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If It Bleeds Hardcover – April 20, 2020
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—Brian Truitt, USA Today
“IF IT BLEEDS contains four new, exceptionally compelling novellas that reaffirm [King’s] mastery of the form...the mid-length narrative suits his talents particularly well, permitting a degree of expansiveness while maintaining a controlled, disciplined approach to the material at hand. The results are stories that cover a surprising amount of emotional territory but can still be read in a sitting...a collection filled with startling, sometimes unsettling pleasures. In IF IT BLEEDS, King continues to draw from a rich and varied reservoir of stories. At its best, his work remains deeply empathetic and compulsively readable. May the reservoir never run dry.”
—William Sheehan, The Washington Post
“[These stories] — about the seductions and corruptions of technology, the extremes of beauty and depravity in even the most ordinary life, the workings of a universe we can never entirely understand — were somehow exactly what I wanted to read right now... ‘The Life of Chuck’ is one of the oddest, most affecting stories I have read in a very long time...As sirens blare outside my Brooklyn window and the headlines grow more apocalyptic by the day, I might start working my way through King’s backlist. He’s good company in the dark.”
—Ruth Franklin, The New York Times Book Review
"While this story collection had been percolating inside of Mr. King for years prior to its release, it is striking — sometimes eerily so — how necessary these stories feel today. 'If It Bleeds' continues the increasingly optimistic bent the author has displayed over the past decade, while still bearing those nightmarish touches at which he excels. When so much is uncertain, there’s no small amount of comfort to be found in these tales — and right now, comfort, in whatever form we can find it, is what we all need."
—Wendeline O. Wright, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
"There’s an oddly meta quality to reading Stephen King’s new collection, IF IT BLEEDS, in the era of COVID-19. In addition to the expected supernatural horror themes, the four novellas are undergirded, to great effect, with more earthbound fears: the uncertainty of old age and approaching death; the vampiric nature of the 24-hour news cycle feeding the public’s appetite for pain and disaster; the claustrophobia of being alone and ill during isolating weather; signs of the end times that would be disturbingly recognizable to even the most committed optimist...The jewel in the crown of IF IT BLEEDS, however, is the titular novella...King's choice to have an Outsider masquerading as a television reporter makes for an adroit vehicle to showcase the trite nature of evil."
—Michael Rowe, The Boston Globe
“When you’re stuck at home needing fresh reading material...“If It Bleeds” will hit the mark.”
—St. Louis Post-Dispatch
"King's four new novellas might be bite-sized, but they still shine with his brilliant ability to tingle our spines...King's genius is to temper his forays into the dark side of life with a sense of wonder about the world.”
“Suspenseful and chilling…This set of novellas is thought-provoking, terrifying, and, at times, outright charming, showcasing King’s breadth as a master storyteller…a powerful addition to his megapopular oeuvre.”
—Booklist, STARRED review
“The four never-before-published novellas in this collection represent horror master King at his finest, using the weird and uncanny to riff on mortality, the price of creativity, and the unpredictable consequences of material attachments...profoundly moving...King clearly loves his characters, and the care with which he develops their personalities draws the reader ineluctably into their deeply unsettling experiences. This excellent collection delivers exactly the kind of bravura storytelling King’s readers expect."
—Publishers Weekly, STARRED review
“The master returns.”
—Kirkus Reviews, STARRED review
About the Author
- Item Weight : 1.6 pounds
- Hardcover : 448 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1982137975
- ISBN-13 : 978-1982137977
- Product Dimensions : 6.13 x 1.4 x 9.25 inches
- Publisher : Scribner (April 20, 2020)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #735 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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"Mr. Harrigan's Phone"-King is a master of reflective stories, especially those that begin in childhood. Craig, this story's narrator and protagonist, is immensely likable, and his relationship with Mr. Harrigan, the titular character, is very well-developed.
"The Life of Chuck"-I found this one a little hard to get into, as at first it felt a little too familiar. King has written more than a few takes on cataclysmic events, and while I've mostly enjoyed them, I wasn't sure that this one was going to be one of the best. However, the story soon introduced an interesting mystery, and soon after I realized that this story was not at all what I'd assumed. With an atypical structure and ideas that become more interesting and meaningful with each page, this ended up being my favorite of the four.
"If It Bleeds"-Fans of the Bill Hodges Trilogy and The Outsider will be pleased, as I was, at the return of Holly Gibney. The story has all the elements that made those novels great, and really develops Holly's character along with her investigation. If you haven't read those novels, you might not enjoy it as much, although King made a strong effort to provide context. It also has some spoilers for the previous books, especially The Outsider.
"Rat"-King has done a lot of writing about writing, but that doesn't mean there's nothing left to say. Once again, he takes us inside the mind and experiences of an author, and once again it results in a solid character and an interesting story. I didn't like this one quite as much as the other three, and would have liked to see a little more plot development, but I still thoroughly enjoyed the story.
There are obligatory digs at the president in all 4 stories; I guess he’s just rattling around in the authors head driving him crazy.
There is a good preview of what might be season two of “The Outsider“ in another Holly Gibney story. Unfortunately there is now quite a difference between the written character and the character as portrayed on the HBO series. I prefer the character as portrayed on the TV series although I did enjoy this story which is the only thing which saved the book from a 2 star review.
