5.0 out of 5 stars The Seasons of Stephen King
This is the first of three books Stephen King has released that contain four novella-length stories. The other two collections are Four Past Midnight and Full Dark, No Stars. Each of the stories is matched loosely to a season of the year.
"Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption" is the story of Andy Dufresne, sent to prison for murdering his wife...
Published 9 months ago by John M. Ford
2.0 out of 5 stars Different season
Interesting stories. Some held my attention better than others. I actually preferred the movie version of shawshank redemption to the book.
Published 5 months ago by carol anne woods
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2.0 out of 5 stars Different season,
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This review is from: Different Seasons (Mass Market Paperback)Interesting stories. Some held my attention better than others. I actually preferred the movie version of shawshank redemption to the book.
5.0 out of 5 stars The Seasons of Stephen King,
This review is from: Different Seasons (Signet) (Kindle Edition)This is the first of three books Stephen King has released that contain four novella-length stories. The other two collections are Four Past Midnight and Full Dark, No Stars. Each of the stories is matched loosely to a season of the year.
"Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption" is the story of Andy Dufresne, sent to prison for murdering his wife and her lover. Andy quickly stops protesting his innocence after learning that "we're all innocent in here." Andy finds ways to make his sentence more bearable and help some of his fellow inmates. This story was made into the film The Shawshank Redemption.
In "Apt Pupil" we learn that the unassuming and reclusive Arthur Denker is really a Nazi war criminal. A neighborhood boy named Todd knows this and blackmails Denker into teaching him how to torture and kill. The authorities bumble around trying to catch both of them. This story was made into the film Apt Pupil.
"The Body" is about four boys who go on an overnight trek to confirm the rumor of a dead body near some train tracks. As they walk, we learn about each of the boys, their town, and the jokes, stories and games of early 1960's childhood. The story was the basis for the film Stand By Me.
"The Breathing Method" is the only story in this collection that has not--as yet--been made into a film. An aging doctor entertains the other guests at an exclusive club with a story about the breathing method he invented that eased the pains of childbirth. His story focuses on a young mother who used the method under difficult circumstances.
All four of these stories are excellent and well worth reading, even by those who have seen one of the associated films. This is Stephen King at the top of his game.
5.0 out of 5 stars Here, there are always stories,
This review is from: Different Seasons (Mass Market Paperback)"Different Seasons" is an electrifying collection of Stephen King 'novellas', stories that fall into that literary twilight zone of being too hefty to be short stores, but also too short to be full novels. It was originally published in 1982, and all four of the stories within were knocked off by King after completion of larger works early in his career. All are stunning reads, consisting of some of the best stuff he's ever done. A linking theme loosely connects things, where each work represents a season of the year both in setting and in tone. Here is each one in a nutshell:
HOPE SPRINGS ETERNAL: RITA HAYWORTH AND SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION
SUMMER OF CORRUPTION: APT PUPIL
FALL FROM INNOCENCE: THE BODY
A WINTER'S TALE: THE BREATHING METHOD
Four incredible stories, by a writer fully flexing his literary muscles. Out of the four, it's usually 'The Breathing Method' that gets the shortest shrift from reviewers. But any King fan will be thrilled by the lingering view it affords curious 249B. Both the club and the story McCarron relates have a beautiful, darkly ominous quality. One really can imagine the hallways behind those heavy wooden doors twisting off forever. But perhaps attendant Stevens was really talking about the great, seemingly endless reads that Stephen King has locked away behind his twisting psyche: "A man could get lost..."
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read This and Tell Me He's Not The Master,
This review is from: Different Seasons (School & Library Binding)I have no patience anymore for people who say, "Stephen King is not much of a writer." How can they say that? Because he is succesful? Because his books sell? Because he has chosen horror (primarily) as his genre? Please read this collection of short works (4 novellas? 4 longish short stories?) and tell me that he is not the master. Yes, he has written some loopy stories at times; yes, he has written books that seem self-undulgent or just plain weird. But if you read these classic scribblings (Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption, The Breathing Method, Apt Pupil, The Body), you will begin to see why Stehpen King is the most successful writer who has ever lived: (success = every book he has ever written is still in print, still on the shelves, and this goes way back to Carrie in 1973-74; he has earned over a billion dollars in sales, not counting film royalties). Read these stories and you will begin to see the first of the two particular talents he has in abundance: humanity. He writes HUMAN characters. He knows PEOPLE. He can put a mirror up to the human condition like the best literary writers. His second talent is that he can and does tell a story. This is how he gets under the literary writers' collective skins and surpasses them and everybody else in the marketplace. In short, he is successful because he has the talent of the literary writers and he has the plot ambition of the popular writers. He's the writer who has it all. All hail, the master! I am proud to be numbered among his fans.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How do you silence a King critic? Give him Different Seasons,
This review is from: Different Seasons (Mass Market Paperback)For all those who doubt the fact that Stephen King is one of the all-time great masters at the craft of writing, there is Different Seasons. If nothing else, the doubters should at least acknowledge King's important contribution to reviving the lost art of the novella. King has always said he would write, whether he ever sold a single book - and I think that is completely true. He didn't write these four novellas with publication in mind; each one was written immediately after the completion of a best-selling novel - and each one just sort of sat there after it was finished. What, after all, can a modern author really do with manuscripts too long to be short stories and too short to be novels? Eventually, the idea came to King to just publish them together, with a title that speaks to the fact that these are not the author's usual blood-dripping, creepy-crawling horror stories. In doing so, he not only gave us four of his most captivating works of fiction, he showed a whole new generation of readers the vast, inherent power of the novella.
