Title: Just After Sunset
Author: Stephen King
Page Count/Review Word Count: 358
At its basic level, Just After Sunset is a collection of Stephen King’s short stories, and to be honest, that’s probably all you need to know about it. It’s a fairly recent collection – around 2008, I think – and because King wrote his own afterword explaining how each of the stories came about, I don’t think I need to cover that here.
I’ll be honest, I didn’t really enjoy it. Oh sure, it was well-written, and there were a few stories throughout (N. in particular) that made me remember why I was reading it, but it also fell victim to the age old issue with Stephen King’s work – sometimes, it’s just too long.
And it’s not that the characters weren’t fleshed out – on the contrary, even in the more tedious stories they tended to stick out and make themselves easy to remember – it’s just that there were times when they didn’t need to be. It’s been a long time since I’ve found myself zoning out while reading, but it happened here – not for all of the stories, but from time to time.
But still, for every story that bored me, there were two that reminded me why I was reading it in the first place. There was an interesting short that took a look at 9/11, and another one that followed the story of a man who was trapped in a portaloo by a neighbour with a grudge. And the author’s note at the end helped to add a heap of context to what you were reading – a useful, but not entirely necessary, addition.
Overall then, I definitely wouldn’t recommend this one if you’re new to Stephen King, but I also wouldn’t discourage you from reading it if you’re already familiar with his work. It feels a bit like this book is just a byproduct of him being alive – he was born to write and so he does, but this isn’t The Shining or IT. It’s just a book – competent, but not mindblowing, and it could’ve been written by anyone.