Monday, December 1, 2008

Just after Sunset by Stephen King

For a guy who doesn't like short stories I've sure been reading enough of them lately. I picked up a copy of Stephen King's Just after Sunset two weeks ago, just to continue the trend, and found myself once again impressed by King's skill.

There's nothing in this collection that fails to satisfy, even when it falls short of impressive (the exception being the blissfully short, D minus quality Graduation Afternoon).

I found my greatest pleasure in the short but impactful Harvey's Dream, Rest Stop and the wonderfully cheesy The Cat from Hell.

Given a little more room to breathe in other stories, I think King loses his way a bit (but only a bit). Is there anyone who reads about the mural in Stationary Bike and doesn't see what's coming, even if, as I did, they love every word of the text?

Likewise, most readers will be drawn to The Gingerbread Girl, a tale of a woman literally running from both her problems and a killer. It's a compelling story and I enjoyed the heck out of it, but I also found it too derivative of Dean Koontz for my taste. I was half expecting to read about a Golden Retriever, an endangered child, and suffer through a score of ridiculously pompous descriptions :)

I was unexpectedly and powerfully moved by The New York Times at Special Bargain Rates, probably well beyond its true worth. Likewise Mute, is quite a read, combining an eyebrow raising idea with a smooth exectution.

I found The Things they Left Behind a tad dissapointing, but soley because of my own inflated expectatons. As a story about a guilt ridden 9/11 survivor I was anticipating greatness, and instead settled for 'merely' an average story.

A Very Tight Place seems to be garnering a lot of attention, but I don't get it. It's ok, but scary? No. Gimmicky? Yes. But to each his own.

Again, cover to cover a satisfying and mature read. Highly recommended.

3.25 out of 4.


Bridgett said...

I ordered this book a few days ago. Hopefully it will be here soon.

Great review! Thanks!


Beth said...

I'm about halfway through, so I'll come back to this when I'm done.


Beth said...

I'm back! I finally finished it today, and wrote my thoughts on my blog before I read this. I was surprised by our differences on our favorites--"The Things They Left Behind" was my favorite! My second favorite was "N."

We're in agreement on "A Very Tight Place," though. Not bad, but I felt he was working a little too hard for the gross-out. He's always better when he goes for subtlety.