Three of these four novellas are even better-known than many of King's best-selling novels - due in no small part to the movie adaptations that followed in their wake. It all started with the film Stand By Me - which was not marketed as an adaptation of a Stephen King work of fiction. This was a smart move, considering some of the weak adaptations of earlier King novels. I can only guess how many impressed moviegoers were shocked to learn that Stand By Me was adapted from King's novella The Body. It's a story of four boys who set off to see a dead body, that of another kid hit by a train; their adventure makes for an extraordinary coming-of-age story. It is, in fact, a story about childhood, founded upon a mysterious event in King's own early days (he supposedly saw a friend hit by a train when he was four years old - but there has always been some question as to whether or not this is true); The Body feels autobiographical, and it truly does recapture the essence of childhood and the maturing process into adolescence. I like to think of The Body as a fantastic warm-up to King's later novel It, which captures the essence of childhood almost perfectly.
Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption gave birth to Shawshank Redemption, the most critically acclaimed and popular of all King movie adaptations. I think the movie is even better than the novella (largely due to Morgan Freeman), but everything that shines in the movie is here in the novella. An innocent man, convicted of killing his wife and her lover, gives new meaning to the term patient resolve - and has a profound effect on some of his fellow prisoners. I think it's the ultimate prison story, as it shows us the good and the bad of prison life and imbues its characters with a humanity rarely seen in prison-based stories. It's just a stellar piece of writing.
Apt Pupil is my favorite, though, and it finally, after years of fits and starts and rumors, was made into a film in 1998. The movie did make some changes to the original storyline, but it was a vastly underrated film that truly embodied the spirit of King's original novella. The most horrible things can oftentimes be the most fascinating. I know I've always been fascinated by everything that took place in the Third Reich. The teenager in the story, though, is obsessed with those atrocities, and that obsession turns into something increasingly disquieting and dangerous when he discovers a former Nazi living under another name in his neighborhood and blackmails him into telling him all the "gooshy" details of his part in the Holocaust. Apt Pupil is one of the most impressive psychological studies of evil I've ever read.
The Breathing Method sort of gets lost in the shuffle. It's shorter than the other novellas and has never been adapted for film. I really like this story, though. It has a classic fireside story feel to it, hearkening back to the likes of Poe, with its mysterious gentlemen's "club" and emphasis on story-telling. The particular story we are privileged to hear about is in some ways rather ridiculous and certainly quite melodramatic - yet it works extremely well. The novella was dedicated to Peter and Susan Straub, and I think it shows the obvious influence of horror maestro Straub from top to bottom (which, to my mind, is a good thing).
The Breathing Method supplies the theme that serves as a sort of mantra for the entire collection: It is the tale, not he who tells it. The story is everything, and the author is sort of a literary midwife who helps the birthing process along. I heartily believe that many a King critic would fawn over Different Seasons if they read it without knowing who wrote it. This book is a perfect introduction for those yet to experience King for themselves - these are, for the most part, mainstream works of fiction that reveal a master storyteller at work.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The proof that Stephen King is a great writer...,
This review is from: Different Seasons (Mass Market Paperback)Different Seasons is perhaps the best Stephen King book with which to initiate the neophyte who says, "He can't be a good writer - he writes HORROR." This is King's first, greatest take on the mainstream. Each of the four offerings could be textbook examples of the perfectly written novella. Not coincidentally, this book has inspired three of his best movie-adaptations.
Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption: Yes, even if you have seen the movie, you should read this. It tells the story of how an innocent man is able to keep hope alive in prison.
Apt Pupil: This, it can be argued, is really a monster story; the monsters however are all too real. A teen-aged boy obsessed with the holocaust discovers his own pet Nazi in the neighborhood.
The Body: The inspiration for the wonderful film Stand by Me, it is a heartbreaking coming-of-age tale and the power of friendship.
The Breathing Method: The book's one true horror story. I won't try to attempt to explain what it is about.
In the Afterward, King commits his worst sin by famously referring to his own work as "the literary equivalent of a Big Mac and a large fries from MacDonald's." Not only does that cut himself short, it is an insult to us, his readers, who think his stuff is pretty darn good. Want proof? Read these stories.
4.0 out of 5 stars Different Seasons,
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This review is from: Different Seasons (Mass Market Paperback)This book is excellent. It was written years ago, and my origional copy was lost. I bought another at Amazon, and re-read it, and enjoyed it just as much as the first time I read it. A terrific read. I recommend it.
