Just After Sunset

Posted: November 10, 2008
Category: Books
Just After Sunset is King’s ninth collection and I rank fairly high. It’s definitely among the best and it’s packed with great stories. The stories range from the longer The Gingerbread Girl, written in 2007 to the much older and shorter The Cat from Hell. The 13 stories collected in Just After Sunset is also very different when it comes to the stories themselves. On one side you have the feel good story Ayana and on the other you have the repulsive A Very Tight Place. Personally though I like A Very Tight Place the best…

Of the 13 stories we get in Just After Sunset all but one has been previously published. The only unpublished one is called N. and is about a psychiatrist who inherits an obsession from one of his patients. However, this one was released as an animated series in 25 episodes earlier this fall so I guess you could say it has been published before the book was released as well... It’s nice to get two versions of the same story though.

My favourites in the collection are A Very Tight Place, Graduation Afternoon, Mute, Rest Stop, Harvey’s Dream and The New York Times at Special Bargain Rates. Quite a few I know but what can I say, Just After Sunset is a nice collection with a lot of great stories in it. Graduation Afternoon is as short as it’s good and since it’s one of my favourites you already know it’s a short one… And A Very Tight Place…well, only King could have written that one.

Both Harvey’s Dream and The New York Times at Special Bargain Rates is about strange phone calls and even though Harvey’s Dream has a more open ending they both leaves a lot up to the reader to decide how things are going to end… It’s not like when you feel you are left hanging but more that you pretty much know what happens but also knows that it might not, if that makes any sense.

Mute was originally published in Playboy and then it had two illustrations that got me to draw certain conclusion about the ending. Without them I still come to the same conclusion but if that is because I have already seen the illustrations I don’t know. Both Mute and Rest Stop is quite violent stories.

Ayana and The Things They Left Behind is the books feel-good stories. They both deals with some dark subjects, Ayana with cancer and The Things They Left Behind with 9/11, but King still manages to turn things around and the result are two very nice stories.

The Gingerbread Girl and Stationary Bike are the stories that most people will probably have read already since they have both been previously released as audiobooks. They are also together with N. the books longest stories and because of that also the once with the most developed characters. Both Willa and The Cat from Hell feel like episodes for shows like Twilight Zone and in fact The Cat from Hell has already been filmed and can be found in the movie Tales From The Darkside-The Movie.

Besides the stories themselves the book also has an introduction by King in which he talks about his returning to short stories after editing Best American Short Stories. He also tells us a little about each story and how they came to be in something called Sunset Notes and I have to admit that I really like to hear how a story came to be what it is. Chapters like Sunset Notes should be mandatory in every short story collection if you ask me.

I also got a chance to listen to the audio edition of Just After Sunset and it’s in some cases even better then the real book. Hearing King read Harvey's Dream is pure joy as is Ron McLarty (who can’t go wrong) narrating of both A Very Tight Place and Stationary Bike. It’s also nice to hear N. as it’s more like a play with characters then just a narrated story. All in all we get to hear 10 narrators in the audio edition of Just After Sunset.

Lilja's final words about Just After Sunset:

I like the stories in Just After Sunset there is no doubt about that but if there is one downside to the collection it’s that since all stories have been previously published already it don’t really offers anything new. It’s nice to have all the stories collected don’t get me wrong but still…it would have been nice with a story that I hadn’t already read…

Oh, and please don’t forget to give the audio version a chance. If you don’t usually listen to books, now is the time to start!