by Stephen King
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The Mist / 978-0-451-22329-6
I'll admit that I saw that movie (The Mist) before I read this book, and while I wanted very badly to enjoy the movie, I'll admit that the sheer amount of time devoted to the shrill Mrs. Carmody and her extensively-long sermons was a bit of a turn off for me. Thankfully, the source novella is just as devoted to the "humans are monsters" theme but with less of the "here, let me quote all of Revelations to you, no really, I don't mind" speechifying.
This novella actually made me appreciate the movie spin-off a little more; I was struck by how closely the movie dialogue aligned with the book in most cases (minus the aforementioned speeches, which are thankfully much shorter in the book - never let it be said that King didn't use restraint here), most of which is surprisingly well-written and works well to characterize the individuals who are almost immediately trapped in the grocery store when the titular mist descends. The descriptions are superb and manage to be very vivid while still leaving room in the imagination to make the monsters as scary as possible. And - unexpectedly - there's some extra explanations offered here, like why the characters are (relatively) safe in cars and closed markets, something that always bothered me about the movie.
"The Mist" isn't perfect - the narrative is something of the "to whoever finds this note" format (which I never find completely convincing), the romantic subplot feels a little forced and inauthentic, and there are actually a few good scenes added to the movie that King himself wished had been in the original novella - but it's a quick and frighteningly good read, and well worth your time. If you think the idea of a scary mist that covers your town and contains Lovecraftian horrors sounds even the slightest bit interesting, then pick up "The Mist" (or the collection "Skeleton Crew") because you will enjoy this.
~ Ana Mardoll
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