I take very seriously what I do, and it has always been like that, since when I wrote my first novel at 18, “The Long Walk”. I have very low patience towards those writers who do not take seriously their job, and completely no patience towards who claims that the art of writing is, by now, worn-out. It is not worn-out, it is not a literary game. It is one of the most important ways to find a sense out of our life and in the terrible world that often surrounds us. It’s the way in which we answer to the question “How can such things happen?”. Stories let us think that sometimes (not always, but sometimes) there is a reason. (pp. 415-416)
Stephen King – Full Dark, No Stars
Described also as “the King of Horror”, Stephen King never leaves us. He has a capacity to crank out striking stories, and today, September 21st, it’s his 70th birthday, he has recently published another major work entitled “Sleeping Beauty”, four-handed written with his son Owen. It’s almost touching how, at the end of several novels or stories, the Genius, thanks his Fellow Readers for having, one more time, crossed his path. And, considering that I believe myself to be, at least, a little, part of this crowd, I feel obliged to honor King the day of his birthday, drafting a ranking list of novels I have loved the most.
Not everyone might like the genre, this is obvious, but Stephen King is an extraordinary narrator. He can make interesting banal topics, simple stories, events at which, if someone else would talk us about, we wouldn’t even pay attention.
- Full Dark, No Stars
There are no monsters, demons, vampire: only a disturbing awe regarding what normal people can do. This is absolutely the most engaging collection if you don’t like fantasy, but love contemporary horror stories. It’s only four stories, but deserve the first place in our ranking list.
–She heard a sort of thud, a dull sound. What was it? I don’t want to know it, said to herself, and she was sure that thought didn’t come from the Stupid zone, but from the intelligent one. There, at the bottom, under the desk, it was completely dark ad there could have been some mice. Even in a well-kept garage like that one, especially in winter, and a frightened mouse could bite. Darcy stood up, she scrolled the dust off her gown and got out the garage. Before entering the house, she heard the phone ringing.
A Good Marriage
- Just After Sunset
Here, instead, we have a collection of thirteen stories, all set in normal, simple and every-day contexts, like “Cyclette”, other times more sinister and criminal, like for the novel “……”. But they all are situations in which, as the narration goes on, some of the details start to get spoiled, in a thunderous ascending climax of suspense and terror. A masterpiece.
-[…] how strong could he be capable at throwing a kick to the left ear of Lee-Lee without scarifying the precision for the strength? Right to the ear, ta-pum. He also asked himself what kind of sound it would have done. A satisfying sound, he imagined. Of course, in doing that, he could have even killed him, but could it have been a great loss for the world? Who would have ever known it? Ellen? Go fuck herself.-
Rest Stop (p. 153)
- Night Shift
Now it begins to go through the most known and loved horror, by people, basically, everything that frightens through what is inexplicable. Stories of trucks dominating the Earth, Monsters locked in the wardrobe which kill sons and daughters while sleeping, men who rot and feed themselves with dead corps, vampires. The Genius can always extrapolate from the every-day reality everything that could seem harmless and silly, and manipulate it, tighten it and squeeze it between the pen and the paper, to be offered as the worst nightmare of our life.
–Put down the hammer and she didn’t scream, but she could have screamed because she wasn’t Norma, none of them was Norma, but he moved down the hammer, moved down the hammer, moved down the hammer. She wasn’t Norma, and he vibrated every blow, as he had already done other five times.
The Man who loved Flowers (p. 349)
Misery deserves the first place. Published for the first time in 1988, this, together with other “Must Read” by Stephen King, like Carrie, Shining, It, etc. is still the best novel in absolute. Not too much long, 383 pages, can be a pot of pure anguish and total identification in the fate of the unfortunate writer, the central character. An unique literary experience.
–She got up and she was reversing the sheet, pulling it towards herself, it was uncovering her tortured legs and naked feet. “No”, begged him, “No… Anne… for everything you have in mind, we can talk about it, please… please…” She bended. When she stood up, she kept in her hand the hatchet taken from the storage room and in the other a tube of propane gas.-
Misery (p. 252)
- The Long Walk
Stephen King also published novels with pseudonyms. This was published with the pseudonym of Richard Bachman. Written between the Fall of 1966 and the Spring of 1967, was immediately refused at a contest for books at which King participated when he was freshman at college. I believe it is another brief novel (279 pages) which deserves a place in this ranking list.
-the 45 fell again. It was possible to hear footsteps while the boys were spreading out, and few moments later, the shot. Garraty concluded that, after all, the name of that boy shouldn’t have been important.
The Long Walk (p. 91)
- The Girl who loved Tom Gordon
Last book in the list, but not necessarily the least valid. Probably, not everyone would collocate it in the ranking list, since it moves away from the themes dealt by Stephen King in his other novels. We can find still the passion for Basketball the disturbing setting, a little girl, lost in the darkness of the forest, and, I believe that in this book one must realize the great genius narrator, who is Stephen King. When one has in his hands this novel, the necessity is to keep reading it.
-And, it may be, that you’ll never get at Pete’s age, observed that discouraging interior voice. How is it possible to have inside oneself a so cold and wretched voice? A so hateful loose cannon? It may be that you will never get out of this forest.-
The Girl who loved Tom Gordon (p. 36)
Translator Roberta Croce