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Misery Mass Market Paperback – June 3, 1988


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Signet; Reissue edition (June 3, 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451169522
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451169525
  • Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 4.2 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (537 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #19,593 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

In Misery (1987), as in The Shining (1977), a writer is trapped in an evil house during a Colorado winter. Each novel bristles with claustrophobia, stinging insects, and the threat of a lethal explosion. Each is about a writer faced with the dominating monster of his unpredictable muse.

Paul Sheldon, the hero of Misery, sees himself as a caged parrot who must return to Africa in order to be free. Thus, in the novel within a novel, the romance novel that his mad captor-nurse, Annie Wilkes, forces him to write, he goes to Africa--a mysterious continent that evokes for him the frightening, implacable solidity of a woman's (Annie's) body. The manuscript fragments he produces tell of a great Bee Goddess, an African queen reminiscent of H. Rider Haggard's She.

He hates her, he fears her, he wants to kill her; but all the same he needs her power. Annie Wilkes literally breathes life into him.

Misery touches on several large themes: the state of possession by an evil being, the idea that art is an act in which the artist willingly becomes captive, the tortured condition of being a writer, and the fears attendant to becoming a "brand-name" bestselling author with legions of zealous fans. And yet it's a tight, highly resonant echo chamber of a book--one of King's shortest, and best novels ever. --Fiona Webster

From Publishers Weekly

King's new novel, about a writer held hostage by his self-proclaimed "number-one fan," is unadulteratedly terrifying. Paul Sheldon, a writer of historical romances, is in a car accident; rescued by nurse Annie Wilkes, he slowly realizes that salvation can be worse than death. Sheldon has killed off Misery Chastain, the popular protagonist of his Misery series and Annie, who has a murderous past, wants her back. Keeping the paralyzed Sheldon prisoner, she forces him to revive the character in a continuation of the series, and she reads each page as it comes out of the typewriter; there is a joyously Dickensian novel within a novel here, and it appears in faded typescript. Studded among the frightening moments are sparkling reflections on the writer and his audience, on the difficulties, joys and responsibilities of being a storyteller, on the nature of the muse, on the differences between "serious" and "popular" writing. Sheldon is a revealingly autobiographical figure; Annie is not merely a monster but is subtly and often touchingly portrayed, allowing hostage and keeper a believable, if twisted, relationship. The best parts of this novel demand that we take King seriously as a writer with a deeply felt understanding of human psychology. One million first printing; $400,000 ad/promo; BOMC main selection.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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

If you have not seen the movie, read the book.
Zachariah
I read this book in three days, in most of my spare time I was reading this because it kept me on the edge of my seat.
Sally Balboa
Mr. King does a great job giving you details so you can perfectly picture the scenes and characters in your mind.
Honor System

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

55 of 57 people found the following review helpful By Cynthia K. Robertson TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 4, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I have never read anything written by Stephen King as I don't particularly like that genre. But a friend insisted that I read Misery, and I was astounded by King's talents. I was hooked from the very first page, and Misery is a book that will haunt yours days and nights long after you've finished.

Paul Sheldon is a popular writer celebrating the completion of a new book, when his car goes off a mountain road in a snowstorm. He finds himself with shattered legs, being held captive by a former nurse, Annie Wilkes. Ironically, Wilkes just happens to be his number one fan. While she's nursing him back from near death, Wilkes reads his latest book, where he kills off his popular character, Misery Chastain (a sappy, high-drama character whom Sheldon has come to loathe). She decides that Sheldon will write a new novel (just for her), in which he brings Misery back from the dead. And believe me-Wilkes has her methods to keep Sheldon writing! Sheldon soon discovers that he's like Scheherazade, and the best way to stay alive is to keep the stories coming. Wilkes is a true psychopath, and the mind games that Sheldon plays will have you riveted. His ultimate goal is to escape, but Wilkes is one shrewd character, and his getting out alive is slim at best.

