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The Long Walk Mass Market Paperback – April 1, 1999


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Signet; 1st edition (April 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780451196712
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451196712
  • ASIN: 0451196716
  • Product Dimensions: 6.7 x 4.2 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (793 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,954 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Ray Garraty--along with 99 other teen boys--has entered the Long Walk, a grueling march at four miles per hour that continues until only one person is standing. The losers receive bullets to the head. As the march progresses, the numbers dwindle, the challenges of continued marching increase, and the senselessness wears on the participants' state of mind. King (writing as his alter ego, Richard Bachman) delivers another psychologically dark tale with commentary on society, teenage life, and cultural entertainment that is still poignant decades after its original publication. Kirby Heyborne's skills shine in the narrative passages, which he executes with a good mixture of rhythm and emphasis. Heyborne's light and youthful-sounding voice exudes the needed attitude of the mostly male adolescent characters. However, some of his character voices for the teens feel created just for the sole purpose of clearly distinguishing them, rather than matching voice organically to personality. His female voices lack substance, but since there are so few of them, listeners will not be too distracted. A Signet paperback.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"A master storyteller." - Houston Chronicle
"An illusionist extraordinaire." - Publishers Weekly

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

488 of 502 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Jolley HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 30, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
If you ask me, The Long Walk may well be the most fascinating novel Stephen King has ever written. Written back in 1966-67, while King was a college freshman, the novel earned the author nothing more than a form rejection letter. Finally, after a few years of dust-gathering, the manuscript was released into a much more welcoming world in the form of Richard Bachman's second novel. It's a magnificent story - not perfect, but magnificent nonetheless. It's a disarmingly simple tale centered on a seemingly mundane activity, yet in King's masterful hands The Long Walk burrows into the core of a number of characters, lays down miles of metaphors about the human condition, and absolutely mesmerizes you with its emotional force and power.

The setting is an alternate, possible fascist America; King leaves things pretty murky on the sociopolitical end of things, almost surely by design. The Long Walk is really one of your "it can't happen in America" kind of stories, and the horror of it all (and, yes, I would categorize this as a horror novel) is made more powerful by obscuring the lines between our America and this fictionalized America. Here, The Long Walk is the premier sporting event in the land. Spectators turn out in droves, bets are made left and right, and the whole nation watches and cheers. Obviously, this is not a regular walk, nor is it a race in the purist sense. Endurance - mental even more than physical - is the key to victory in this sport. To win, all you have to do is outlast 99 other competitors - and the winner receives nothing less than whatever he wants for the rest of his life. Before you yell "Sign me up," you'll want to hear about the details. You have to maintain a pace of at least four miles per hour; fall below the pace, and you get a warning.
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178 of 198 people found the following review helpful By "maelstrom1" on May 5, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The Long Walk is the second book I have read that was written by King under the name Richard Bachman. It is the in-depth story of how a boy named Ray Garraty must survive the greatest challenge of his life -- the Long Walk. This annual event is summarized as follows: 100 boys start walking; if you walk under 4 miles per hour, you get a warning; after 3 warnings, if you slow down again, you are shot dead. The winner of the Long Walk is the last boy left walking.
Stephen King (a.k.a. Richard Bachman) introduces and develops the characters of many of the boys in the event. As a reader, you get to learn about Garraty, Pete McVries, Hank Olson, Art Baker, Barkovitch, Stebbins, and others, who each have their own personality quirks and ways of looking at life. Each boy has entered the Long Walk for a different reason and I found their discussions about life and death to be quite interesting (a social statement by King, perhaps?). The reader is led along the course and each significant event is mentioned along the way, with some unexpected occurrences that may surprise you.
As the challenge narrows down from the original 100 competitors to less than 50, then to just a handful of boys remaining, the scenario becomes rather intense. Who will die next? How will he die? And most importantly, who will be left at the end to claim the Prize? Although the suspense builds slowly, it tends to add to the dramatic effect of the final moments and keep the reader wanting to read more to find out what happens (I was so eager to find out that I read the last half of the book in one sitting).
Although the story is interesting and held my attention, there are a couple of criticisms that knocked it down from 5 to 4 stars. First, the ending was too predictable.
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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Jason A. Miller VINE VOICE on May 10, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I first read "The Long Walk" about three years ago, and found that it stayed with me for nearly every step I've taken since then. Any walk of a mile or longer invariably brought up memories of the deadly Long Walk taken by a hundred fictional teenagers in the alternate-history Earth of this early King classic.
As other reviewers have noted, just to read this book is to feel physically tired. The characters start walking, at a grueling pace of four miles per hour, early in the first chapter, and never stop. There are only two ways out of the contest: death or victory... and, out of the 100 contestants, there can only be one winner. "The Long Walk" takes place over five days in May, and by the final day, the Prize may no longer seem worth winning.
As painful as your legs will feel by the final chapter, you'll be equally intrigued by the little alternate-history hints King drops throughout the book. With references to John Travolta and the handover of the Panama Canal, "Long Walk" is still very much a product of the 1970s. But when the characters mention "April 31st", or New Hampshire's provisional governor, or the German bombing raids over the East Coast in World War II, you'll find yourself wondering just how the world of the "Long Walk" came to be. Most intriguing is a fictional quote from the "second Clay-Liston" fight, which ends even worse for Sonny Liston than did the actual Ali-Liston fight in our own 1965.
The only thing that disrupts "The Long Walk" is the ambiguous final page. King points out in the introduction to this edition that his Bachman persona did not specialize in happy endings, and of course we know that King writes insanity quite convincingly. I've beem vaguely dissatisfied with the ending after both my readings -- but, taken by itself, the final line is still a creepy finale to a very creepy book...
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