A stunning collection from international bestseller Stephen King that displays his phenomenally broad readership (stories published in The New Yorker, Playboy,and McSweeney’s and including the 25,000 word story “Gingerbread Girl” published in Esquire).
Stephen King—who has written more than fifty books, dozens of number one New York Times bestsellers, and many unforgettable movies—delivers an astonishing collection of short stories, his first since Everything’s Eventual six years ago. As guest editor of the bestselling Best American Short Stories 2007, King spent over a year reading hundreds of stories. His renewed passion for the form is evident on every page of Just After Sunset. The stories in this collection have appeared in The New Yorker, Playboy, McSweeney’s, The Paris Review, Esquire, and other publications.
Who but Stephen King would turn a Port-O-San into a slimy birth canal, or a roadside honky-tonk into a place for endless love? A book salesman with a grievance might pick up a mute hitchhiker, not knowing the silent man in the passenger seat listens altogether too well. Or an exercise routine on a stationary bicycle, begun to reduce bad cholesterol, might take its rider on a captivating—and then terrifying—journey. Set on a remote key in Florida, “The Gingerbread Girl” is a riveting tale featuring a young woman as vulnerable—and resourceful—as Audrey Hepburn’s character in Wait Until Dark. In “Ayana,” a blind girl works a miracle with a kiss and the touch of her hand. For King, the line between the living and the dead is often blurry, and the seams that hold our reality intact might tear apart at any moment. In one of the longer stories here, “N.,” which recently broke new ground when it was adapted as a graphic digital entertainment, a psychiatric patient’s irrational thinking might create an apocalyptic threat in the Maine countryside...or keep the world from falling victim to it.
Just After Sunset—call it dusk, call it twilight, it’s a time when human intercourse takes on an unnatural cast, when nothing is quite as it appears, when the imagination begins to reach for shadows as they dissipate to darkness and living daylight can be scared right out of you. It’s the perfect time for Stephen King.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
First, I'm an avid Stephen King fan. I'm pretty sure I've read all of his books but I don't think I can say I've read every word he's written....but I have to be close. After reading Just After Sunset, I'm convinced that King's true talent lies in the short story/novella sphere. He is a master at developing stories and characters quickly and like a spider can spin his web with perfection. His novels, all of them, are worth reading. You won't be sorry having invested the time with any of them, but his true masterpieces are in his collections of short stories and novellas.
Just after Sunset is comprised of 13 stories, many published previously. For example, The Cat From Hell was originally published in 1977. King displayed, even then, his willingness to experiment with publishing. Originally, only the first 500 words of Cat From Hell were published in Cavalier. Readers were invited to finish the story and the completed work was published later the same year. The...
Although I have never been an advocate of the view that Stephen King was losing his touch, this collection seems to offer a version of King with so much energy and creativity that some of his more recent works pale in comparison. It is an intense and generous sampler of short fiction that truly shows King at his best, whether you consider his best to be his horror or his more mainstream work.
"Willa," which provides a quiet, understated opener to the collection, is suspenseful, eerie, and creative. It also, in my opinion, offers a rather unique solution to what I will admit is one of King's problems: crafting realistic modern dialogue for his younger characters. (A problems that he seems to have largely eliminated in this collection, by the way, with the exception of his creative use of it here.) "Harvey's Dream" is also quiet. I found it far more unsettling than "Willa," however, as its depiction of ordinary marital unhappiness--already frightening, given its monotony...
I'm a bit surprised - disappointed even - in the rather mediocre average review score for Stephen King's anthology, "Just After Sunset." While this collection of short stories is not steeped in the sensational terror and gore of King's earlier works (most of which I thought were terrific), "Sunset" reflects a more mature King - the master of words relying less on horror and more on the subtleties of ordinary people in extraordinary situations. I always found King a keen observer of culture and society - one of the best at capturing the most mundane details of ordinary life, and in King's case, weaving them into a dark fabric of fear that lures one from the familiarity of (a pet, a car, and friendly neighbor...) into unsettled and disturbing worlds, and epic battles of good vs. malevolence. All of which are reflected in this baker's dozen of darkness - twelve new and the "bonus" of "The Cat from Hell" - an early King tale that made it to the big screen in the 1990 movie "Tales from...
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