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Read: “Premium Harmony” by Stephen King

We’ve heard that nobody reads anymore. In fact, during his reading at this year’s New Yorker Festival, Gary Shteyngart described his upcoming novel as a view of a futuristic, totally illiterate New York — “So, next Tuesday,” he quipped. Ouch. Here at Flavorpill, we know that a healthy dose of legitimate literature is essential to offset all the tweeting and Facebooking we do every day, so fight the good fight and read something. Stephen King’s new short story, “Premium Harmony,” for example.

The story revolves around an unhappy couple’s disastrous trip to the Quik-Pik to buy a kickball for their niece. The husband, Ray, is irredeemable in his cruelty to his Little Debbie-addicted wife, but it’s a testament to the writing that, hate the protagonist as we may, his callousness still elicits our guilty smirks.

“I’ll just dash in and get the ball and dash right back out.”
At two hundred pounds, Ray thinks, your dashing days are over.

As always, King’s writing is wry and darkly funny, and his legacy as a horror writer is evident in tone if not in content – there are no supernatural events or even murders (though there is a death or two), but somehow we still feel unsettled the whole way through. Maybe some of it has to do with the setting of Castle Rock, King’s disturbing and much-abused fictional town, or maybe it rests on King’s morbid sense of humor — Ray’s wife drops dead in the Quik-Pik and all Ray can think about is whether that means he can sob the cashier girl into his bed. Either way, the story is definitely worth a read, if only to stave off illiteracy for one more day.

Read the full story here.

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