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Misery (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition) Library Binding – February 28, 2017
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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 --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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 the Paperback edition.
Top customer reviews
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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.
Thank you Mr King, and that'll be £10.00 for the wasted coffee! Thanks!
(No Spoilers here!)
As for the story, it's excellent. The only other Stephen King book I've read is Joyland because I was intrigued by how short it was (under 400 pages I think, which is unlike King). Joyland was okay, but not great. Misery however, is blowing me away. I am almost halfway through the story and I'm constantly left wanting more by the end of each chapter.
Somewhere, I read an article where Stephen King says that years after writing Misery, he realized that the character Misery is a metaphor for his cocaine addiction. Having known that is what got me interested and made the story more interesting. Hints of him being trapped and tortured by the things he is trying to quit and get rid of are all throughout the story. Having known this, I hope others give this book a try. It makes it even more suspenseful and thrilling.
Reading this book is like careening down a mountain road in a wheelchair with no brakes. The pace is break-neck, the turns are terrifying, and no matter how much you want it to end deep down you love every second of it.
While the story takes place in a rural Colorado farmhouse tucked a way in the Rockies, the real setting is the main characters mind. The fact that the character Paul Sheldon is an author literally trapped in front of an typewriter almost makes this book seem like Stephen King's twisted autobiography. Sheldon reviews his process of writing and what inspires a story, all while being tormented by the craziest of care-takers Annie Wilkes.
These are probably King's two best character's and they drive the book.
While in some of his other works King will use associated allusions and vivid imagery he stays very grounded in his detail at the most climactic scenes and it adds to the insane, terrifying reality of this novel.
I highly recommend reading this.
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