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Full Dark, No Stars

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Nicole Tracy- Literary Columnist

Full Dark, No Stars is a
collection of 4 short stories
written by Stephen King. All
of the stories are connected
via the themes of vengeance
and retribution.
The first story, “1922” is
the story of Wilfred James,
a farmer in Nebraska during
the year of 1922. Wilfred
(or Wilf as he’s generally
referred to) owns a patch
of land that he grows his
crops on. His wife, Arlette,
owns an adjacent piece of
property that her deceased
father left her. A hog butchering
company wants to buy
it from her because of the
river that cuts across the
land, and she wants to sell
it. Wilfred, however, loves
his home and dislikes the
idea of living in the city. He
wants to stay on the farm
with his young son, Henry.
Over a period of time,
Wilfred and Arlette begin to
argue with each other about
whether or not to sell the
property. Arlette hates the
farm and wants more out of
life. Everything, of course,
changes for the worse when
Wilfred kills her one night by
cutting her throat and tossing
her body down an old,
unusable well. He talks his
son into helping him do the
dirty deed. Both men of the
house, however, soon find
themselves having to deal
with their unspeakable actions
and the unforeseeable
consequences.
Stephen King is in fine
form in this story. His characters
are completely believable
to the point that there
is no problem believing what
is going on with them, and
the horrors that soon arrive
at their front door. 1922 is
almost a return to the dark,
haunting stories that King
wrote during the early part
of his career. The only problem
with it was the story was
not longer.
The second short story
in this paperback is called
“The Big Driver” and deals
with a successful mystery
writer named Tess, who
does a book signing one day
in a small town about sixty
miles from home. On the
way back she drives over
several boards in the road
that have nails in them,
causing her a couple of blow
outs. After she pulls over
near a closed store, a vehicle
comes along with a giant of
a man inside.
Tess believes the guy is
there to help her, but soon
finds that’s not the case at
all. She is left for dead in a
culvert on the side of the
road. Tess later wakes up,
only to find herself in the
presence of other bodies
that have been tossed there
over the years. These are
the bodies of dead women
who were victims of the Big
Driver.
As Tess makes her way
back to where her clothes
are, she deals with an array
of emotions, one of which
is whether or not to call the
police. In time, however,
she decides to take matters
into her own hands and to
seek revenge. The rest of
the story deals with how
she goes about completing
her mission and hopefully
surviving the encounter
because killing isn’t an easy
thing to do.But of course,
in classic King fashion, if
anything can go wrong, it
always will when you least
expect it and at the worst
possible moment.
This story is yet another
classic King – instead of giving
the reader a actual monster,
he gives you one that is
quite human. “The Big Driver”
plays on the common
fear of having car trouble,
then having someone attack
you while being someplace
unfamiliar. This is one of
the greatest talents of the
author. Stephen King is able
to tap into our primal fears
to create stories that pop
right off the page in their
realism with characters who
remind you of yourself and
the situations you pray to
never find yourself in.
The third story is “Fair Extension”.
This is the shortest
of the four stories in the
book.
The one centers around
Dave Streeter, who works
at one of the local banks in
Derry, and also happens to
be dying from cancer. He
stops along the Harris Street
Extension near the Derry
Municipal airport one day
and spots a small booth
selling “Extensions” of every
kind: hair extensions, loan
extensions, and even life
extensions.
The salesman at the
booth is Mr. George Elvid, a
short pudgy man with very
sharp teeth, a foul scent, and
the hint of a much darker
personality. Mr. Elvid offers