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The Shining Mass Market Paperback – June 26, 2012
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“A master storyteller.” —Los Angeles Times
“Scary! . . . Serves up horrors at a brisk, unflagging pace.” —The New York Times
“This chilling novel will haunt you, and make your blood run cold and your heart race with fear.” —Nashville Banner
“Guaranteed to frighten you into fits. . . . with a climax that is literally explosive.” —Cosmopolitan
“The most wonderfully gruesome man on the planet.” —USA Today
“An undisputed master of suspense and terror.” —The Washington Post
“[King] probably knows more about scary goings-on in confined, isolated places than anybody since Edgar Allan Poe.” —Entertainment Weekly
“He’s the author who can always make the improbable so scary you’ll feel compelled to check the locks on the front door.” —The Boston Globe
“Peerless imagination.” —The Observer (London)
About the Author
Stephen King is the author of more than fifty books, all of them worldwide bestsellers. Among his most recent are 11/22/63; Full Dark, No Stars; Under the Dome; Just After Sunset; Duma Key; Lisey’s Story; Cell; and the concluding novels in the Dark Tower saga: Wolves of the Calla, Song of Susannah, and The Dark Tower. His acclaimed nonfiction book, On Writing, is also a bestseller. He was the recipient of the 2003 National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, and in 2007, he received the Grand Master Award from the Mystery Writers of America. He lives in Maine with his wife, novelist Tabitha King.
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This tale of the Torrance family, especially Danny with "the shine," the Overlook Hotel, and Halloran, the cook, is a masterpiece of horror. I consider "The Shining" and It two of the scariest books I've ever read. I think this is because not only because of the supernatural horror aspects of both books but also the human elements that contribute to the horror.
I also love both versions of the movie made about this book - the well-known movie with Jack Nicholson, scary but not following the book very well - The Shining, and the mini-series that was faithful to the book - Stephen King's The Shining (Two Disc Special Edition).
If you have never read this book and love horror, you owe it to yourself to read it. If you've read it before, read it again to reacquaint yourself with the great story and characters before the sequel comes out.
The story is not without flaw, and King doesn't always know when to be subtle and when to be brutally explicit, a problem reminiscent of the roque mallet that features so prominently in the story with one end rubber and the other end hard. King's trademark habit of rambling in brackets to remind us of something else that is scary and related to the currently scary thing happening sometimes feels like the prose equivalent of pounding music in a movie to remind us that a certain scene is supposed to inspire terror when the absence of such cues would probably make it more scary as they would make me feel I'm facing the terrifying thing on my own without the narrator to hold my hand and tell me what I should feel about it. Another slightly distracting feature of King's prose in "The Shining" is that while his writing is frequently beautiful you can tell that he had the thesaurus handy, and it even invades the dialog with Jack Torrance using the word "dray" when being playful with his wife and son. Even with a character who is supposed to be a writer this somehow strained credibility for me. And one of the strongest aspects of the novel for me in the middle weakened the conclusion in my opinion - the scariness of not knowing how much of Jack's transformation to evil murderous maniac is because of the hotel and how much is caused by his own inner demons seems completely obliterated by the way his behavior is handled towards the end of the book. King says in "On Writing" that the scariest villains are those with believable motivations that you can almost relate to and it's quite creepy the way Jack's inner rationalisations which eventually lead him to violence almost seem reasonable, and how the same character we might have seen as sympathetic at the start doesn't seem to have had to change all that much to become the bad guy. But by the end he's painted as a decent guy possessed by a demonic hotel and you almost get the sense that the ending was written before the earlier sections detailing Jack's thoughts as he loses his way. But while flawed this is still a horror novel you need to read, and also a painful mediation on how some of the very things that make a man needed by his family - focus on career, discipline, determination and single-mindedness - can backfire and tear a family apart.