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Product Description

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Before Doctor Sleep, there was The Shining, a classic of modern American horror from the undisputed master, Stephen King.

Jack Torrance’s new job at the Overlook Hotel is the perfect chance for a fresh start. As the off-season caretaker at the atmospheric old hotel, he’ll have plenty of time to spend reconnecting with his family and working on his writing. But as the harsh winter weather sets in, the idyllic location feels ever more remote . . . and more sinister. And the only one to notice the strange and terrible forces gathering around the Overlook is Danny Torrance, a uniquely gifted five-year-old.

Review

“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.
 
www.stephenking.com

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Excerpted from Chapter One



Jack Torrance thought: Officious little prick.

Ullman stood five-five, and when he moved, it was with the prissy speed that seems to be the exclusive domain of all small plump men. The part in his hair was exact, and his dark suit was sober but comforting. I am a man you can bring your problems to, that suit said to the paying customer. To the hired help it spoke more curtly: This had better be good, you. There was a red carnation in the lapel, perhaps so that no one on the street would
mistake Stuart Ullman for the local undertaker.

As he listened to Ullman speak, Jack admitted to himself that he probably could not have liked any man on that side of the desk—under the circumstances.

Ullman had asked a question he hadn’t caught. That was bad; Ullman was the type of man who would file such lapses away in a mental Rolodex for later consideration.

“I’m sorry?”

“I asked if your wife fully understood what you would be taking on here. And there’s your son, of course.” He glanced down at the application in front of him. “Daniel. Your wife isn’t a bit intimidated by the idea?”

“Wendy is an extraordinary woman.”

“And your son is also extraordinary?”

Jack smiled, a big wide PR smile. “We like to think so, I suppose. He’s quite self-reliant for a five-year-old.”

No returning smile from Ullman. He slipped Jack’s application back into a file. The file went into a drawer. The desk top was now completely bare except for a blotter, a telephone, a Tensor lamp, and an in/out basket. Both sides of the in/out were empty, too.

Ullman stood up and went to the file cabinet in the corner. “Step around the desk, if you will, Mr. Torrance. We’ll look at the hotel floor plans.”

He brought back five large sheets and set them down on the glossy walnut plane of the desk. Jack stood by his shoulder, very much aware of the scent of Ullman’s cologne. All my men wear English Leather or they wear nothing at all came into his mind for no reason at all, and he had to clamp his tongue between his teeth to keep in a bray of laughter. Beyond the wall, faintly, came the sounds of the Overlook Hotel’s kitchen, gearing down from lunch.

“Top floor,” Ullman said briskly. “The attic. Absolutely nothing up there now but bric-a-brac. The Overlook has changed hands several times since World War II and it seems that each successive manager has put everything they don’t want up in the attic. I want rattraps and poison bait sowed around in it. Some of the third-floor chambermaids say they have heard rustling noises. I don’t believe it, not for a moment, but there mustn’t even be that one-in-a-hundred chance that a single rat inhabits the Overlook Hotel.”

Jack, who suspected that every hotel in the world had a rat or two, held his tongue.

“Of course you wouldn’t allow your son up in the attic under any circumstances.”

“No,” Jack said, and flashed the big PR smile again. Humiliating situation. Did this officious little prick actually think he would allow his son to goof around in a rattrap attic full of junk furniture and God knew what else?

Ullman whisked away the attic floor plan and put it on the bottom of the pile.

“The Overlook has one hundred and ten guest quarters,” he said in a scholarly voice. “Thirty of them, all suites, are here on the third floor. Ten in the west wing (including the Presidential Suite), ten in the center, ten more in the east wing. All of them command magnificent views.”

Could you at least spare the salestalk?

But he kept quiet. He needed the job.

Ullman put the third floor on the bottom of the pile and they studied the second floor.
“Forty rooms,” Ullman said, “thirty doubles and ten singles. And on the first floor, twenty of each. Plus three linen closets on each floor, and a storeroom which is at the extreme east end of the hotel on the second floor and the extreme west end on the first. Questions?”

Jack shook his head. Ullman whisked the second and first floors away.

