Stephen King is a writer who has been extremely popular for decades. He churns out books with immense regularity. What is equally phenomenal is his capacity to read. Pictures of his library at home that are available on the internet are fabulous. Any profiles or essays of him that are published always highlight the discipline with which he writes every day. His son wrote a lovely essay about his father in The New Yorker where he mentions this fact too. Stephen King’s part-memoir, part-handbook on the craft of writing called “On Writing” is stupendous. He writes straight from the heart. It is one of the best books on the craft of writing. His fiction is uneven but in recent years it has been going from strength to strength. If It Bleeds is superb. It consists of short stories and a novella. The writing is controlled when it is used to build suspense. The details packed in every sentence are fabulous. There is a mix of “historical details” that are taken from recent past but are no longer visible in modern living. It exists in the living memory of older generations but not necessarily would be familiar to millennials. It is this gap in one’s experince and knowledge that Stephen King exploits to tell these marvellous tales. There is something special about the tenor of his writing in this volume that is worth reading for the power of his storytelling and for it being a masterclass in the art of writing.
4 October 2020