I believe that there is another man inside of every man, a stranger, a Conniving Man.
Wilfred James’ Conniving Man causes him and those around him all sorts of trouble in this novella. Determined to live out his days on the family farm, Wilf does everything in his power to convince his wife not to sell her 100 acres of land to the Farrington Company.
Wifey has other ideas and, as a result, she’s about to have a very bad day. Then there’s the whole chain reaction of all things not very nice that follow, because this story originated in the horror show that is Stephen King’s mind.
A tale of greed and people determined to get what they want when they want it, this quick read reminded me that even when we think we’ve gotten what we want, life can serve up some pretty nasty plot twists. If you’re as fond of rats as Indiana Jones’ dear ol’ dad is, you might want to avoid this one.
In true King fashion, there were some notable quotables in this novella. The standouts for me were memorable for very different reasons, though.
This little beauty added to my arsenal of excuses to swear (you can never have enough):
‘The truth is never cussing, Son.’
Then there was the one that made my blood boil. The Sheriff reminded me why fee-males should hope to never be mad, bad or sad enough to be written into the King-dom:
‘Sometimes a fee-male needs talking to by hand, if you take my meaning, and after that they’re all right. A good whacking has a way of sweetening some gals up.’
Every time the rats made an appearance, I couldn’t help thinking of the beating of Poe’s tell-tale heart. I kept involuntarily seeing the rat scene from The Bone Collector movie. Naturally, I heard Indiana Jones telling his father ‘There were rats, Dad’ on numerous occasions.
Readers who haven’t reached their quota of rats with appetites after finishing this novella may want to get their swattin’ pole ready to meet Hunter Shea’s Rattus New Yorkus.
Do you like how things have turned out, Wilf? Was it worth it?
Content warnings include mention of abortion, death by suicide, death of animals and racial slurs. Readers will emetophobia may have trouble with this read.
Once Upon a Blurb
The chilling novella featured in Stephen King’s New York Times bestselling collection Full Dark, No Stars, 1922 is about a man who succumbs to the violence within – setting in motion a grisly train of murder and madness.
Wilfred James owns eighty acres of farmland in Nebraska that have been in his family for generations. His wife, Arlette, owns an adjoining one hundred acres. She wants to sell her land but if she does, Wilfred will be forced to sell as well. James will do anything to hold onto his farm, and he’ll get his son to go along.
Betrayal, murder, madness, rats, 1922 is a breathtaking exploration into the dark side of human nature from the great American storyteller Stephen King.