by Stephen King
Stephen King can spin a good yarn, you have to give him that. But he's gotten lazy: each of these four stories (and, in particular, the first and third) could benefit from the kind of heavy-handed editor that, presumably, King is too proud and too influential to work with. Further evidence of laziness can be found through a casual inspection of the plots: in several of the stories a character just "knows what has to be done" to solve a problem. There's no pretense at giving the characters enough facts and brains to figure it out: they just know it. This sort of plot device (or rather, device used to avoid creating a tight plot) is irritating once and inexcusable the second and third times it appears in the same book.
The Langoliers is about what happens to a small group of people who wake up after falling asleep on a red-eye from LAX to Boston and find that almost everyone on their jumbo jet has disappeared. It's a fun story although it's probably the most over-written out of the four. Secret Window, Secret Garden is a psychological drama, one of several that King has written about the odd interplay between a writer and his work. The attentive reader will figure out the gimmick pretty early on, but even so, there's a nice little extra twist at the end. The Library Policeman is vintage King: there's a small town, a monster, and an unlikely hero. Wake me up when it's over. Finally, The Sun Dog is an almost completely uninteresting story about a Polaroid camera from Hell. Overall, Four Past Midnight might be worth picking up for a long airplane ride, but probably not. buddhism: a very short introduction the inferno nihil nimus
copyright © 2003 John Regehr