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Different Seasons (Signet) Mass Market Paperback – August 29, 1983

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Different Seasons (1982) 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, nonhorrific 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 (available as a screenplay, a DVD film, and an audiocassette), "Apt Pupil" into Bryan Singer's 1998 film Apt Pupil (also released in 1998 on audiocassette), 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


“To find the secret of his success, you have to compare King to Twain and Poe—  King’s stories tap the roots of myth buried in all our minds.”—Los Angeles Times

“Buy Different Seasons. I promise you’ll enjoy it….He creates people who are so alive, you can almost sense them.”—Minneapolis Star-Tribune

“The wondrous readability of his work, as well as the instant sense of communication with his characters, are what make King the consummate storyteller that he is.”—Houston Chronicle

“Hypnotic.”—The New York Times Book Review

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Product Details

  • Series: Signet
  • Mass Market Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Signet; First Printing edition (August 29, 1983)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451167538
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451167538
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.1 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (474 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,304 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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

4.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

85 of 87 people found the following review helpful By Brian Seiler on August 17, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Sometimes collections like this can be hard to judge. Most of the time the author will have ups and downs, with one story that may appeal to one audience and another which appeals to a different one. Different Seasons, however, manages to provide a good body of work that should appeal to just about everybody.
To be clear on the content of the book, this is actually two novellas and two short stories--both Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption and The Breathing Method are both on par with such classics as "Bartleby the Scrivener." The format of the book is perhaps a little hokey--the stories follow the seasonal theme--but ultimately that artistic touch is irrelevant to the real appreciation of the book, at worst, and endearing, at best.
The stories themselves are excellent, a fact attested to by the production of three major films based on the first three of these pieces. The first presented is Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption, and of them all, it's probably the best on the whole. The characters in the story are well written and, all things considered, it's really just a fine story with a positive message that you might not be used to seeing in Stephen King's writing. Second is Apt Pupil, which is more reminiscent of King's usual subject matter and tone, but still manages to provide an engrossing and interesting view into the nature of evil and the parasitic relationship that a man can develop with it. The Body is probably the most endearing of all the stories in the book, even if it is the roughest in terms of production. With a reflective, old-man-on-the-porch-in-the-sunshine voice, King is able to relate this tale of the loss of innocence and the passage into adulthood. The final tale is actually reminiscent of other, older authors than King.
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38 of 40 people found the following review helpful By "maelstrom1" on February 20, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Different Seasons was the first Stephen King book I have ever read. I chose to read it after watching the movie "The Shawshank Redemption", which I thoroughly enjoyed. I was interested in reading the story on which the movie is based, so I soon found that "Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption" was one of King's novellas in Different Seasons.
One of the ways I determine whether or not I like a book is if I become involved in the story; not as a reader, but as a character. If I can envision the actual events and feel that I am watching the story unfold, then the story is worthwhile and a pleasure to read. I felt this way while I was reading Different Seasons.
The first of the four novellas, "Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption", was interesting to read. It was somewhat unfortunate that I had seen the movie beforehand because I found myself making many comparisons and contrasts. Nevertheless, I came to enjoy the story of Andy, Red, and prison life in Shawshank.
The story "Apt Pupil" was the basis for a recent movie of the same title in 1998. I have not seen the movie -- yet. I found this story to be the most captivating of the four; it left my eyes riveted to the page and I almost finished it in one sitting. The story of a young boy who becomes obsessed with a Nazi was well-written and intriguing how King built up to the final climax. By far, "Apt Pupil" was the best story in the book.
Next comes the story "The Body", which served as the basis for the eighties movie "Stand By Me" (I have not seen this movie either).
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful By sweetmolly on August 21, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This 1982 collection of three superb novellas and one also-ran is a valuable addition to your book collection. Insert Vivaldi's "Four Seasons" into the CD, settle in your favorite chair, and get ready to enjoy.
"Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption" I am one of the few people I know that has not seen everyone's favorite movie, "The Shawshank Redemption." Yes, I do live on this planet, but I stubbornly avoid prison movies. After reading this life and hope-affirming story, I will have to break my rule and give Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman a chance to wend their magic. Wily old Red, a lifer who has seen it all, tells the story of Andy Dufresne, an innocent man who is sentenced to life in prison for the murder of his wife and her lover. Andy gradually wins the respect and finally awestruck admiration from the cynical Red by his patience, determination and understated kindness and true sense of self. As I approached the end of this story, I could think of at least six awful ways clever and manipulative King could end the story. I caught myself saying "not this time--please!" knowing that I was firmly caught in any web King cared to devise.
"The Apt Pupil" I will state at the outset, was my favorite. Mysteries and thrillers are my preferred form of escapism; "The Apt Pupil" is a psychological thriller at its finest. Todd is frighteningly enough, every parent's dream child. Modest, polite, handsome, gifted student and athlete with a winning grin that melts teachers and friends alike. At 13, he has the world in front of him. He also has a peculiar interest in what went on in concentration camps in WWII. By sheer chance he discovers a neighboring old man, Mr.
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