Like walking into a weird street fair right as it’s about to close, Stephen King introduces you to his world of horror and grotesque tales in his newest book The Bazaar of Bad Dreams. It’s a collection of short stories some previously published and some new for the collection, each with a personalized introduction from King himself.
“Because – dig it – when it comes to death, what can you do but laugh?”
The best part of the collection – King’s brief introduction preceding each tale – tells you a lot about the writer and how he views the world and how small moments can become a grim and spooky tale. Like many short story collections, you may not enjoy each story. Many leave you with the feeling of “yikes” over how these characters handle their troubles, which usually prove them to be a bit off their rocker, such as in the story, “Under the Weather.” Other times, the tale will leave you troubled long after it’s over such as the disturbing short story “Bad Little Kid.” His characterization is strongest in the stories that aren’t as grotesque, such as in “Batman and Robin Have an Altercation” and “Ur” King includes a few poems in the collection, and neither were as good as his short stories.
Many of the stories are disturbing and some are outright grotesque, but most will leave you with a smirk on your face even if you are a bit queasy in the end. The Bazaar of Bad Dreams is a well-crafted selection of disturbing and spooky stories and comes highly recommended if you are a horror fan or Stephen King fan or both.