Misery succeeds on so many different levels. The characters are so very well developed. In trying to figure out how to deal with Hurricane Annie, Paul also learns much about himself while he is trying to survive. Misery is filled with lots of symbolism-especially in the writing of his new book, Misery Returns. King also gives us a good look at the art of writing. He talks about the difference between a hack, a popular writer and a literary writer.
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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful By D. Mikels on March 20, 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
It's common knowledge Stephen King can take a simple idea and turn it into a 500,000 word marathon; it's one of the reasons MISERY is one of my favorite King novels, because--for a change--King gets into the meat and potatoes of his story from the first page (and he doesn't let up until the last). Consequently, the novel is one of his shorter works.

The beauty of this book is not so much the helplessness and horror of being captive to Annie Wilkes as it is the inner workings of Paul Sheldon's brain. Bestselling author of the Misery Chastain series (a character he has come to loathe), Paul talks to himself throughout his ordeal in Annie's Rocky Mountain hellhole. This self-dialoge is riveting, entertaining, and often downright funny. In fact, the humorous undertow throughout the book makes Annie's "behaviour" even more alarming and frightful. Nothing like copping a chuckle while Annie is wielding an axe or being destructive on a riding lawnmower; yet King pulls it off, page after page.

I'm an allegorical kind of guy, and I can't help but think MISERY is a novel about Stephen King himself and the hell he was putting himself through during his substance abuse days. Writing, euphoria, pain, addiction, terror: all were in vogue for both Paul Sheldon and Stephen King in the 1980s. MISERY is King at his dysfunctional best.
--D. Mikels, Author, THE RECKONING
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By VJ on August 20, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is my first Stephen King novel and I have to say, I loved it.
SUMMARY: Paul Sheldon, a bestselling novelist gets into a car accident. His NUMBER ONE FAN, Annie Wilkes, takes him into her home and nurses him back to health. In a way. Holding him captive, she makes him write his greatest novel just for her.
UPS: This book has a lot of detail and really makes you feel like you're right there with Sheldon, keeping you on your toes. It is suspensful the whole way through and gets even more spine-chilling towards the end.
DOWNS: About 40 pages of the book is the book that Paul Sheldon is writing. It gets a little boring reading these parts and there doesn't seem to be any importance in reading them.
OVERALL: This book is hard to put down, indeed. Even though I haven't seen the movie, the mental image I had of Annie Wilkes was exactly that of Kathy Bates. It took me only a few days to read and I really enjoyed it. I recommend this book to anyone who's going for a good horror novel.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Edward Aycock on November 29, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Well, back when "Misery" was first published, I had no interest in it at all. I was more of a fan of King's horror/ghostie stuff, and the premise when described to me (I was all of 15 at the time) sounded like a major snooze. I finally got around to reading this book last week, and I have to say, "Misery" is probably King's equivalent of Shakespeare's famous tragedy that begins with "M" whose full name we dare not invoke due to the curse. "Misery" is lean, yet muscular. It is a book with tunnel vision, it does not digress from the major plot, but rather keeps the reader staring straight ahead and biting their nails. Annie Wilkes has to be King's most monstrous (yet ironically, literally the "least" monstrous) creation he ever dared breathe life into. As such, after a while the reader, like Paul Sheldon wants to take Noveril to take us out of the realm of Annie, yet unlike Paul, we just can't WAIT to see what Annie will do next. King replicates the formula of "person trapped in a small space trying to escape" in other books (most notable in Gerald's Game) but this is truly his finest hour at getting the reader into Paul's head, and feeling his pain (and as I said before, his drugged bliss on Noveril). I even give credit to King for making us just as excited as Annie to see how Paul will resolve bringing Misery back from the dead. It's in the story within the story that shows that King is a master of his game, deftly parodying the gothic romance drama, while at the same time, presenting it in a very straightfaced manner. This is definitely the book that I would say defines King and his body of work. And the fact that it's a not so gentle look at the limits of fandom that make this a book that you won't put down.
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