JENNIFER PLATT | Don’t fast-forward past the foreword or you may miss a gem

There are forewords and there are forewords, but either way, they’re worth reading

19 May 2021 - 20:00 By jennifer platt

Do you read the foreword to a book? They’re something I often skipped, only getting to if I finished an impressive offering or if it was written by someone who particularly interested me. I always read the preface and introduction, as they seem important to understanding what the book is about, but the foreword always seemed like a nice to have. 

However, I’ll read a foreword by Stephen King any day. He is one of the few authors who write their own and he is pretty darn good at it. My favourite is that of his 1978 collection of stories, Night Shift. He starts: “Let’s talk, you and I. Let’s talk about fear.” King goes on: “When you read horror, you don’t really believe what you read. You don’t believe in vampires, werewolves, trucks that suddenly start up and drive themselves. The horrors that we all do believe in are of the sort that Dostoyevsky and Albee and MacDonald write about: hate, alienation, growing lovelessly old, tottering out into a hostile world on the unsteady legs of adolescence. We are, in our real everyday worlds, often like the masks of Comedy and Tragedy, grinning on the outside, grimacing on the inside. There’s a central switching point somewhere inside, a transformer, maybe, where the wires leading from those two masks connect. And that is the place where the horror story so often hits home.”..

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