4.0 out of 5 stars Four great non-horror King novellas,
This review is from: Different Seasons (Mass Market Paperback)"Different Seasons" is not your typical King horror novel. It is a compilation of 4 novellas (short stories). Three of the stories were eventually made into movies. To my surprise the stories were somewhat different than the movies.
These novellas can best be described as dark philosophical journeys rather than the all-out horror one would expect from King. All of them portray downtrodden, basically good people caught in lousy and depressing lives. With the exception of "Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption" none of them have a happy ending.
Despite the depressing tone of the stories, they kept me entertained and interested in the outcomes. This book is a good read, even though I prefer King's usual horror style over the one he uses here.
4.0 out of 5 stars This Book is A Beautiful Work of Art,
By A Customer
This review is from: Different Seasons (Mass Market Paperback)This book was a wild, and intense ride, and helped me look at things a a very different way. I understood (from the afterword) King's need to write something other than horrer. I myself like to write short horror stories and there's always something there telling me to write a grand fantasy or a bizarre science fiction. The books themselves were each different like the seasons they were named for. Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption, a book about a willfull man named Andy Dufresne who is wrongly put in jail and uses his own mind and sense of self to stay sane and escape. It was one of my favorites. Though some parts were slightly gruesome, it was all in all a hope inspiring, flax golden tale. When you think about it after you read it, it reminds you of flowers blooming and fending off sudden frosts and cold spells, just like the season of spring for which it was named.
The Apt Pupil, my least favorite, is about an adolescent boy who figures out his elderly neighbor is really an old Nazi Death Camp officer and tortures him for his own enjoyment, twisting his own mind, and retwisting the ming of the old man. This story was too long and too intense, just like summer can be. The whole book was like riding a demented roller coaster from Hell. I enjoyed the story sometimes, but sometimes it was just to violent, too demented, or at some points too corrupted. I had to put the book down for a week or two after the old man baked the stray cat in his oven. It was way too sad and mean. I guess I liked it simply because I like horror, but it was just too "icky".
The Body was the best story of them all. It was about four boys who venture far away from home to find the body of another boy their age. It was cool and calming just like fall. Everything in the story was so beautifully detailed. The author constantly said that words diminish the thoughts and sights and sounds you have seen. It is so true. I can't realy explain the reason without diminishing the thought so I won't. The most beautiful part of the story was when Gordon woke up on the morning after they had spent their first night by the railroad tracks. The morning is so sweet and calm, with the birds waking up and singing their morning songs, and the squirrels, and the deer. That was a beauitiful story and I think everybody should read it.
The Breathing Method was...interesting. Everybody says that it was horror and stuff, but even with decapitation, and premonitions of doom, I think this story was more mysterious than just plain scary. It was dark and cold like winter. It is about a man who goes to a bizarre club (for club is the only word one can describe it as) and hears a strange story of a strange birth. I think the most interesting part of the story was the club and the bartender. The club had endless rooms, and when you were alone in it suddenly everything seemed dark and frightening rather than a warm and nice atmosphere it kept when full of people. There were srtange books that existed nowhere else in the world but there, and a strange slithery liquidy bump was heard by the narrator. King leaves the club up to our wild imaginations which lets the story remain unhidden forever. I wonder if King has any ideas about the strange club of his own making. This story was definitely very good.
All in all I would've given this book a five had there not been such graphic parts in The Apt Pupil. I know most people probably won't read this whole review because it is too long, but I think you should anyway. I think that if you are a human and you are capable of reading, you should read Different Seasons. It will change the way you look at the world if nothing else. My last word: May your path be filled with corn syrup (or other sugary substances)
5.0 out of 5 stars Four terrific tales from a master storyteller.,
This review is from: Different Seasons (Mass Market Paperback)If you've never read Stephen King before, this book is an excellent place to start, as it will show you that King is much more than just a "horror" writer. In this book, King has crafted four novellas which provide countless insights into various aspects of life and the human condition. Three of the four stories have been made into movies--you may have seen them and never known they were based on King.
The first novella in the book, "Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption," is clearly the best (it also produced the best movie, The Shawshank Redemption). The premise is simple--a wrongly accused man is sentenced to life imprisonment--but the story itself is rich and enveloping. To say that this engaging, intricately woven tale is heartwarming is somewhat trite, yet the theme of the story, "hope springs eternal," shines through like a beacon.
Also compelling are "The Body" (made into the movie Stand by Me) and "Apt Pupil." Both are coming of age stories which center around young teenage characters, yet the first focuses on triumph, the second on tragedy. The final story, "The Breathing Method," was my least favorite, but it fits with the redemption theme that is interlaced throughout the book; plus, fans of King's forays into horror will get a taste of the macabre here. Whatever your specific preference, you are sure to find a favorite tale in this book.
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Different Seasons by Stephen King (Mass Market Paperback - March 4 2014)
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