Bazaar of Bad Dreams by Stephen King is a great collection of short stories by a master of the craft. The stories range from creepy, poignant, to the unsettling and bizarre, but always with a twist or unexpected turn along the way. I loved how engaging and utterly vibrant the characters in each story were. King has the ability to bring his characters to life in just a couple of sentences, to make you care for them before their inevitable fate takes its toll. What sets this collection apart is the fact that each story is accompanied by commentary sharing the inspiration behind the story; an interesting, intimate look behind the curtain to see how our nightmares are made.
I loved all the stories in the collection. The standout stories for me were Mile 81, Bad Little Kid, Morality, Ur, Herman Woulk is Still Alive, The Little Green God of Agony and Obits. My undisputed favourite was the story that rounds out the collection, Summer Thunder, a story chronicling the last days after a nuclear holocaust. Considering recent world events it hits far too close to home and might be a terrifying prophetic glimpse into our future if things continue to deteriorate.
If you are new to Stephen King's work this would be a perfect starting point. Constant Readers might have come across most of the previously published works before, but they are all well worth revisiting. The 21 stories collected in Bazaar of Bad Dreams are terrific, haunting delights that will stay with you long after you turn that last page.
It's been two weeks since I finished reading Bazaar of Bad Dreams and I still find myself thinking about the somewhat strangely titled Herman Woulk is Still Alive. I think this might be due to the brilliant juxtaposition used in the heartbreaking story - the two aged poets enjoying the twilight years of their life versus the sharp contrast of the young mothers left hopeless, trapped by their circumstance and falling into a pit of despair so deep that it ultimately leads to devastating tragedy. I guess that earns it the runner-up spot for favourite story in the collection.
The stories collected in Bazaar of Bad Dreams are terrific, haunting delights that will stay with you long after you turn that last page. This is a perfect read for those dark nights where you come to realise that the monster might be the one hiding under the covers... Highly recommended!
The Rating: 8 (Great!)