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Different Seasons: Four Novellas (No Series) Paperback – March 29, 2016
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"To find the secret of his success, you have to compare King to Twain and Poe, with a generous dash of Philip Roth and Will Rogers thrown in for popular measure. King’s stories tap the roots of myth buried in all our minds.", Los Angeles Times
"Buy Different Seasons. I promise you’ll enjoy it… King creates people who are so alive, you can almost sense them.", Minneapolis Star-Tribune
"The wondrous readability of his work, as well as the instant sense of communication with his characters, are what make King the consummate storyteller that he is.", Houston Chronicle
"Riveting, irresistible… a zestful delight to read.", Los Angeles Herald Examiner
"Fast-paced page turners…an unqualified success.", People
"Clever and triumphant... Stephen King remains a master.", The New York Times
"Cause for rejoicing.", Washington Post Book World
"Ok, let’s face it, the man is good…wondrous reading.", Denver Post
"No demons chortle from the closet, no vampires droll beneath the moon. Instead King’s ragged claws reach from ambush into the wholesome light of daily life--what could be more frightening than that?", Cosmopolitan
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I enjoyed all 4 novellas, but will rate them separately and I can't help but compare them to the movies.
1. Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption: This was a suspenseful, brilliantly written story. The novella and the movie align almost exactly, with the story having more details. I loved the movie and the book and give it 5 stars.
2. Apt Pupil: The story differed from the movie and was definitely darker and contained more violence, which is not surprising. I would give the story 4 stars as I didn't find it as entertaining as the others.
3. The Body: This is the story on which the movie Stand By Me was based. I loved the movie and I love the story. The story definitely provide much more detail and it differs from the book in some significant ways. I give this story 5 stars.
4. The Breathing Method: There is no movie for this one and I'm not surprised. The material just doesn't seem to be suitable to being made into a movie. There is a long lead up describing the life of a man and how he is invited to a club by his boss. In the end the club has some magical qualities which are never expanded upon. The focus is on a story told by a character in the story which is interesting and ends with a nice supernatural twist. I would give this story 4 stars.
This is a collection of four different novellas, and I don’t think that they all deserve 5 out of 5 star ratings, but I think that the first, Hope Springs Eternal, Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption, is worthy of that rating, and makes the entire collection worth buying. Overall, this is a superbly written tome, with different subject matters and storytelling styles… the characters are thoroughly compelling (three of these have been turned into movies, some of which were Oscar-nominated), and the writing is somehow both crisp and evocative.
Four seasons, four novellas is the basic premise of this collection.
Spring: Hope Springs Eternal, Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption (the basis of the movie The Shawshank Redemption): Easily my favorite in the collection (and one of my favorite movies as well — incidentally, the movie did a wonderful job translating this off the page, with just a couple key creative license-type diversions). We’ve got Andy, the honest man who only becomes a criminal after entering prison; Red (who’s actually Irish in the book, hence the nickname), the guy who knows how to get things; and their gang of friends trying to make it through day after day, year after year. The story has a darker feel (compared to the movie), but unfolds very believably, with an ending that’s just a tiny bit different than the one in the movie…
Summer: Summer of Corruption, Apt Pupil (made into the movie by the same name): a disturbing portrayal of a young boy who’s obsessed with Hitler and the Nazi regime as a whole. It’s actually kind of a horrifying and horrifyingly mesmerizing read, though slow on the action for much of the book — it’s the kind of portrayal that makes you think people are much darker than you might think, and has you questioning that perfect Boy Scout neighbor from next door. From a story perspective, it was spooky, but there was less character development and more just… wow, kind of creepy kid who’s really obsessed with dark, dark themes…
Fall: Fall from Innocence: The Body (made into the movie Stand by Me): Kind of a growing up story about four twelve year-old boys who were trying to find the body of a missing boy. It doesn’t have the same climax as the other stories, but is a well-written coming of age story, with a lot of well-written prose showcasing childhood friendships, all set in the heart of rural America.
Winter: A Winter’s Tale: Breathing Method: I can’t say much about this one. I don’t often read horror, it gives me nightmares, and I did a very loose skim of it, just to say that I had read it. I think it’s probably good, for horror? Since that’s King’s main fare?
Comparisons to Other Authors/Books:
First, you really, really should not be comparing three out of four of these novellas to to the more mainstream Stephen King novels. I think King’s a talented writer, but there’s a big difference between his horror stories (and even his fantasy) and this particular novel, which I think lives more firmly in the “literary fiction” realm. From a lit fic point of view, I feel like some of the story and setting elements remind me of Richard Russo (who has a lot of stories where the setting/town is almost part of the action), and the coming of age parts remind me of various Tobias Wolff short stories.
Top international reviews
I was keen to read Shawshank Redemption and Apt Pupil. Both of which I have enjoyed the movies of.
I found Shawshank to have a much more emotional depth regarding the bond between the two central characters. Also Apt Pupil was far far more sinister than the movie.
Although i am torn to pic a favourite it would have to be Apt Pupil or The Breathing Method. Both left me reeling and in deep thought, for very different reasons.
A huge 5* and Stephen King remains a writing hero of mine.
As to the content of the book itself ... the 4 stories that form the book are some of Stephen King's finest and most underrated work. Three of the stories became major motion pictures, but yet very few seem to realise that they were Stephen King novellas.
A break away from the norm with these short stories/novellas.
Shawshank, every man and his dog must have seen this film, the book is an even more compelling read.
The body, a great tale of friendship and nostalga. Great read again. I think Stephen king writes the views of youngsters in a fantastic fashion. [It is a classic example, another must have by the way]
Apt pupil. Didn't really fancy this one. Ended up reading it in a day. Intriguing.
The breathing method. Loved it. The only real supernatural story in the set but well worth a crack.
I really liked all of the stories.
Initially I thought there was going to be a link between them to tie them all together, but apart from a vague link between two, each one was a fascinating story in its own right.
They each give an insight into aspects of human nature, both good and bad.