When in doubt, just read Stephen King.
So goes my mantra in 2012, and will continue on through next year and for many more to come. If I'm left conflicted between which of two books I want to read, I invariably drop both and end up going for Stephen King. Even with ones delivering a bizarre and unintentionally funny plot (*coughcough* The Tommyknockers), I usually always find something in it that ultimately leaves me happy and thrilled I read it. With this short story, I was extremely happy I settled into this for a rainy, cold evening in Virginia Beach.
A quick read at 230 pages, The Mist was originally published as part of an anthology of short stories included in the release of Dark Forces in 1980. It was released a few years ago as a novella and I guess now I'll have to rent the movie. (Although I will not hold my breath for it, King movies notoriously are poorly executed.)
David Drayton, his wife and young son live on Long Lake in Maine. After a particularly frightening series of storms one summer night forcing them to seek cover in their basement, the next morning unveils the beginning of an unnamed sense of dread. When David sees a weird mist of fog across the lake, quiet fear settles in. He heads to the store with his son and neighbor, and the mist moves even further, trapping the shop's customers in. It's here in this tiny supermarket, somewhere in Maine, that the battle for survival begins.
I marvel at King's ability to build tension. It actually reminded me of the first part of The Stand and I was completely freaked out by the unknown constantly squawked to myself over and over "what is in the mist? Please, someone tell me, what the heck is that, oh my gawd, what is that??" and the subsequent breakdown of a group of people exiled from everything and other humans, a la Lord of the Flies. And while I was disappointed with one choice David made, he was otherwise a likable character.
The Mist hit the mark yet again for me; a great Stephen King tale to while away the time and scare the stuffing out of you. Diving once more into fear of the unknown, King doesn't meander into side stories much as it's confined to a shorter length, but don't expect for it to be tied up into one nice and neat little bow at the end, which even the main character points out. Instead, you can anticipate another solid story by the master of fear to keep you up late, late into the night.
The only thing missing? Stephen King's introduction or afterword of some sort. I have gotten used to reading his insights into the development of a story, most especially his self-deprecating humor, and I was looking forward to it.
Passage of Note
You know what talent is? The curse of expectation. As a kid you have to deal with that, beat it somehow. If you can write, you think God put you on earth to blow Shakespeare away. Or, if you can paint, maybe you think - I did - that God put you on earth to blow your father away.Others said:
Bay State Reader's Advisory (audio review)
Publisher: Signet, a division of Penguin
Release Date: My copy is 2007, originally 1980
FTC Disclosure: I purchased this from my local independent bookstore.
About the Author
Stephen King is the author of more than fifty novels, including The Stand, The Dark Tower series, It, The Shining, oh...what more can be written that one doesn't already know. So here you go, click here to visit this wicked cool author's official website.