Just After Sunset
By Stephen King
(Pocket Books, Mass Market Paperback, 9781416586654, 576pp.)
Publication Date: September 22, 2009
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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.
Stephen King is the author of more than fifty books, all of them worldwide bestsellers. His novel 11/22/63 was named a top ten book of 2011 by The New York Times Book Review and won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Mystery/Thriller as well as the Best Hardcover Book Award from the International Thriller Writers Association. He is the recipient of the 2003 National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. He lives in Bangor, Maine, with his wife, novelist Tabitha King.
-- Carol Memmott, USA Today
"King is as sharp and versatile as ever." -- Erica Noonan, Boston Globe
"Quietly dazzling." -- Ted Anthony, Associated Press
"King continues to be dedicated to giving his readers a luxuriant experience, the basic pleasure of getting lost in a book." -- Charles Taylor, New York Times Book Review
"King lets the reader put the book down at night after one story, knowing another horrific treat awaits the next day." -- Amanda St. Amand, St. Louis Post Dispatch
"King is as sharp and disgusting as ever... Haunting." -- People magazine
"King reminds us again of his power to unhinge with a single line or image. A master of the storytelling craft, he gets his ghastly fingernails right beneath the skin." -- John Marks, Salon.com
"In these 13 newly collected stories, we see a master craftsman at the top of his game and clearly enjoying himself.... Each story is a treat not just for King fans but for any fan of good fiction." -- Salem Macknee, Charlotte Observer
"A master storyteller... Haunting." -- Karen Sandstrom, Cleveland Plain Dealer