cover image The Bazaar of Bad Dreams: Stories

The Bazaar of Bad Dreams: Stories

Stephen King, read by the author and multiple narrators. S&S Audio, unabridged, 16 CDs, 19 hrs., $49.99 ISBN 978-1-4423-8850-5

A dream team of talented performers reads these 18 tales and two poems by master fictioneer King. Several of the stories—including “Blockade Billy,” a baseball yarn with a predictable violent punch line, and “Under the Weather,” an exploration of the grim effect a tragedy has on an ad man—are not the author’s strongest, but they are given a boost by, respectively, Craig Wasson’s keep-rounding-the-bases-and-slide-into-home exuberance and Peter Friedman’s conversational narration, which shifts the emphasis from the repetitiveness of what he’s saying to the compelling way he’s saying it. Other stories are as strikingly composed as they are performed. As wonderful as the professional readers are, it is King’s nasal voice that distinguishes the production, preceding each story with information about its creation. He also begins the collection with an intriguing introduction explaining the differences between writing novels and short fiction, warning about the stories that follow: “The best of them have teeth.” A Scribner hardcover. (Nov.)