Just After Sunset by Stephen King
Stories

67%

18 Critic Reviews

...returns with his first volume of short stories in six years...An uneven collection, but King has plainly had a ball writing these stories.
-Kirkus

Synopsis

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.
 

About Stephen King

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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. Joe Hill is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Heart-Shaped Box and Horns and writes an ongoing comic book series, Locke & Key. He makes lots of noise on Twitter under the handle @joe_hill.
 
Published November 6, 2008 by Scribner. 388 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Horror, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Science Fiction & Fantasy. Fiction
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Critic reviews for Just After Sunset
All: 18 | Positive: 11 | Negative: 7

Kirkus

Below average
on May 20 2010

...returns with his first volume of short stories in six years...An uneven collection, but King has plainly had a ball writing these stories.

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Publishers Weekly

Excellent
on Dec 04 2016

Culled almost entirely from leading mainstream periodicals, these stories are a testament to the literary merits of the well-told macabre tale.

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Guardian

Below average
Reviewed by Chris Ross on Sep 25 2009

All too often, though, a perfectly decent short story gets hijacked by drearily familiar generic conventions: doppelgangers, premonitory dreams, Lovecraftian dark portals in stone circles, a satanic black cat and so on.

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Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Louise France on Nov 15 2008

The short story's taut, unforgiving format is perfect for horror. It is easy to suspend disbelief for 10 or 20 pages. However, what's most surprising about Just After Sunset is that for all King's sinister and wild imaginings, many of the stories are oddly moving...

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Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by M John Harrison on Nov 14 2008

King, like any good pulp writer, is concerned not to let a single reader walk away puzzled. Ambivalence means failure. Sometimes this produces less a short story than a short narrative...

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Guardian

Below average
Reviewed by Chris Ross on Sep 25 2009

All too often, though, a perfectly decent short story gets hijacked by drearily familiar generic conventions: doppelgangers, premonitory dreams, Lovecraftian dark portals in stone circles, a satanic black cat and so on. One would think that some of the horrors (cot death, Alzheimer's, 9/11) are scary enough all by themselves.

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Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by Jean Hannah Edelstein on Sep 05 2009

Established King fans will enjoy these tales, but they're unlikely to enthrall readers who are not yet convinced of his talents.

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Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Louise France on Nov 15 2008

...what's most surprising about Just After Sunset is that for all King's sinister and wild imaginings, many of the stories are oddly moving; some even end with comforting resolution. The trouble is that you have no idea which ones don't.

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Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by M John Harrison on Nov 14 2008

King, like any good pulp writer, is concerned not to let a single reader walk away puzzled. Ambivalence means failure. Sometimes this produces less a short story than a short narrative...

Read Full Review of Just After Sunset: Stories | See more reviews from Guardian

Book Reporter

Good
Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon on Jan 22 2011

Readers won't want to skip over the author’s notes at the end of JUST AFTER SUNSET, in which King explains how each story came to him. His ingenuity makes for fascinating reading --- a kind of dessert after devouring a deliciously disturbing 13-course dinner served up by a master creator.

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AV Club

Above average
Reviewed by Zack Handlen on Nov 12 2008

Sunset's best selections favor pacing over mood, working off structures whose familiarity still leaves room for a few surprises. King hasn't forgotten how to set the hook; it's just that these days, he doesn't always take the time to reel it in.

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AV Club

Above average
Reviewed by Zack Handlen on Nov 12 2008

Sunset's best selections favor pacing over mood, working off structures whose familiarity still leaves room for a few surprises. King hasn't forgotten how to set the hook; it's just that these days, he doesn't always take the time to reel it in.

Read Full Review of Just After Sunset: Stories | See more reviews from AV Club

Tampa Bay Times

Good
Reviewed by Colette Bancroft on Dec 13 2008

The countless fans of King's forays into the supernatural will still find satisfaction here — the collection includes several fine ghost tales and a chilling salute to horror master Arthur Machen's The Great God Pan.

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Strange Horizons

Below average
Reviewed by COLIN HARVEY on Jan 26 2009

It's fascinating that the best stories in Just After Sunset are of intermediate length, as if King needs space to develop his ideas, but needs confinement to prevent them losing their impact or over-spilling into grotesquerie.

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Curled Up

Above average
Reviewed by Bobby Blades on Jan 09 2017

Though all the stories reside within King’s realm, there is variety in style, length and form; supernatural disaster, crime, suspense, and everything in between. There is sure to be more than one that will please even the most ardent King fan.

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Onyx Reviews

Above average
Reviewed by Bev Vincent on Jan 09 2017

The stories range in scope from brief, disturbing studies inspired by dreams or real-world events to novellas inspired by subjects as diverse as portable toilets and overheard arguments.

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https://thebookloversboudoir.wordpress.com

Above average
Reviewed by pamelascott30 on Jun 16 2013

Just After Sunset is a mixed bag of a collection. I thought some stories were great, others were just okay and some were very weak. I enjoyed the collection for some of the better stories but felt disappointed overall.

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https://cssutton.edublogs.org

Good
Reviewed by cssutton on Feb 18 2009

...Stephen King is unashamedly a popular author. He will never win a literature prize. He is happy to write for his readers, meeting them at their own level and carrying them away in the story. This he does very successfully in this collection of 12 stories.

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Reader Rating for Just After Sunset
77%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 573 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


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