Sunday, January 19, 2014

{Audiobook} Review: Just after Sunset

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Just after Sunset 

by Stephen King

Original Publication date: 03 September 2009
Genre: Short Story Collection, Speculative Fiction
Source: my own copy
Date Read: 19 January 2014
Narrator: Various
Length: 15 hours 11 minutes 

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.

My thoughts:
This unabridged audio version of the short stories of Stephen King made for a enjoyable few hours. Not all of the stories was a hit for me and some just left me feeling “huh?” but mostly the old King-magic shone through. 

Short stories allow for some of the “stranger” aspects of life to be shared with listeners and some of these stories definitely fit that bill.  It was exactly what we were looking for.

There are 13 stories in this bundle - let me tell you about a few of my favorites.  

Willa I loved this story. Stranded passengers wait for rescue after their train derail. Not all of them have escaped the wreck with their minds undamaged, so no-one is practically worried when a young man finds that his fiance has disappeared – Willa was not very well liked. But Willa knows the truth and slowly she shows him what he has not allowed himself to see for maybe the last 20 years. This story had all the elements that makes for a creepy story – and I love creepy stories.

Harvey's Dream  It is early morning and when Harvey meets his wife in the kitchen, he begins telling her of the disturbing dream that he has just awoken from wherein an early morning phone call described an awful accident that will change their lives forever.
Some reviews speculate that “. . . everything Harvey described were actual events from earlier that morning, only believed to be a dream due to Harvey's self-denial and his onsetting Alzheimer's disease.” Somehow that makes the story even more disturbing . . . loved it!

N    N suffers from obsessive-compulsive disorder (or so we think). The story begins with a note sent to a childhood friend indicating that the doctor treating N has committed suicide (just like his patient). We hear transcripts of their sessions and come to believe that maybe N was not just imagining what was happening to him.  It is always a fascinating story for me when the mind starts to wander into the darker suburbs of our unconsciousness.  The mind can be a scary place.

There are some others that fits the creepy bill perfectly and still others that makes for disturbing reading and some others that will make you scratch your head.  A great escape.

There are quite a few different narrators in this book and King even narrated one of the stories himself (Harvey's Dream). It made for a nice variety. It felt like a brand new book every time I started a new story. The narrators' voices fit the feel of the stories perfectly and the overall quality was very good.  A wonderful compilation.

I would recommend this to satisfy your desire for the shady part of life . . .told through the voices of many characters.

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