is a collection of four novellas, markedly different in tone and subject, each on the theme of a journey. The first is a rich, satisfying, non-horrific tale about an innocent man who carefully nurtures hope and devises a wily scheme to escape from prison. The second concerns a boy who discards his innocence by enticing an old man to travel with him into a reawakening of long-buried evil. In the third story, a writer looks back on the trek he took with three friends on the brink of adolescence to find another boy's corpse. The trip becomes a character-rich rite of passage from youth to maturity.
These first three novellas have been made into well-received movies: Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption into Frank Darabont's 1994 The Shawshank Redemption, Apt Pupil into Bryan Singer's 1998 film Apt Pupil, and The Body into Rob Reiner's Stand by Me (1986).
The final novella, Breathing Lessons is a horror yarn told by a doctor, about a patient whose indomitable spirit keeps her baby alive under extraordinary circumstances. It's the tightest, most polished tale in the collection. --Fiona Webster
One of the great storytellers of our time (Guardian
A writer of excellence (The Sunday Times