Friday, November 26, 2010

On "Premium Harmony" by Stephen King (3726 words) ***

I went looking to see if one could find a Stephen King story on the Web and came up with this piece from the New Yorker. Other than the just-completed book of King novellas, it's the only King I've read. The tale is common enough, a husband and wife arguing, their better selves left back in the dating days. She's overweight now; he's still smoking. They get on each other's nerves. Something happens to make the husband realize what he's lost--both in being married and in the possibility of being single again. There's not much new here in terms of language or innovative plotting, but what really works is King's attention to some of the little details. I especially like how, after the husband enters the discount store to be with his wife, the teens start taking photos with their cell phones. Overcome with discomfort, the workers pass out free drinks--and then it's back to work. One man's hugely tragic encounter is a momentary curiosity, just a small part of everyone else's day--and in a sense, by story's end, we get the feel that it's almost the same for the man, as he lights up a smoke. In this corporatized world of passing Internet fancies, King seems to be saying, nothing is forever--or even, now, fifteen minutes. Read the story here at the New Yorker.


TN-Tanuki said...

Surprisingly there is very little Stephen King out there, but I did find this other story of his here:

Anonymous said...

Enjoyed this story by Stephen King. It felt as if he were doing his best impression of Raymond Carver, but I assume that could be said of many pieces.