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Rose Madder Mass Market Paperback – June 1, 1996

4.1 out of 5 stars 514 customer reviews

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Mass Market Paperback, June 1, 1996
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

After 14 years of being beaten, Rose Daniels wakes up one morning and leaves her husband -- but she keeps looking over her shoulder, because Norman has the instincts of a predator. And what is the strange work of art that has Rose in a kind of spell? In this brilliant dark-hued fable of the gender wars, Stephen King has fashioned yet another suspense thriller to keep readers right at the edge. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Relentlessly paced and brilliantly orchestrated, this cat-and-mouse game of a novel is one of King's most engrossing and topical horror stories. At the center of the action is heroine Rose McClendon, a battered wife who starts life anew by leaving her police officer husband, a consummately cruel man depicted by King as a paragon of evil. Crowded with character and incident, the novel builds to a nearly apocalyptic conclusion that combines the best of King's long novels?the breadth of vision of The Stand, for example?with the focused plot and careful psychological portraiture of Dolores Claiborne. The story of Rose's joyous growth from tortured wife (her persecution gruesomely but realistically portrayed) to independent woman alternates with the terrifying details of her husband's deliberate pursuit to create unflagging tension. The book is a phantasmagorical roller-coaster ride, peopled by a broad array of indelibly characterized men and women and fueled by an air of danger that is immediate and overwhelming. 1.75 million first printing; BOMC main selection; simultaneous Penguin Audio; paperback sale to Signet.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Signet; Open market ed edition (June 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451186362
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451186362
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 4.2 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (514 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #531,337 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio Cassette
The more I read by Stephen King, the more entranced I become by his work as a whole. In particular, I have come to seek out the various threads of the Dark Tower that are woven through many of his books. Rose Madder, which does indeed weave itself into King's masterwork (while maintaining its viability as a "stand-alone" novel) is a masterpiece.
Norman Daniels, though thoroughly human, is a monster more horrible that many of King's worst beasts. Cujo has nothing on him when it comes to ferocity. Annie Wilkes looks downright domestic when compared to Normie.
Yet evil is not the whole name of the game in Rose Madder. It is more of a story about finding life-even in the shadow of death. Norman's wife Rose is a character for the ages (one of King's greatest creations)-and in spite of Norman-this is her story.
I don't want to give away too much of this wonderful story. Rose Madder is a masterpiece of gradual revelation. So rather than sucking the life out of it, I'll just make a few random comments:
First, I give this book my full recommendation. There are scenes of horrid nastiness here...yet there are also moments of great hope and beauty. King captures a great truth of life in this.
Rose Madder has some wonderfully developed minor characters (one of which becomes a big character in one of King's later novels-Desperation). One character-Gert, is my all time favorite "King" minor character. She sends Norman a great "message."
I must finally note that the audio version of this book is wonderfully done by both King (Norman's Perspective) and Blair Brown (Rose's Perspective). Rose Madder is certainly not King's most "important" or even representative novel. That said--it still gets my five stars.
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Format: Hardcover
WOW! What a book. I had not read any Stephen King in years, not since The Tommyknockers was released. I think I managed to wade through half of that book, and then could stand no more of the same stuff he had churned out for years. But, what a difference a day, or in this case several years, makes.
I read this immediately following Bag of Bones, the best Stephen King I have ever read. After racing through that, Rose Madder was recommended to me, as being another King book that offered something different. Demons of a different kind. Demons of the past, but demons that were just as real as the creatures of his prior novels.
Rose, the novel's central character, extricates herself from an abusive marriage, and leaves her life behind to start over when she has finally had enough of her husband, Norman. Suffering physical and emotional torture for years, she finally summons the courage to run. Norman isn't quite so eager to split, though, not until he 'punishes' Rose for daring to mistreat him so.
Starting over in a new town, with a new life, and finding new life in herself, Rose sinks into a false security of relative anonymity. She finds an old painting in a junk shop, of a woman in a 'red' dress, which seems to call to her to buy it for her new apartment. The painting continues to haunt and mesmerize her, and eventually becomes her salvation, for just when she thinks she has escaped her former life, found a new career, and perhaps a new love, the demons of her past come back to haunt her, in the form of Norman, bent on making her pay for her 'crimes' against him.
This book blends just the right amount of fantasy with reality as the story builds to a rather climactic finish, as hunter becomes hunted, predator becomes prey.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
ROSE MADDER has everything. It's:
a real life thriller, with real life horror
a story of courage and survival
a fantasy adventure
a love story
a dark comedy
a satirical look at the left liberal political community
I'm sure I could come up with more, given the time.
Rosie McClendon is a heroine who gains the reader's utmost sympathy with the insane horror of the abuse she has endured, and her courage in leaving despite her terror. As she builds a new life and digs out her true character, long buried by subjugation to her brutal husband, we admire her and enjoy her humor and spunk.
Norman Daniels, the viciously abusive husband she leaves, is one of the most terrifying, compelling, horrifyingly likeable, and darkly funny villians I can imagine. The sections written from his point of view are chilingly enjoyable. He sets out to find her by getting inside her head, "trolling," as he calls it. He imagines he is her, and does everything she would do, tracing her every step with deadly accuracy, leaving a trail of mutilated corpses in his wake.
When Norman acquires a hokey rubber bull mask at a carnival, uses it as a hand puppet and begins having conversations with it, well, we know he has really lost it. I found these scenes quite funny.
When the painting Rosie bought at a pawn shop turns out to be a doorway into a secret world, the novel takes a disconcerting leap from gritty reality to mythic fantasy. When Norman follows Rosie and new boyfriend Bill into the painting, Norm merges with the mask to become a sort of Minotaur.
Norman's crimes, and the cunning with which he stalks his prey, are only too believable. In a fully realistic novel, his end would be predictable - lifelong incarceration in a prison for the criminally insane, or getting killed somehow. Only in a fantasy world with the aid of supernatural figures is it possible to wreak satisfying vengeance for such crimes.
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