Monday, December 29, 2008

Book Review: Just After Sunset

This one's Stephen King's collection of recent short stories. I've been hearing for the past decade or so that King has turned into a Serious Writer (albeit one who still likes to freak people out) and I thought a collection of short stories would be the best way to check this out, rather than committing to a 700-page monster novel. And you know what? It was enjoyable enough. The best stories were actually romantic ghost stories (although there's a Lovecraftian psychological thriller that gives those a run for their money): more Ghost than horror movie.

Only a few of the stories had an author as the main character, so King avoided that rut for the most part. And his own author's notes on the origin of each story in the back are priceless, kind of an audio commentary. I like his personal thoughts, like that he feels there must be an afterlife because we're just too incredible and complex creatures to be simply thrown away when we die. That's a statement of natural theology and, you know, it's a good place to start.

Now, I only see glimmers of evidence that King is a Serious Writer here and there: for the most part, these stories are popcorn, and in fact I'm sure some will be turned into movies before too long. But there's some nutrition to this junk food. And my goodness but it's fast fast reading.

Just don't read the last story if you're squeamish AT ALL. That's all I'll say. (Now you're curious, aren't you?)

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