“Now. Lobby level. Here in the center is the registration desk. Behind it are the offices. The lobby runs for eighty feet in either direction from the desk. Over here in the west wing is the Overlook Dining Room and the Colorado Lounge. The banquet and ballroom facility is in the east wing. Questions?”

“Only about the basement,” Jack said. “For the winter caretaker, that’s the most important level of all. Where the action is, so to speak.”

“Watson will show you all that. The basement floor plan is on the boiler room wall.” He frowned impressively, perhaps to show that as manager, he did not concern himself with such mundane aspects of the Overlook’s operation as the boiler and the plumbing. “Might not be a bad idea to put some traps down there too. Just a minute...”

He scrawled a note on a pad he took from his inner coat pocket (each sheet bore the legend From the Desk of Stuart Ullman in bold black script), tore it off, and dropped it into the out basket. It sat there looking lonesome. The pad disappeared back into Ullman’s jacket pocket like the conclusion of a magician’s trick. Now you see it, Jacky-boy, now you don’t. This guy is a real heavyweight.

They had resumed their original positions, Ullman behind the desk and Jack in front of it, interviewer and interviewee, supplicant and reluctant patron. Ullman folded his neat little hands on the desk blotter and looked directly at Jack, a small, balding man in a banker’s suit and a quiet gray tie. The flower in his lapel was balanced off by a small lapel pin on the other side. It read simply STAFF  in small gold letters.

“I’ll be perfectly frank with you, Mr. Torrance. Albert Shockley is a powerful man with a large interest in the Overlook, which showed a profit this season for the first time in its history. Mr. Shockley also sits on the Board of Directors, but he is not a hotel man and he would be the first to admit this. But he has made his wishes in this caretaking matter quite obvious. He wants you hired. I will do so. But if I had been given a free hand in this matter, I would not have taken you on.”

Jack’s hands were clenched tightly in his lap, working against each other, sweating. Officious little prick, officious little prick, officious—

“I don’t believe you care much for me, Mr. Torrance. I don’t care. Certainly your feelings toward me play no part in my own belief that you are not right for the job. During the season that runs from May fifteenth to September thirtieth, the Overlook employs one hun- dred and ten people full-time; one for every room in the hotel, you might say. I don’t think many of them like me and I suspect that some of them think I’m a bit of a bastard. They would be correct in their judgment of my character. I have to be a bit of a bastard to run this hotel in the manner it deserves.”

He looked at Jack for comment, and Jack flashed the PR smile again, large and insultingly toothy.

Ullman said: “The Overlook was built in the years 1907 to 1909. The closest town is Sidewinder, forty miles east of here over roads that are closed from sometime in late October or November until sometime in April. A man named Robert Townley Watson built it, the grandfather of our present maintenance man. Vanderbilts have stayed here, and Rockefellers, and Astors, and Du Ponts. Four Presidents have stayed in the Presidential Suite. Wilson, Harding, Roosevelt, and Nixon.”

“I wouldn’t be too proud of Harding and Nixon,” Jack murmured.

Ullman frowned but went on regardless. “It proved too much for Mr. Watson, and he sold the hotel in 1915. It was sold again in 1922, in 1929, in 1936. It stood vacant until the end of World War II, when it was purchased and completely renovated by Horace Derwent, millionaire inventor, pilot, film producer, and entrepreneur.”

“I know the name,” Jack said.

“Yes. Everything he touched seemed to turn to gold... except the Overlook. He funneled over a million dollars into it before the first postwar guest ever stepped through its doors, turning a decrepit relic into a show- place. It was Derwent who added the roque court I saw you admiring when you arrived.”

“Roque? ”

“A British forebear of our croquet, Mr. Torrance. Croquet is bastardized roque. According to legend, Derwent learned the game from his social secretary and fell completely in love with it. Ours may be the finest roque court in America.”

“I wouldn’t doubt it,” Jack said gravely. A roque court, a topiary full of hedge animals out front, what next? A life-sized Uncle Wiggily game behind the equipment shed? He was getting very tired of Mr. Stuart Ullman, but he could see that Ullman wasn’t done. Ullman was going to have his say, every last word of it.

“When he had lost three million, Derwent sold it to a group of California investors. Their experience with the Overlook was equally bad. Just not hotel people.

