Just After Sunset: Stories
5 journalers for this copy...
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 "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.
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Adding to Carlissa's Audio CD bookbox.
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Decided not to keep this one after all.
Putting back into carlissa's Audio CD Bookbox!
Willa- A "life after death" sort of story where many of the ghosts are in denial and reality shifts and changes based on the characters' points of view. Uses some pretty obvious metaphors, but it was still an enjoyable and kind of nice. There's a bit of romance, some supernatural speculation, and a lot to think about.
The Gingerbread Girl- A woman sees something she shouldn't and spends an entire story trying to escape from the bad guy who, naturally, has one fatal flaw she discovers and uses to her advantage... after a lot of running. This is what I don't like about horror: the scary suspense and danger and drawn out terror. But what I do like about horror: the bad guy gets it in the end! The final scene made all the running and boring descriptions of escape worth getting through. Here's what I thought when I read it the first time: http://katekintailbc.livejournal.com/169641.html
Harvey's Dream- A twist on the typical dream sequence with a twist that made me smile and feel sad at the same time. Enjoyable and a little bit creepy. Definitely made me shiver at the end.
Rest Stop- Oh dear. I'm not one for conflict, and the basis of this story is a man overhearing a couple fighting in an adjoining rest stop restroom. So this made me feel uncomfortable. And the graphic descriptions that followed made me a little sick.
Stationary Bike- I'd earread this as a standalone as well. I just bought a stationary bike for my post-hip surgery PT. I don't like it, but I do flash on this story every time I ride it. Oops! Here's what I thought when I read it the first time: http://katekintailbc.livejournal.com/16739.html
The Things They Left Behind- This was my second-favorite story in this anthology. A man has survivor's guilt after 9-11 because his coworkers died and he did not. Then objects belonging to his coworkers start appearing in his apartment. He tries to get rid of them but the only thing that works is to track down the victims' families and give the objects away. It's a beautiful, supernatural way of exploring human nature, emotion, and healing.
Graduation Afternoon- This one went so quickly I actually had to listen to it twice because I thought I'd missed something. But ending a graduation celebration with an a-bomb is pretty terrifying in and of itself.
N.- I LOVED THIS STORY! A therapist makes notes about his OCD patient, trying to figure him out. Finally, N. tells about his problem: things from another dimension trying to break through into our world and the only reason he even realized it was happening was that he happened to notice out of the corner of his eye that the number of stones had changed. And if he kept counting, they kept the evil beasts at bay. Then that isn't enough. He has to count shoes of people he passes or touch things. It sounds a bit crazy but, hey, it's a Stephen King story so you have to believe it. What I didn't see coming is that N. kills himself and leaves an apology letter to his therapist who... well... he resist for a while but he's kind of curious so he drives out to the stones and counts them... and suddenly gets obsessed as well. And it spirals out of control, just like N.'s obsession. I love the mix of OCD and supernatural and the slow way it comes about in this story makes it feel natural and understandable. There were some clever twists I didn't see coming. I could identify with the characters, because I felt like I was right in their heads the whole time. And, thus, scared along with them.
The Cat from Hell- I did not love this story. I like cats a lot. And the idea of a hellish cat who kills people is fascinating. I love the idea of a cat getting revenge on someone who's done medical experiments on cats. And I love the idea of a hitman being hired to get rid of the demon cat. But I did not love the graphic way the cat disposes of his victim in this story. It went way too far for me to 1-believe and 2-enjoy. Ick.
The New York Times at Special Bargain Rates- Awww. A phone call from beyond the grave that ends up saving her life. Possibly my third-favorite story in the collection. It was bittersweet that the widow gets to speak with her husband one last time, two days after he died in an airplane crash. But the fact that time moves differently in the afterlife and information he gives her helps her avoid a sudden death soon after sent chills up my spine. Not complicated by any means, but full of emotion, this story.
Mute- This one was super creepy and kind of neat at the same time. A guy picks up a hitchhiker who is deaf & mute. He ends up telling the guy all about his life on the road as well as his wife back home who seems to hate him, gambles, embezzles, drinks, sleeps around, and does other seedy things. When he stops to use a bathroom, the hitchhiker vanishes and guess who ends up dead a few days later? The wife and her lover. It was clever and satisfying... but what I really liked was that this was all told as a sort of confession to a priest and that aspect--of what guilt he's supposed to have about this--was an interesting element on top of the story to make it a little more complex.
Ayana- A man's father is dying of cancer when he gets a visit from some strange people, one of whom touches him. Not long after, he's visited by a man who takes him around. Turns out that his kiss heals the sick. It's a strange way of looking at miracles, life & death struggles, and what all of that means in the context of a story and philosophically.
A Very Tight Place- EW EW EW EW EW. This story was disgusting. A man's dog died by being electrocuted in his crazy neighbor's fence, which is bad enough. But his crazy neighbor blames him for everything that's gone wrong in his life and locks him in a port-a-potty. Then he tips it over so it's face-down and the man can't get out. And everything in the thing is all over and just when you think it's as bad as it will get, it gets worse and worse and SO MUCH WORSE. Stephen King likes grossing people out with beautifully detailed descriptions, and this was one of the worst for that I'd ever read. OMG so much crap. Literally. DISGUSTING. And on top of that, I'm an emetophobe and the main character likes to make himself throw up and then has to do so later because of the situation. There's a lot of v-ing and there were some scenes I had to turn the sound down completely for a while to get through. I liked the resourcefulness of the main character and had to see him through. The ending was great and satisfying. But the details were just disgusting. I hated this story.
So, quite a mix! In all, possibly not his best short story collection, but there were enough good stories in here to balance out the weaker ones and ones I didn't care much for. So I am definitely glad I read it... even if I might have nightmares for a few nights because of it...
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