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Publisher's Summary

Stephen King - who has written more than 50 books, dozens of number-one New York Times best sellers, and many unforgettable movies - delivers an astonishing collection of short stories. 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.

©2008 Stephen King (P)2008 Simon & Schuster

What members say

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  • Overall
  • J
  • Greenville, SC, United States
  • 03-21-09

King scores another coup

Listening to audio books, like viewing art, is a subjective exercise. I was amazed at the negative reviews. This was classic King -- showing his expertise as one of America's finest WRITERS, without being pigeonholed into the genre of horror.

As other reviews noted, "N" is worth the price of the download. Incredible story, and the multiple readers make it sing.

My favorite story was "The Things They Left Behind," which entertained me through three listens over a two-week span.

I enjoyed "The Gingerbread Girl," but thought Mare Winningham's read was bored and uninspired. Ms. Winningham is a fine actor, but sounded barely interested in this story.

King's read of "Harvey's Dream" showed that his reading skills have improved... and that particular story is short but excellent.

Bottom line -- if you are familiar with King's work and enjoy it, you will truly love this download.

38 of 40 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Not the usual

I'm not a SK reader, but was intrigued by the short story premise and was not disappointed. Some were better than others, as is usual in a collection, but makes it easy to move on if you don't like one. Particularly enjoyed Things They Left Behind, Cat from Hell, Reststop, and the last one is not to be missed. The different readers provide variety and help separate the stories. If you want the usual SK, don't get this...if you want something different, give it a try. This is very long, so don't expect a quick listen. It is more a journey than a destination.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Moeen
  • Ann Arbor, MI, USA
  • 02-25-09

Not for people seeking cheap thrills

If you are looking for a pointless gore fest then this book is not for you. This book tells ordinary stories in an extraordinary ways. It is a roller coaster of emotions. I would recommend it highly

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Stephen
  • Indianapolis, IN, USA
  • 12-08-08

King is still King

Most of the short stories in this collection are actually pretty long (not that that's a bad thing!) but they are all consistantly well-written and performed. It's hard to pick out favorites, but N, The Stationary Bike, and A Very Tight Place are standouts. Who but King would have his protagonist experience a re-birth by having to crawl out of the bottom of a filthy Port-o-san? The stories are more along the creepy side, usually not going into pure horror (with the exception of The Cat From Hell) and are therefore more believable and disturbing. Highly recommended!

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Tamara
  • Dallas, TX, United States
  • 03-05-09

made me want to read short stories again

Great fun. Good stories; reminded me that I used to like short stories and has me looking for more. The last story is disgusting in a (very) true "potty" sense, but the others are excellent entertainment. SK's comments afterwards on his inspirations for the stories and on writing are great, too.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Jeremy
  • New York, NY, United States
  • 01-13-09

A worthwhile read

This is collection could best be described as mediocrity punctuated by moments of complete brilliance.

I'd argue with the "Stephen King hasn't used the horror genre since the 80s" review; it's simply not true, and there are some pretty scary moments in this collection. Though you'd be right not to expect a horror fest; this collection is eclectic.

While even the least of King's stories are worth the time to read, I found some of these - such as Gingerbread Girl - to be generally underwhelming.

Others, however, such as "N," are some of his best short-story work. Seriously, the jacket price is worth it for "N" alone.

There are 669 characters in this review. 684 is better.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

At last! Short stories that aren't boring!

A good collection of stories of everyday life, but naturally, with a macabre bent. Stephen King knows how to take middle class/upper-middle class problems - almost boring by definition - and give them the twist that will fill you with unease. Things are not what the seem. None of the stories were gory, but all of them messed with your mind. The sheer volume of blood spilled in horror stories usually keeps me away, but this one wasn't so bad. The stories all had a long buildups, but mostly, I was only aware of the mounting tension, and of an intense desire to know the outcome.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Great listen

I really enjoyed this book. I found two stories to be lame, but over all, it was great. I really enjoyed the last story. It was very detailed, it was so detailed, that it grossed out my husband who can stomach anything.
If you like King, you will enjoy this book. I a going to buy the book version, its worth reading.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Kelley
  • royse city, TX, USA
  • 01-13-09


These stories are more like King's olders stories, which I definitely prefer. First narrator isn't that great, but the others are wonderful...especially Mare reading The Gingerbread Girl. Oh, beware, I downloaded The Gingerbread Girl and Stationary Bike way before this new book came if you've already heard those and don't want to listen again, you'll have to fast forward-not an easy feat on an ipod! But Gingerbread Girl was sooo worth listening to for a second time!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Just after Sunset - I was sleeping.

Would you try another book from Stephen King and/or Stephen King, Jill Eikenberry, Holter Graham, Geor?

Of course, I will read another Stephen King Book; the other contributors - I have absolutely no idea. I have always been an avid Stephen King reader. Always King or Koontz. However, this book of short stories led me to believe that my ADHD medication wasn't working anymore. There were a few good stories. However, on a whole, I kept having to rewind and listen again...I had gotten side tracked and could not keep up with the story line; frustrating to say the least.

What do you think your next listen will be?

My next listen will probably me a Koontz novel. I try to alternate. However, the story of Attwood Turner Brown? Was that his name? Was awesome!! I really wish King would write or publish another. I don't know if there is just the one short story - Involving the Boy on the Roof, bringing lunch and the entire "Missing Child" Novel; however, if there are more, with him as a bad guy - I'd love to read them!! My favorite, and in my opinion, Stephen King's most SUPERIOR read is "Under the Dome." It had me on a ??? hour Manic listening episode. My goodness. The characters, the narration, the subplots, the "utter desperation" of the story. That book was definitely my Stephen King Favorite to date! I also miss his "Richard Bachman" days of writing. Those are really when he stood out as a unique writer in the Genre! Regulators and Desperation were Classics!

How could the performance have been better?

The performance was fine....okay...Nothing that sticks out as bad nor good. I just was so jilted by the stories themselves; I don't even remember the performances.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

The "Cat" story and the "Hitchhiker" were the redeemers of the book. Everything else is just a Jambalaya of stories in my mind; I am not sure which plot was part of the other. I have no idea, what the bike story was about. I listened to it twice. Oh, I can't forget the port-o-san man; of course. That was a classic twisted story - only King could come up with...considering I won't even step foot in one to urinate. Perhaps King cured me of my OCD phobia of them. After, the character's experience - I guess, urinating in one, can't be THAT bad. ;-)

Any additional comments?

This is not meant to be a bashing against Stephen King or his creative works. I think the primary reason is the old adage "You can't judge a book by its cover." I thought I was buying a sweet novel, not a compilation of short stories. (You must admit - It would make a good title, graphic artwork, etc... for a Stephen King Winner!) I was just dissapointed.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful