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They use force to make people quit. If someone smokes they kidnap their spouse and electrocute them. Continued breaches of the rules will lead to his disabled son being beaten up. The man only breaks the rules once. Her new boyfriend seems perfect — he always knows what she wants and needs and does everything right. Her happiness is threatened when her room-mate suggests he has more sinister motivations. I Know What You Need is the best story in this collection. King offers us his interpretation of the creepy stalker story. The new boyfriend has some form of psychic power and uses this to manipulate everyone and everything around him.

2. Why This Time Shift Now?

I love this story. The town is filled with children who worship a demon who lives in the corn and have killed all of the adults. Children of the Corn is another great story. This time King tackles religious mania. The series of movies spawned by this story are pretty shit. This is a shame because the story is very good. He receives her suicide note soon after this and is forced to remember a time when they were very young and he saved her life.

Anyone who sees him thinks they are looking at someone in love and happy. He follows a woman down an alley and approaches her.

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The Man Who Loved Flowers is a great story. The murder of the young woman at the end is unexpected and shocking. He left them and went to get help. They discover the woman and child have been turned into vampires.

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One for the Road is a great story. She has dementia. He feed her dozens of sleeping pills in an attempt to end her suffering. I think it is his best. There are only a couple of stinkers. This is a very strong collection of stories overall.

Nice review, thanks for breaking down the whole book into its separate stories. I began to remember each one as I was reading the descriptions. Thank you for your own article, it is extremely useful, is sure to try to try things out what you have indicated… there may be only one factor I want to talk about in more detail, My partner and i wrote an email to your deal with about it. Looking for forward to looking at extra of your stuff in a while!? You are commenting using your WordPress. You are commenting using your Google account. You are commenting using your Twitter account.

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This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed. Skip to content. I think Quitters Inc. King offers another original tale. The Last Rung on the Ladder is another brilliant story. In spite of the fact that the world of publishing has been, or is in the process of being, taken over by the kind of marketing mentality that long ago established itself as the business norm, substituting "presentation" for substance and hype for quality, there are still two distinct types of literary event.

On the one hand, there are the well-publicised books with which our shops are currently piled high: confections related to the millennium; those now all-too-familiar volumes constructed around the random jottings, recipes or garden designs of some minor celebrity; or colourful reissues of televised classics, one looks forward to the day when the actual text of a Dickens or a Henry James novel is discreetly altered, to create a better match with the broadcast version.

On the other hand, there are the quieter, more personal highlights for which each of us watches and waits with the patience of the true aficionado.


In my own case, one such highlight in the publishing year is any new book by Adam Thorpe, whether it be poetry, a novel or, in the case of Shifts , and for the first time, a volume of short stories. In a time and place in which specialisation seems to be the norm, such diverse gifts are occasionally viewed with suspicion, or even hostility. The British tend to like their artists to stick to what they are supposed to do, and not stray into other areas; there is also a woeful tendency to look to a writer for more of the same - the product, as it were, or brand name, that can be relied upon to push the right buttons, and deliver the expected results.

This being the case, there seems to be a challenge at the heart of Thorpe's work, a demand that we continually move on, that we make no assumptions, that we ask more from ourselves than mere consumerism. As if to emphasise this approach, Shifts is entirely different in almost every respect to its predecessors. A series of short stories, told simply and directly in the first person, with plain one-word titles, such as 'Stonework' or 'Tyres', the book examines the nature of work and the relationship of the worker to his or her materials and function in locations as diverse as France, Africa and Australia.

Often, the apparently simple, occasionally rambling and, in some cases, almost abrupt manner of these narratives suggest the kind of account that might come out of an oral history session, as in the opening story, in which a former binman remembers a disturbing incident involving an empty house, a rubbish bin and some home-made pornography, or 'Iron', where a German woman, haunted by her wartime childhood, considers the ways in which our lives are governed by the laws of chance, or the profoundly disturbing, yet oddly moving 'Sawmill', which in many ways is reminiscent of Heart of Darkness in its framing of the central narrative, and its exploration of the way in which the manager of a timber cutting operation, nicknamed "Pa Croc" by the locals, goes native.

This being Thorpe, however, there is a shift at the end of the story which reveals something new about the relationship between white colonist and native ideas of sacrifice and propitiation. As the title suggests, these stories are all about shifts: about those changes in perception or circumstance, sometimes small, often more dramatic, which change our lives, from war to family feud to the sudden and occasionally mystifying revelation that reveals a man as more complex, and a little darker, than he had thought.

Not only the variety of locations and voices, but also the imaginative breadth and integrity of these stories, suggest that Thorpe, who has spent time in Africa and the Far East, and who now lives in France, has the kind of range and intelligence typical of what is best in European writing - intellectual curiosity, wit, lyricism and an agnostic, yet profound, compassion. If you make one resolution this year, make it an easy one: ignore the piles of millennial and other product piled high on the main tables of your local bookstore, go straight to the fiction shelves, and buy this book.

It's worth it.

The Writer’s Toolbox - Faculty Articles - Gotham Writers Workshop

In the case of Adam Thorpe, however, the story is evidently an organic part of his oeuvre. Shifts , his first collection, is no less virtuosic than the three novels with which he established a reputation for experimental brilliance in the s. But here Thorpe has acquired an ease and fluency occasionally lacking in the novels. The elegant simplicity of his stories results from a decade of refinement.

Moreover, Thorpe has never abandoned poetry and has published three volumes of verse. It shows in his prose. The collection consists of a dozen pieces, thematically and stylistically linked. All are about or arise from various kinds of work; all are written in the first person. Work, for Thorpe, is not just a matter of occupation, but of occupational hazards. His characters often come to sticky ends in not-so-accidental industrial accidents.

In 'Bodywork' a car obsessive dies mysteriously; in 'Sawmill' a Conradian figure sacrifices his arm to appease an African tree god; in 'Iron' a woman is crippled while sitting on the wrought-iron seat her husband has forged for her.

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