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Bag of Bones Hardcover – September 22, 1998


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner; 1st edition (September 22, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684853507
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684853505
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.7 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,404 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #224,170 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Bag of Bones is partly inspired by Daphne du Maurier's classic Rebecca, but there's more than homage in this novel of horror and romance. Like du Maurier's Manderley, King's scary old place (on the shore of Maine's remote Dark Score Lake) is haunted by the late lady of the manor. There are many gory ghosts afoot, though: men, women, and wailing kids. The hero, a thriller novelist, stirs up hell's plenty of angry shades while investigating his wife's death. It turns out she either had a dark secret herself or was onto some dread scandal lurking in Dark Score Lake. As in King's previous book, Wizard and Glass, the fabric of reality is thin, and nosy narrators are in peril of plunging right out of this world and into a rather hostile otherworld.

Bag of Bones is a writer-haunted book, too. The spirits of Herman Melville and Ray Bradbury are deeply felt, and so are the tale's two romances (the hero muses on his marriage and falls for a young single mom with a marvelous, psychic daughter). There is also good-humored satire of the real bestseller book world--the hero complains that "the publicity process is like going to a sushi bar where you're the sushi." In its deep concerns with love, sprawling families, the writer's life, endangered children, and good old-fashioned storytelling, the book resembles a John Irving novel. It is also absolutely classic Stephen King, packed with nifty turns of phrase, irreverent wit, and lurid ghouls who grab you from beneath the bed while you cower under the covers. --Tim Appelo

From Publishers Weekly

Carrying galley copy that avoids the h(orror) word while touting its "O. Henry Award-winning author," King's latest novel features a marketing campaign in accord with the distinguished pedigree of his new publisher. But has King written a book that ranks him as a literary heavyweight? Indeed he has, though not by forsaking his roots: the novel is a classic ghost story. It opens quietly as narrator Mike Noonan, 40, bestselling author of romantic suspense potboilers (and latest in a line of King novelist-heroes, cf. Misery and The Dark Half) describes the death of his wife four years back and his consequent grief and writer's block. Mike has kept the block hidden from the publishing world?limned in delicious detail, with real names?by annually pulling one of his own, unpublished mss. from a safe-deposit box. Now that he's out of old novels to submit, he resolves to work through his troubles at Sara Laughs, his country house in backwoods Maine. Arriving there, Mike nearly drives over a three-year-old girl. She is Kyra, granddaughter?by way of beautiful young widow Mattie?of mad computer mogul Max Devore, who is hellbent on snatching the girl from her mother. Taking up Kyra's cause, falling in love with Mattie, Mike gears up for a custody battle. Invigorated, he breaks through his writer's block; but great danger, psychological and physical, awaits, from Max Devore but especially from the spirits, mostly malevolent, that haunt Sara Laughs due to hideous crimes committed by Devore's ancestor a century earlier. Violence, natural and supernatural, ensues as past and present mix, culminating in a torrent of climaxes that bind and illuminate the novel's many mysteries. From his mint-fresh etching of spooky rural Maine to his masterful pacing and deft handling of numerous themes, particularly of the fragility of our constructs about reality and of love's ability to mend rifts in those constructs, this is one of King's most accomplished novels. It is his most personal as well, revealing through Mike's broodings the intimacies of the creative writing process: a passionate gift from a veteran author to all who care about the art and craft of storytelling. 1.26 million first printing; BOMC main selection (Sept.) FYI: Bag of Bones is the only hardcover Scribner will publish in September.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

More About the Author

Stephen King is the author of more than fifty books, all of them worldwide bestsellers. His recent work includes Doctor Sleep and Under the Dome, now a major TV miniseries on CBS. His novel 11/22/63 was named a top ten book of 2011 by The New York Times Book Review and won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Mystery/Thriller as well as the Best Hardcover Book Award from the International Thriller Writers Association. He is the recipient of the 2003 National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. He lives in Bangor, Maine, with his wife, novelist Tabitha King.

