922”, tells the story of a farmer whose wife wants to sell their farm and move to the city.
The farmer convinces his teenage son to help him murder his wife, but as the farmer’s guilt grows, strange things start happening on his farm. The second novella, “Big Driver,” is about a famous mystery writer who has a chance encounter with a truck driver at a literary event.
After accepting the trucker’s offer for a ride home, she is brutally raped and left for dead. The writer then decides to take matters into her own hands and get revenge.
The third novella, “Fair Extension,” is the story of a man named Dave who sells his soul to the devil in exchange for a cure for his cancer. The last novella, “A Good Marriage,” tells the story of Darcy Anderson, who discovers her husband of over twenty years is a notorious serial killer.
One of the strengths of Full Dark, No Stars is King’s storytelling ability. King is a master at pacing, slowly building tension and planting seeds of unease that take root in the reader’s mind.
King creates fully realized characters with inner conflicts, making them feel like real people rather than merely characters in a book. His exploration of the human condition and morality is thought-provoking and nuanced.
Another strength of Full Dark, No Stars is King’s ability to create thrilling horror without relying on gore or cheap jump scares. The horror is psychological and intellectual, leaving a long-lasting impact on the reader’s mind.
The setting of rural America also serves as a character itself, with each story using its landscapes to create a sense of unease and an eerie atmosphere. If there’s one limitation to Full Dark, No Stars, it’s that the collection might be too dark for some readers.
The themes explored are heavy and nefarious, which some readers might find too overwhelming. At times, the stories might push the boundaries of what some readers consider entertainment.
Overall, Full Dark, No Stars is an excellent read for fans of horror and Stephen King. It’s beautifully written, has well-crafted characters, and tells stories that challenge and entertain in equal measure.
While it might not be for everyone, for those who enjoy horror with a psychological bent, Full Dark, No Stars is a must-read. Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.