“In 1970, Mr. Shockley and a group of his associates bought the hotel and turned its management over to me. We have also run in the red for several years, but I’m happy to say that the trust of the present owners in me has never wavered. Last year we broke even. And this year the Overlook’s accounts were written in black ink for the first time in almost seven decades.”

Jack supposed that this fussy little man’s pride was justified, and then his original dislike washed over him again in a wave.

He said: “I see no connection between the Overlook’s admittedly colorful history and your feeling that I’m wrong for the post, Mr. Ullman.”

“One reason that the Overlook has lost so much money lies in the depreciation that occurs each winter. It shortens the profit margin a great deal more than you might believe, Mr. Torrance. The winters are fantastically cruel. In order to cope with the problem, I’ve installed a full-time winter caretaker to run the boiler and to heat different parts of the hotel on a daily rotating basis. To repair breakage as it occurs and to do repairs, so the elements can’t get a foothold. To be constantly alert to any and every contingency. During our first winter I hired a family instead of a single man. There was a tragedy. A horrible tragedy.”

Ullman looked at Jack coolly and appraisingly.

“I made a mistake. I admit it freely. The man was a drunk.”

Jack felt a slow, hot grin—the total antithesis of the toothy PR grin—stretch across his mouth. “Is that it? I’m surprised Al didn’t tell you. I’ve retired.”

“Yes, Mr. Shockley told me you no longer drink. He also told me about your last job... your last position of trust, shall we say? You were teaching English in a Vermont prep school. You lost your temper, I don’t believe I need to be any more specific than that. But I do happen to believe that Grady’s case has a bearing, and that is why I have brought the matter of your... uh, previous history into the conversation. During the winter of 1970–71, after we had refurbished the Overlook but before our first season, I hired this... this unfortunate named Delbert Grady. He moved into the quarters you and your wife and son will be sharing. He had a wife and two daughters. I had reservations, the main ones being the harshness of the winter season and the fact that the Gradys would be cut off from the outside world for five to six months.”

“But that’s not really true, is it? There are telephones here, and probably a citizen’s band radio as well. And the Rocky Mountain National Park is within helicopter range and surely a piece of ground that big must have a chopper or two.”

“I wouldn’t know about that,” Ullman said. “The hotel does have a two-way radio that Mr. Watson will show you, along with a list of the correct frequencies to broadcast on if you need help. The telephone lines between here and Sidewinder are still aboveground, and they go down almost every winter at some point or other and are apt to stay down for three weeks to a month and a half. There is a snowmobile in the equipment shed also.”

“Then the place really isn’t cut off.”

Mr. Ullman looked pained. “Suppose your son or your wife tripped on the stairs and fractured his or her skull, Mr. Torrance. Would you think the place was cut off then?”

Jack saw the point. A snowmobile running at top speed could get you down to Sidewinder in an hour and a half... maybe. A helicopter from the Parks Rescue Service could get up here in three hours... under optimum conditions. In a blizzard it would never even be able to lift off and you couldn’t hope to run a snowmobile at top speed, even if you dared take a seriously injured person out into temperatures that might be twenty-five below—or forty-five below, if you added in the wind chill factor.

“In the case of Grady,” Ullman said, “I reasoned much as Mr. Shockley seems to have done in your case. Solitude can be damaging in itself. Better for the man to have his family with him. If there was trouble, I thought, the odds were very high that it would be something less urgent than a fractured skull or an accident with one of the power tools or some sort of convulsion. A serious case of the flu, pneumonia, a broken arm, even appendicitis. Any of those things would have left enough time.

“I suspect that what happened came as a result of too much cheap whiskey, of which Grady had laid in a generous supply, unbeknownst to me, and a curious condition which the old-timers call cabin fever. Do you know the term?” Ullman offered a patronizing little smile, ready to explain as soon as Jack admitted his ignorance, and Jack was happy to respond quickly and crisply.

“It’s a slang term for the claustrophobic reaction that can occur when people are shut in together over long periods of time. The feeling of claustrophobia is externalized as dislike for the people you happen to be shut in with. In extreme cases it can result in hallucinations and violence—murder has been done over such minor things as a burned meal or an argument about whose turn it is to do the dishes.”

Ullman looked rather nonplussed, which did Jack a world of good. He decided to press a little further, but silently promised Wendy he would stay cool.