Customer Reviews

The book slowly converts itself into a very mysterious and very scary ghost story.
vage@ne1.bright.net
A page turner...couldn't put it down....will keep you up all night....these phrases don't begin to describe this book.
Amazon Customer
He took way too long getting the whole story going, he introduced too many characters.
deronh@hotmail.com

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

103 of 107 people found the following review helpful By Jason N. Mical on August 7, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Many longtime King readers consider his early Magnum Opus, The Stand, the author's best work. Until the publication of Bag of Bones, that charge may have been true. No more. In BOB, King leaves cliché (both genre and his own) behind and weaves a classic, sprawling, and wholly satisfying tale of good and evil, right and wrong, love and hate, and the living and the dead.
Mike Noonan's life - and writing career - come to a crashing halt when his wife dies of an aneurysm while watching an automobile accident. For four years, he puts himself on neutral and glides through life, until he abandons his house for Sara Laughs, his summer retreat in Western Maine, on the shores of Dark Score Lake. There, he meets Mattie and Kyla, a single mother and her daughter who happened to get mixed up with the greedy, semi-psychotic computer magnate Max Devore, who wants Kyla, his granddaughter, as his own. Mike is inevitably drawn into the struggle, and at the same time finds that he, too, has a pulse and remnants of life. So too, he discovers, does Sara Laughs, a house that harbors spirits and secrets galore.
Part romance, part meditation on love and life, part legal thriller, and part satire of the writing industry, Bag of Bones is King's only pure ghost story. HP Lovecraft opined that any real ghost story is about love, and it is this, the most basic (and complex) of human emotions, that King explores - love for wives, love for children, and love of place. He keeps his easygoing style and voice, but the subject matter in Bag of Bones is his most contemplative and mature, and while it has elements of horror (some of the ghost scenes are throat-closers), Bag of Bones manages to grow beyond that into a very serious novel.
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45 of 48 people found the following review helpful By B. Morse on March 20, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Bag of Bones was my first Stephen King read in a number of years. About halfway through The Tommyknockers, I felt like I had been there, done that time and again with him. I was fed up.....
Jump forward, 11 years, to the publication of Bag of Bones. The dust jacket makes it look like typical King territory, but inside, there is a wonder to behold.
Mike Noonan, author, widower, and grief-stricken man leaves his home for the cabin he and his wife shared, Sara Laughs. There he is not only haunted by her memory, but seemingly by her voice as well. He laments that there is nowhere to escape the loss he feels, even here, and finds it impossible to resume his writing career, with deadlines looming, and his stockpile of 'backup' stories dwindling fast.
Mike is drawn into a local power-play courtesy of Max Devore, the town's resident wealthy control freak, against the mother of his three year-old granddaughter and the child herself. Mike instantly feels sympathetic and protective to them both, and finds himself biting off more than he thought in extending his friendship to them.
Suddenly, his ability to write returns, but the voices do not cease to come. And the more time Mike spends at Sara Laughs, the further he is drawn into the realm of ghosts there that extend far beyond that of his deceased wife.
Bag of Bones is not a horror novel. Do not read it expecting gremlins, ghouls, or gore...what made King famous in the first place. Do expect a tale of loss, despair, frustration, and chance to begin again after suffering a terrible loss. As I have stated in other King book reviews, the man writes best when he leaves behind the demons that lurk in shadows and under beds, and probes the demons that lie in peoples' minds instead.
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103 of 116 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Percy on February 23, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Stephen King has been called the world's scariest novelist; however, many criticts agree that his work is too violent and his excessive use of adult language is not nesessary in his writing. However, while reading Bag of Bones, I ( having read most of his priveous novels) found that this one was different. The book is open for all readers: mystery, horror, suspence, and even romance. This book focuses on the events that happen to a widowed best selling novelist, Mike Noonan who is grieving from his wife's sudden and unexpected death. He suffers from writer's block; a case when writers fear their computers and are literally in pain when they try to write. He begins having a perpetual, repetative dream focusing on his dead wife appearing at the doorsteps of his Maine summer house he calls Sara Laughs. He packs up his belongings and moves into the old house in hope that he will ease up and begin writing again. Along the way, he meets a young woman, Mattie Devore and her daughter Kyra who are suffering from the death of Mattie's husband. Mike begins to notice supernatural occurrences that occasionally appear around Sara Laughs and realizes that they are there to help him (a) begin writing and get over the loss of his wife, and (b) help Mattie and Kyra escape from the clutches of her father in law, Max Devore who is trying to gain custody of his granddaughter. The book is incredible in that it begins a little unnearving, then towards the middle flattens itself out into a love story, and then wraps back up into King's typical scary ending.Read more ›
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