Stephen King's America

Stephen King's America

Stephen King's America

Stephen King's America

Synopsis

Stephen King's America aims to heighten awareness of the numerous American issues that resonate throughout King's fiction, issues that bear universal application to the evolution of the human condition.

Excerpt

I remember my interest in Stephen King beginning at a garage sale one sunny August afternoon in 1979. I was pawing through a rack of dirty, used hardcover books for fifty cents each. After dismissing most of them, I noticed a grungy-looking gray book that looked like it hadn't been touched in years. I picked it up and held it. After taking in the simplicity of its exterior (it lacked a dust jacket), I began to flip through the pages. I didn't have time to really sample the piece, but the titles caught my attention: "Jerusalem's Lot," "I Am the Doorway," "Graveyard Shift," "The Mangler." At the time, I had already been a die-hard horror fan, having previously terrified myself with the pages of William Peter Blatty's The Exorcist and David Seltzer's The Omen, among others that dominated the paperback racks across America at the time. I had heard of Stephen King before because of the movie Carrie, but I'd never read a single one of his works. After taking in the stories' titles, I turned over the fifty and took it home nested underneath my arm. The book was called Night Shift.

Over the next couple of weeks, I read the book, jumping from story to story randomly. I didn't read it all; what I did read was enough. I was taken into a world where a lawn-care service representative terrorizes his clients; where children overthrow the adult population through bloodshed and turn their allegiance to a god who lives in a Nebraska cornfield; to a rural Maine town where vampires of past nightmares come back to prey on a family from out of town. To the young mind scratching the door of adolescence, these stories were ample to create a flurry of nightmares. Yet at the same time those stories caused mental unease, they had a strong magnetic appeal. The author of those stories seemed to possess an uncanny ability to focus on ordinary individuals and place them in extraordinary circumstances, ones which were filled with horror. It was at that time in my life when I began to realize the appeal of dread and the compulsion it bred in my mind. After I'd read several stories in the book, I once again wanted to know what hid underneath my . . .

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