“I suspect you did make a mistake at that. Did he hurt them?”

“He killed them, Mr. Torrance, and then committed suicide. He murdered the little girls with a hatchet, his wife with a shotgun, and himself the same way. His leg was broken. Undoubtedly so drunk he fell downstairs.”

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4.8 out of 54.8 out of 5
18,578 global ratings

Top reviews from the United States

Ronnie
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Still Holds Up
Reviewed in the United States on December 12, 2018
I read this masterpiece back when originally released. Following that, I have watched the Kubrick movie every Halloween since its release on DVD sometime last century. Love both. The book is dark and the movie captures the required essence, but the book gets deeper into... See more
I read this masterpiece back when originally released. Following that, I have watched the Kubrick movie every Halloween since its release on DVD sometime last century. Love both. The book is dark and the movie captures the required essence, but the book gets deeper into Jack''s mind which is not a fun place. The book and movie conflict on room #''s 217 vs. 237, and Wendy''s hair color, which I have embedded as that of Ms. Duvall''s. And anyone interested will find on the inter-web a plethora of reasons these were changed from book to movie. Fun stuff. If you have never read the Shining, please give yourself a gift and read it if you enjoy horror. And if you haven''t read it this century, try it again, as it may very well scare you in new ways. I live in Maine and while SK is our scary hero, he is also a great neighbor in our state.
94 people found this helpful
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Monic
1.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Misprint
Reviewed in the United States on April 4, 2019
I ordered this book for my daughter and it was misprinted. The cover looked like it was cut off and while we would’ve been fine with that, the inside of the book had the same problem. It was as if they printed the book crookedly... See more
I ordered this book for my daughter and it was misprinted. The cover looked like it was cut off and while we would’ve been fine with that, the inside of the book had the same problem. It was as if they printed the book crookedly because the words are off the page and it’s impossible to read. We’ve notified amazon and they say they are going to send another copy, hopefully the next copy is better.
36 people found this helpful
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Michelle Mirick
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
But I was actually caught off guard and found myself loving the book more then I loved the movie
Reviewed in the United States on April 27, 2017
I had seen the movie before I read the book so going in I thought I knew what to expect. But I was actually caught off guard and found myself loving the book more then I loved the movie. I still think the movie is good but this book is just... more. The... See more
I had seen the movie before I read the book so going in I thought I knew what to expect. But I was actually caught off guard and found myself loving the book more then I loved the movie. I still think the movie is good but this book is just... more.

The characters in this book are just so complex. Each one of them feels real. One moment I am sympathetic with Jack a man who just can''t seem to get a break. But the next moment I am scared of him and what he might do to his family. Wendy is also so much more complex. I found myself really interested in her and absolutely scared for her life.

Danny though is my favorite. He''s such a bright and sweet boy and it was interesting to get into his head. I loved to read how conflicted he got between protecting his family but also not wanting to upset them. I also really love his interactions with Dick Hallorann who is also very interesting.

Overall this is an excellent creepy read.
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buyer
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Sorry to say, the movie is better
Reviewed in the United States on January 9, 2019
Everyone likes to say "the book is better" whenever the subject of a movie that was based on a book comes up, whether they''ve read it or not. Stanley Kubrick did it better than Stephen King. I don''t want to give spoilers, but in typical King fashion, this story entertains... See more
Everyone likes to say "the book is better" whenever the subject of a movie that was based on a book comes up, whether they''ve read it or not. Stanley Kubrick did it better than Stephen King. I don''t want to give spoilers, but in typical King fashion, this story entertains the supernatural more than the movie did, which I personally do not appreciate. My brain is not as artistically imaginative as Stanley Kubrick''s work, and without the amazing acting by everyone in that film to fill in the blanks, it didn''t make it into any kind of top 20 all time list for me like the film did. I do like that Danny is the main focus over Jack though, and I like the background it provides that the movie does not.