Detective Holly Gibney is my favorite Stephen King characters. She is that rare breed, a totally likable person, who gets into horrific messes. As a King fan, I am not into the sci-fi up yonder dudes.
In Stephen Kings new book, If It Bleeds, we have 4 novellas. A novella is a very short book, or a very long short story. Mr Harrigan’s Phone is a fun theme about the technological field. It tells the story of a boy Craig and Mr John Harrington. Craig did odd jobs for Mr Harrington, and Mr Harrington liked having him around. Craig received lottery cards from Mr Harrington, and won Some cash. In return he gave Mr Harrington an iPhone, and we see the results. The Life of Chuck is written in 3 acts, and tells the story of Chuck in reverse. It is funny at times, and will keep us entertained. Rat is the dark side of the novellas. It centers on a writer, Drew Larson who can’t seem to finish a novel, and then the troubles really begin.The fourth novella
Is If It Bleeds. This is my favorite novella, featuring Detective Holly Gibney, and she is tracking down a monster that few believe she can tackle.
Stephen King rarely disappoints, and this book hits the spot for me. It is silly to say he is a great writer because we all agree. His way with words, the characters he conjures in his imagination, the use of novellas to fulfill his needs as a writer gives us the penultimate read.
Recommended. prisrob 04-22-2020
That said, these are four solid stories. King's a consummate storyteller, and each is an entirely different kind of story. There's something for everyone, and these shorter stories (novellas, actually) take up far less time than one of his long novels, which are a major investment in time.
Longtime King fans will appreciate the reappearance of Holly Gibney, one of King's most interesting characters. She was in the Bill Hodges trilogy, and OUTSIDER, and now this collection. I'm sure we haven't seen the last of her.
from: All Things Serve the Beam
Top reviews from other countries
If It Bleeds is a collection of four novellas. I'll put it up front, for me, it isn't up there with Different Seasons, but I enjoyed it more than Four Past Midnight - both previous quartets.
First and foremost King's writing seems as effortless as always and the comfort from settling down with any new King book is one of life's pleasures for me.
Going through the stories briefly - Mr Harrigan's Phone is one of those King tales about a young boy on the cusp of growing up and is as much about him as it is about the hook of the tale. Here that hook is a mobile phone given to an elderly, wealthy and somewhat eccentric man the boy reads to. It's a cross between a Twilight Zone episode and that old song Hello, This is Joanie. It's fun, creepy and, one of those King stories where no explanation or resolution is given for what occurs.
The Life of Chuck - the most 'experimental' of the four stories: a life told in reverse. King explains he wrote the three acts as separate vignettes originally and then put them together. It is for the most part a slice of life. A 'straight' fictional narrative about an every man, with a sprinkling of 'strange' over it. I didn't quite get the 'strange', I'll have to admit, and in his afterword King seems to say that he doesn't really expect everyone to. The character descriptions are vintage King - small sketches of multiple players that are fascinating to read. As a bizarre reference the background coda reminded me of an '80s movie The Coca Cola Kid - you're reading/ seeing a straight forward story, then there's something much bigger at play. No spoilers though.
If It Bleeds- a sequel to The Outsider and featuring Holly Gibney, a character who featured in both that, and the Bill Hodges story. This is definitely sequel material to the former more than the latter and is the right length: I'm glad it appeared in this format and not a full length novel: it's strong here, as a novel it would have been a bit too similar to its' predecessor. For those who read the Hodges series the cast will be familiar, and it's nice to see the Holly character developed some more: she definitely deserves a novel, and hopefully this is a precursor to it.
Lastly, The Rat - and we're in more familiar King territory: a writer retreats to his dead father's cabin to try and write a book. Isolated, with a storm coming in and a cold or something worse coming on.
There are similarities between the first and last stories - both a touch of Monkey's Paw/ pact about them. It's probably the case that both could have been written as much shorter stories in terms of the ideas behind them, whereas the middle two really had to be the length they were. It's not a criticism- as I said up top I am happy to read as many words as King wants to write, it's simply that both are ideas that are familiar to King readers (in the first, King's interest in writing about tech as a mcguffin- he's done it with word processessors, e-book readers, tvs, and here a retro view of mobiles, in the second a 'writer' story which is old stomping ground after Misery, Bag of Bones, Secret Window...etc - but hey, if I want anyone to tell me about writing, it's someone who's as masterful at it as King).
I didn't think there was any one story that was as stand out as some of King's best novellas such as The Body, Rita Hayworth, The Mist, Apt Pupil or even a Dolan's Cadillac but in times of uncertainty as we have today, it's good to know the quality of King's writing is as dependable as ever.
On a seperate note, I think we ( the constant readers) can all agree we're sick of SK's snarky political commentary and personal views seeping into his stories. We get it - you hate Trump. But guess what, voting Trump or anyone else for that matter doesnt entitle you to berate them at every turn. Its been almost four years - get over it. In fact, close your twitter account and put a little effort into your writing!
Without giving too much away Holly Gibney is the star of one of the stories. I'm so glad that Holly was revisited and hope to revisit her again in other stories one day.
Not a very long book of stories, about 5 hours give or take but loved every minute it. Another great instalment from Stephen King 😊.