Thursday, February 26, 2009

My take on:

Just After Sunset by Stephen King. I have to say, after finishing this book last night, I am torn. It is either his best book ever, or one of his worst. I will tell you why. The style of writing in this book is a far cry from his early short story collections such as Night Shift. It is, stylistically, different than his last collection of short stories, Everything's Eventual. If you are looking for the King of old you will be disappointed. If you are willing to go into this with an open mind you might be pleasantly surprised.

He is willing to admit that he hadn't thought much of the short story in a while, until he was asked to edit the Best Of series Short Fiction. He did and spent the next year reading a great deal of short stories, mostly from literary journals. He went one to describe how he had never thought of his early works to be 'literature' in any form, but a paycheck if they sold (and sometimes they didn't sell) He took this collection as a personal challenge and there are several very memorable stories in this collection.

After reading it I was struck that he wrote this because he wanted to, not because he had to. Not unlike when Eric Clapton put out a blues album after much success in pop music. He said he did it because he had made his money and he was going to do what he wanted to. If the fans wanted to follow him, that was great, and if they didn't that was their choice.

Now I am on to read Tom Piccirilli's Edgar nominated book, The Cold Spot, which after reading the opening chapter (opening paragraph actually) I am excited to read.

In other news, I am still working on Chapter 10. I came to a spot that needed more thought than forcing myself to type at a keyboard did justice to so I took a break after 750 words yesterday. I hope to finish 10 today and get a wet edge on 11, if my children allow me. Still no word on the editor front this week. Must just be a slow week for them. I think a lot of people are having this problem.

Have a great Thursday.


Carrie Harris said...

King lost me right around Dolores Claiborne, but maybe I'll pick this one up, especially in light of what you've just said.

Jamie Eyberg said...

I actually thought Duma Key was one of his best to date right up until the end, when it seemed like he hurried it along to meet a deadline or something. Blaze was very good. There are some very cool stories in this collection. Very cool.

Cate Gardner said...

'Just After Sunset' is in my 'to read' pile. I'm not a big fan of King. I either adore his stories, or they send me to sleep.

Aaron Polson said...

I'm with Ms. Gardner on this. King can be a little long in the tooth, but sometimes he knocks them out of the park.

Being the lazy schlub I am, I'll probably wait for paperback.

K.C. Shaw said...

Dolly Parton did the same thing with her music as Clapton--she's doing a lot of bluegrass the last few years, because she can and she wants to. And frankly, I think it's her best stuff.

So yeah, that's a bit of a tangent. I just don't have anything to add about Stephen King because I haven't read any of his fiction and don't really plan to. But I am going to go read your story you posted the link to yesterday, which I missed!

Anonymous said...

I was torn at first, too. But I think the good stories outweigh the bad ones. Also, I think "N" is King at his best. That being said, I think there were 2 or 3 of the good stories that were EXCEPTIONAL and of the bad ones, none of them outright stunk. So, in closing, I'g give it 7.5 of 10 stars. Hooray!

Anonymous said...

I finished this one yesterday too. I was impressed. What I really like about King is that if you read him regularly, it's very easy to see what issues he is personally dealing with at any given time. From this book, it sounds like he's got three big things on his mind these days: getting in shape, September 11th (timely!), and, for whatever reason, getting trapped in Florida.

Jamie Eyberg said...

Cate- There are some that were so-so but the beauty of a collection is you can skip over stuff you don't like. I didn't skip anything.

Aaron- I couldn't agree more. I found a lot of stuff, from The Tommyknockers until the one just before Everything's eventual to be garbage. Lately he has surprised me.

K.C.- I can't wait until someone will publish my grocery list just because I am famous. Thanks for looking at my story.

Barry- I was going to give it an 8 so- yeah.

Brady- he does seem to be hitting on some recurring themes lately, other than Maine, which is nice.

Danielle Birch said...

It's interesting that you say about going into a Stephen King book with an open mind because I think I'm very close minded when I pick up one of his books and I expect a certain thing from him and when its not there I get disappointed. I think its just because I love his really early books so much more.

Fox Lee said...

I have that book, thanks for the warning!