What would you do if your everyday world were turned upside down in an instant? Here are 12 riveting stories about relationships with unexpected twists. Be very careful what you wish for.
Read about the acts of kindness from strangers: workmen who intervene in the obsessive exercise regime of a middle-aged artist in "Stationary Bike"; the unexpected visitor, a blind girl, whose kiss saves a dying man; a mute hitchhiker who helps a driver get over his wife's affair.
There are tales of obsession and fights for power: "The Gingerbread Girl" runs and runs to ease her pain; two neighbours contesting for a piece of land get into "A Very Tight Place" and a man who witnesses an act of domestic violence in a "Rest Stop" needs to step into his identity as a crime writer if he's to intervene.
Then there are the unexpected outside events which turn people's worlds upside down or the right way up: a young couple, David and Willa who are derailed on a train find themselves seeking the bright lights in a nearby town and playing the jukebox, for eternity; an older couple want to punctuate the banal humdrum with something unusual - until it happens.
©2008 Stephen King; (P)2008 Hodder & Stoughton
"A fabulous teller of stories who can create an entire new world and make the reader live in it." (Express)
"Storytelling - the ability to make the listener or reader need to know, demand to know, what happens next is a gift . . . Stephen King, like Charles Dickens before him, has this gift in spades." (The Times)
"A Feast of Finely Framed Fables and Fantasies"
I have to completely disagree with the earlier reviewer- this is a masterful collection of stories, a veritable 'how to' in writing short fiction. Some are creepy, some sad, a few silly. What shines through is King's ability to create identifiable characters and situations then pull a switch which terrifies or amuses. His novels have recently risen out of the irritating overwriting they've been plagued by for over a decade. He's rediscovered that less can be more. Whether this is because he's taken a lead from his son, Joe Hill, or if he's regained his muse, I can't complain.
Special note must be made of the audio presentation: several actors (including LA Law's Jill Eikenberry) vary the voice and tone of the stories, except in one case where the story has distinctly separate narrators where the effect is splendidly realised. King's own notes make it something to treasure, and its interesting to see which stories he choses to narrate himself.
There's an authenticity to King's work which makes him one of my favourite authors no matter how fantastic or dark the material he explores. 9/11 hangs heavy over this collection -explicitly in one story, allegorically in others.
As each story ended, it was a delight to find another one starting. Just wonderful.
"Return of the King"
The fabulously creative and talented Stephen King lost his way with what started off well but became the ridiculously self-regarding Dark Tower series.
Then came the very so-so Cell, and the least said about Lisey's story the better. Now after another couple of other reasonable but not terribly gripping projects comes "Just After Sunset" - a magnificent tour de force and a reminder of just what a wonderful story teller King is!
This powerful and gripping series of stories took me back to my early encounters with King in Carrie, Salem's Lot and the Shining. I am with some relief and lots of gratitude once more a "constant reader".
"Do not buy this book, it is awful!!!"
How on earth Stephen King got this published the mind wonders. These short stories are badly written and totally uninteresting. It is bad enough that the author does not seem to know how to begin a story, he hasn?t got a clue how to finish one and most of them just end abruptly because obviously he doesn?t know what to say anymore. King?s writing gets worse with each book he writes. Call it a day Stephen!! and stop cheating the people that once upon a time used to admire your writing.
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