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Misery Mass Market Paperback – June 3, 1988
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"Neverworld Wake" by Marisha Pessl
Read the absorbing new psychological suspense thriller from acclaimed New York Times bestselling author Marisha Pessl. Learn more
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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
"Classic King...full of twists and turns and mounting suspense." Boston Globe
"King's best...genuinely scary." USA Today
"May be his greatest triumph." New Haven Register
“Solid character delineation and terrifying insight. In addition to being able to scare the reader breathless, King says a tremendous amount about writing itself. We delight in his virtuosity.”—The Washington Post
“Dazzlingly well-written.”—The Indianapolis Star
“Terrifying…King is a terrific storyteller.”—San Francisco Chronicle
“Truly gripping…some of the best writing King has ever done…the master has returned with a vengeance.”—Publishers Weekly
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These past few years, I've been struggling to find books I love, turning to recommendations, old favorites, long-time authors, all in the event of relearning why I love to read. I bought this book based on a recommendation; I saw the movie before reading, and based on that experience (Kathy Bates and James Caan are fantastic!), I decided to read this as a scary Halloween read - and my treadmill read.
And I really, truly enjoyed myself. The cast of characters is short - basically only Paul and Annie - but it's really clear why Stephen King is such a well-loved author. He really writes with craft, creating these characters so deftly. Annie and Paul are complex people, really fascinating to read about and people who, while you don't like them or want to be their friends, you definitely want to see what happens to them next.
I wish I could go on and on about this, as I do with my negative reviews, but as anyone who reviews books know, it's hard to say everything that's great about a book. A book, when well written and intriguing, makes you forget where you are and what time it is. Reading a bad book, you feel every agonizing page and are constantly looking back to see how far away the end is.
I know not all of King's works are great, but this one was a nice addition to my season of "Falling in Love with Reading", and because of that, I would definitely not mind reading more of his works in the future.
But yeah, don't rush to get this one. And don't make the mistake I made of buying it new. Don't get caught up in author hype.
This is a book that will make you lose sleep and focus, give you laughs and giggles but the kind that you would have when someone else is going through a funny sort of hell, and of course, a good taste of Stephen King, the master of fiction himself. (Well, him and George R.R. Martin!)