1922 Book Review

“1922 was inspired by a nonfiction book called Wisconsin Death Trip (1973) written by Michael Lesy and featuring photographs taken in the small city of Black River Falls, Wisconsin. I was impressed by the rural isolation of these photographs, and the harshness and deprivation in the faces of many of the subjects. I wanted to get that feeling in my story.”-SK

1922  is one creepy fucking story. This was the lead off story and perhaps the most engrossing of the four in Full Dark, No Stars. The story is told in first person by Wilfred James, the narrator and the man that with the help of his young son, murdered his wife and tossed her body into a well.


Blue Ribbon Award-Winning Story

The story is a confession by James about what he had done in 1922 and how it has driven him crazy in the end. This story had several disturbing scenes for me but none tenser than when Wilfred James and his son went into his wife’s bedroom to murder her. That scene was gory and scary.

Let me not forget her corpse getting 1922out of the well and coming back into the house later on…classic King. Here’s the situational question with this story: would we kill to keep our home? Wilfred did but in the end it cost him everything.


1)   1922 works because King successfully places us back in time. He does this time traveling seamlessly without us even noticing that we’re back in the old days. His descriptions of vehicles of times past and farm life come off as authentic like he was there writing down his observations to give to us, the reader

2)   1922 works because of the total destruction of the James family. Not only does Wilfred not get along with his over bearing wife, he murders her and tosses her body in the family well out back. Their son eventually breaks underneath the weight of what happened to his mother and his part in it and runs away from home apparently on a robbing spree to keep he and his girlfriend going. Wilfred himself eventually breaks down along the way.

3)   1922 works because this book has some really cool and grotesque scenes in it. The part where Wilfred and his son kill Arlette in their bedroom was wickedly twisted. Also don’t forget the entire scene where she is dragged out of the house in the night and thrown down the well to hide her corpse.

4)   1922 works because one night Wilfred’s dead and rat-riddled wife escapes the well and enters into the farmhouse. She tells him the future of his life and their son’s. Turns out she was right in her prophecy from beyond the grave.

5)   1922 works because Wilfred ends up selling the house and land that he murdered his wife for. I thought that this was a huge piece of irony written by King that we find peppered throughout his work. Wilfred lost everything and for what? To be eaten by rats at the end of the story all alone in a hotel room in Omaha? Great King story.


1922 is a disturbing place to go- 5/5 (Certifiable Classic)


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