Thursday, December 08, 2005
McSweeny's Enchanted Chamber of Astonishing Stories
I was reading some of the stories in this issue of McSweeny's in the hope I'd run across one I really liked. After all, it was editor Michael Chabon's aim to present "a brand-new collection that reinvigorates the stay-up-all-night, edge-of-the-seat, fingernail-biting, page-turning tradition of literary short stories." So far I haven't run across a story that lives up to that billing, or even comes close. Of course I haven't read them all yet, so I might find one yet. It could happen.
One particular disappointment was Stephen King's "Lisey and the Madman." I thought that of all people King would be the one to come up with something I liked. But the story didn't make me want to stay up all night or bite my nails. It made me want to take a nap. Maybe it's just me, and it probably is, but I found it a snoozer. In fact, after I read it, I picked up a copy of Night Shift and read a couple of stories just to see if King's early work was as vigorous as I remembered. It was. Just when did he begin to transmute his gold prose into leaden verbiage? For me, it was with It, I think. This story sure didn't change my mind.