In Sunlight or In Shadow: Stories Inspired by the Paintings of Edward Hopper ARC REVIEW

In Sunlight or In Shadow: Stories Inspired by the Paintings of Edward HopperIn Sunlight or In Shadow: Stories Inspired by the Paintings of Edward Hopper
Published by Pegasus Books
Expected publication 6 December 2016
288 pages
Publisher ARC

Editor’s website: book page

Buy the book: UK

Buy the book: USA


I was given an ARC of this book by the publisher via NetGalley and voluntarily reviewed it.


“Edward Hopper is surely the greatest American narrative painter. His work bears special resonance for writers and readers, and yet his paintings never tell a story so much as they invite viewers to find for themselves the untold stories within.”

So says Lawrence Block, who has invited seventeen outstanding writers to join him in an unprecedented anthology of brand-new stories: In Sunlight or In Shadow. The results are remarkable and range across all genres, wedding literary excellence to storytelling savvy.

Contributors include Stephen King, Joyce Carol Oates, Robert Olen Butler, Michael Connelly, Megan Abbott, Craig Ferguson, Nicholas Christopher, Jill D. Block, Joe R. Lansdale, Justin Scott, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Warren Moore, Jonathan Santlofer, Jeffery Deaver, Lee Child, and Lawrence Block himself. Even Gail Levin, Hopper’s biographer and compiler of his catalogue raisonée, appears with her own first work of fiction, providing a true account of art theft on a grand scale and told in the voice of the country preacher who perpetrated the crime.

In a beautifully produced anthology as befits such a collection of acclaimed authors, each story is illustrated with a quality full-colour reproduction of the painting that inspired it.


From The Girlie Show by Megan Abbott

‘She went udders out’.
‘No pasties even?’
‘Like a pair of traffic lights’.
Pauline hears them on the porch. Bud is telling her husband about a trip to New York City a few years ago. Going to the Casino de Paree.


I thought In Sunlight or In Shadow was a fantastic collection of short stories. I loved it. Two of my favourite authors, Stephen King and Joyce Carol Oates have a story in this collection so I knew I was in for a treat. Incidentally, their pieces The Music Room and The Woman in the Window are among the best in the collection and are among my favourite stories. The most enjoyable thing about this collection is how different the stories are and how much I enjoyed discovering new writers. There are writers I’ve never heard of and plan to read again such as Megan Abbot, Warren Moore and Justin Scott. There are writers whose name I recognise but have never read before such as Lee Child, Michael Connolly and Jeffrey Deaver. Most story anthologies by their very nature contain a couple of duds. This isn’t the case with In Sunlight or In Shadow. I loved every story. My favourites included The Music Room by Stephen King, The Woman in the Window by Joyce Carol Oates, Still Life 1931 by Kris Nelscott, The Projectionist by Joe R Lansdale and Rooms by the Sea by Nicholas Christopher. The collection contains a print of the Hopper painting that inspired each story. I thought this was a nice touch. With some stories I could see how the painting inspired the writer. I’d never heard of Edward Hopper before but enjoyed the prints in this collection so might seek his work out. I loved In Sunlight or In Shadow and would highly recommend it.




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