1-12 - Book Review: EVERYTHING'S EVENTUALStephen King
Scribner
2002

The first collection of stories Stephen King has published since Nightmares & Dreamscapes nine years prior, Everything’s Eventual includes one O. Henry Prize winner, two other award winners, four stories published by The New Yorker, and “Riding The Bullet”, King’s original e-book, which attracted over half a million online readers and became the most famous short story of the decade. Whether writing about encounters with the dead, the near dead, or about the mundane dreads of life, from quitting smoking to yard sales, form in the fourteen dark tales assembled in Everything’s Eventual. Intense, eerie, and instantly compelling, they announce the stunningly fertile imagination of perhaps the greatest storyteller of our time.

Everything’s Eventual is a collection of short stories that is either Stephen King’s fourth or seventh short story collection, depending on whether you’re counting straight short stories or the novella collections (which the dust cover blurb seems not to do, there). This particular copy, I found used hardcover copy in a large print edition, and took it with me on my month training time as a semi truck driver. It came in handy on those cold, lonely weekend nights in that motel in Eastern Illinois. Anyway, here’s the rundown of the fourteen tales contained within:

“Autopsy Room Four”
A man who isn’t dead but is in a death-like paralysis about to experience his own autopsy…

“The Man in the Black Suit”
An elderly man recalls the time when, as a boy, he has an encounter with the titular Man in the Black Suit, who may have been the Devil himself…

“All That You Love Will Be Carried Away”
A traveling salesman stops at a Motel 6 in Nebraska, and has an existential meltdown…as a resident of Nebraska, I can completely understand why…

“The Death of Jack Hamilton”
A member of John Dillinger’s gang tells of the slow, painful death of the titular member of the gang…the story features a bouquet of flies…I’m not making that up…

“In the Deathroom”
A New York Times reporter that has been captured by members of a South American dictatorship is being interrogated in the titular “Death Room”, and the guy plans on being the only one in history to emerge from there alive…

“The Little Sisters of Eluria”
A nifty supplemental tale from the Dark Tower series, taking place before the events in the first novel; here, Ronald runs across vampire nuns…that’s all you need to know…

“Everything’s Eventual”
A young man with a special talent describes his really super-cool job and its perks…

“L. T.’s Theory of Pets”
A co-worker and his wife don’t get along, so they each give each other pets. They don’t help the situation…

“The Road Virus Heads North”
A horror writer picks up a slightly unsettling painting at a yard sale, but then belatedly gets a serious case of buyer’s remorse…

“Lunch at the Gotham Cafe”
Steve’s already having a bad day when, at the restaurant where he meets his estranged wife and her divorce lawyer, the maitre d’ turns out to be having an even worse day than he is…

“That Feeling, You Can Only Say What It Is in French”
Groundhog Day, only on an airplane…

“1408”
This story was made into the movie with Samuel L. Jackson and that guy from High Fidelity. In case you haven’t watched it, a non-fiction writer who specializes in investigating alleged hauntings finally discovers one that plays with his head like a drunken kitten…

“Riding the Bullet”
This novella is famous for being the first of Stephen King’s works written specifically as an eBook. A college student is trying to hitchhike the 120 miles to the hospital his mother is at, when he’s picked up buy a dead guy.

“Lucky Quarter”
A struggling single mother who works as a maid receives a tip in the form of a Lucky Quarter, and proceeds to make a bunch of money gambling…or maybe not…

Overall, a pretty good collection, definitely some of the better yarns collected here. I know, I know, this doesn’t sound like a bright, ringing endorsement to find and crack open this book, but this is Stephen King we’re talking about. Recommended.

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