Updated: Dec 28, 2019
"Murder is sin. Murder is damnation. Surely of one's own mind and spirit, even if the atheists are right and there is no afterlife. But murder is also work."
Wilfred James sits down to write a letter confessing to the murder of his wife, Arletta. The letter details the events leading up to her murder, and how he manipulated their 14-year-old son Henry into helping commit the crime. But Arletta's death has unforeseen consequences for both father and son.
I have been wanting to watch the Netflix adaptation of 1922 for a while but decided to read the novella first. I ended up downloading the audiobook, and while I didn't care much for the narrator, the story itself was entertaining and disturbing enough that the narration didn't put me off. There are some obvious comparisons to Edgar Allan Poe's The Tell-Tale Heart, and that is definitely a compliment. Are the supernatural events that begin to occur after Arlette's death really happening or has the guilt of murdering his wife triggered a slow descent into madness?
The consequences of Arletta's murder spread beyond Wilfred's farm and begin to meticulously destroy everything remaining in his life. It's a gruesome book with some unpleasant moments not only during Arletta's death but with the farm animals and... the rats. So. Many. Rats. 1922 also felt very reminiscent of "classic" King to me in both how he wrote the characters to how he built the terror and tension until the very end. Also, I may or may not have squee'd out loud when I heard the reference to Hemingford Home (wassup, Mother Abagail!).
As much as people say King can't write a proper ending, I *loved* the ending to 1922. Haunting and disturbing and just perfect.
Definitely a 4.5/5!