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The Long Walk Mass Market Paperback – April 1, 1999
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"A master storyteller." - Houston Chronicle
"An illusionist extraordinaire." - Publishers Weekly
About the Author
Stephen King, the world's bestselling novelist, was educated at the University of Maine at Orono. He lives with his wife, the novelist Tabitha King, and their children in Bangor, Maine.
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I’d describe the Richard Bachman books in general as Stephen King light. The Long Walk is no exception. The plot is very simple: Every year one hundred young men are invited to participate in “the long walk”. The only survivor will be the winner of the contest. The reader follows a small group of young men, and mainly takes place in the present – very few flashbacks or explanations are given. On the contrary, the story is a search for explanations as to why one hundred young men choose to participate in a contest that will almost certainly end in their death. Despite the fact that the entire story takes place inside the mind of a young man walking down a road, which might be said to be a slightly tenuous plot, the story kept me interested and even, as it unfolded , emotionally invested. Don’t expect Stephen King at his best, but the book is well worth a read.
After finishing the book in one setting, I'm still not sure if it is a dystopian society an alternate universe, parallel with our own. What kind of society bets, encorages, and cheer a annual sporting event that concludes in the death of ninety-nine teenage boys? And, most puzzling, why would one hundred teenaged boys voluntarily enter into a contest where there is ninety-nine percent surety that they will "buy a ticket"? These plot points were never fully developed and the reason for four stars instead of five...as well as the foregone conclusion to the abrupt ending.
Nevertheless, even as young man King's talent for character development shines. Every time I read where a rifle cracked, I cringed even when it was a nameless boy who had bought it. Not to mention that the Major is as terrifying as supernatural monsters as Randall Flagg or the Crimson King. I read this book in one setting and recommend it whether or not one is a constant reader.
I have my own take on a personal metaphor this story inspires. Start reading....don't give up on it!!!