Harvey's Dream

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"Harvey's Dream"
Author Stephen King
Country United States
Language English
Genre(s) Suspense
Published in The New Yorker,
Just After Sunset
Publication date June 2003 (first publication)

"Harvey's Dream" is a short story written by Stephen King, originally published in The New Yorker in June 2003[1] and later included in King's short story collection Just After Sunset in 2008.


Harvey and Janet, a middle aged married couple in a dysfunctional relationship, discuss over breakfast in detail, how Harvey woke up screaming from a dream he had: one of their daughters was run over and killed. Janet soon realises how the details of the dream are unerringly accurate for that morning, especially in noticing how their neighbor's car has a dent in it, along with what looks like a blood stain and a dark patch of dirt or hair. The story ends when Harvey answers a phone call, as he did in his dream, presumably confirming Janet's mounting fears that the events of the dream are true. Everything Harvey described were actual events from earlier that morning, only believed to be a dream due to Harvey's self-denial and his onsetting Alzheimer's disease.

Critical reception[edit]

In The Independent, Matt Thorne reviews the book Just After Sunset, in which "Harvey's Dream" can be found. He mentions "Harvey's Dream" as being one of the weaker stories in the collection (along with "Graduation Afternoon"), stating that "in both of these stories, which seem to have been written quickly, [King] seems less interested in creating compelling fiction than in transcribing his night terrors."[2]

In The Washington Times, Christian Toto, also reviewing Just After Sunset, says that ""Harvey's Dream" lasts less than 10 pages, but Mr. King needs only a few paragraphs to evoke a wholly relatable nightmare — being stuck in an emotionless marriage."[3]

A review of Just After Sunset in the St. Petersburg Times calls "Harvey's Dream" "a quietly alarming little story",[4] one in Scotland on Sunday calls it "unusually polished" and "quietly eloquent"[5] and one in the Concord Monitor says the story is "a parent's worst nightmare, viewed in slow motion."[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ http://www.newyorker.com/archive/2003/06/30/030630fi_fiction?currentPage=all
  2. ^ Matt Thorne (November 9, 2008). "Just After Sunset, By Stephen King: These scary stories are strangely reassuring". The Independent. Retrieved April 20, 2009. 
  3. ^ Christian Toto (November 16, 2008). "Books: Stephen King in short, still has it". The Washington Times. Retrieved April 20, 2009. 
  4. ^ Colette Bancroft (December 14, 2008). "Review: In Stephen King's 'Just After Sunset,' and the 'N.' online adaptation, fine nightmares by day". St. Petersburg Times. 
  5. ^ Janet Maslin (November 9, 2008). "Book Review: Stephen King". Scotland on Sunday. 
  6. ^ Ted Anthony (November 23, 2008). "Stephen King's best at twilight, not in darkness: Short story collection unsettling, harrowing". Concord Monitor.