Even so, it was gripping enough that I read it in 3 nights. And I''ll probably reread it again in a year or so.
25 people found this helpful
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Kindle Customer
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Glad I finally read the book!
Reviewed in the United States on October 12, 2018
I''ve been a huge fan of Stanley Kubrick''s movie adaptation of The Shining since I was a kid. Every year in the fall I get the inkling to scare myself silly, and this year I decided to finally read Stephen King''s book version of an old favorite movie. Suffice to say, I am so... See more
I''ve been a huge fan of Stanley Kubrick''s movie adaptation of The Shining since I was a kid. Every year in the fall I get the inkling to scare myself silly, and this year I decided to finally read Stephen King''s book version of an old favorite movie. Suffice to say, I am so glad I finally took the time to read this book.

There are so many subtle things in this book that build the anticipation and terror as it progresses. Several times I had to put it down for a day or two because I got a bit too freaked out by it. The imagery and description of the Overlook and characters as the story unfolds is intense and captivating. In particular, I was terrified by the scenes including the wasps, the hedge animals, and the use of the mallet. These are key differences between the book and the movie that I am shocked by, now that I''ve read the book. Those scenes were brilliantly written by King, and I actually am disappointed that they didn''t make the movie version.

Great book with lots of very intelligently woven themes about family, devotion, addiction, and overcoming personal demons. I highly recommend reading this if you haven''t done so already.
25 people found this helpful
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Ritesh Laud
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Good entertainment, great horror
Reviewed in the United States on December 15, 2016
I generally find it difficult to get terribly engrossed in horror novels where supernatural entities (or divine for that matter) play a prominent role, and The Shining is a good example of such for me. However, though I may not really have lost myself in this novel, King''s... See more
I generally find it difficult to get terribly engrossed in horror novels where supernatural entities (or divine for that matter) play a prominent role, and The Shining is a good example of such for me. However, though I may not really have lost myself in this novel, King''s skill at building suspense kept me turning the pages late into the night multiple times and it''s been a while since that''s happened. There are many who write more eloquently, many who craft more impressive plots, and many who are more deft at building characters, but I think few exceed King in ability to make a reader simultaneously desire and dread reading the next paragraph or turning the page. He is very, very good at describing various evil beings'' appearances, actions, and manners of speaking. I re-read several passages in The Shining multiple times just to gape again at what was happening or how a character just barely escaped a horrific death.

Apart from The Running Man, a quite different type of novel, this is actually the first book by Stephen King I''ve read. I do have a few more on the shelves and am really looking forward to them, not so much for the stories / plots but rather for the goosebumps and tension I experienced while reading The Shining.

I ought to mention that King''s style here is dry and matter of fact, and the family members seem quite wooden initially. Over several chapters he does throw in a great deal of background history on the family and this helps flesh them out quite a bit, but they never became completely convincing to me. This and the somewhat formulaic plot based on a haunted hotel detracted somewhat from the overall experience, but once winter set in and the action began I easily understood why King is so celebrated.
28 people found this helpful
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Crime Book Investigator
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Instagram| @Booked.Everynight
Reviewed in the United States on November 2, 2018
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ •HEREEESSSSSS JOHNNNYYY!!!! October means the king of terror, Steven King, is in full force!! Re-reading The Shining, putting it in the Freezer when necessary, & watching the movie is an October must! ————————————————————— •For those of you who aren’t familiar... See more
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ •HEREEESSSSSS JOHNNNYYY!!!! October means the king of terror, Steven King, is in full force!! Re-reading The Shining, putting it in the Freezer when necessary, & watching the movie is an October must! —————————————————————
•For those of you who aren’t familiar with The Shining.... When Jack Torrance, a college professor with a temper only fueled by a minor drinking problem, is offered a winter job at the Overlook Hotel- Jack, his wife Wendy, & his shining son Danny head for the hills, literally! Overlook hotel is a prestigious hotel with all the best features & outdoor views. The Torrance family is hired on to look after the hotel during the winter so that the regular staff can take some time off. Thinking this is their chance to mend family wounds & for Jack to get back to his writing, the Torrance crew is thrilled for the opportunity- until they aren’t. The last man who brought his family up for the winter shift killed his entire family & then himself. Workers refuse to go into one specific room, & people swear they see & hear things. Before long the Torrance family is seeing & hearing things too. One thing is clear- the Overlook Hotel doesn’t want them to leave & not everyone will!
The Shining is currently available on @Netflix so make sure to add it to your October chills & thrills!
9 people found this helpful
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Reader2307
1.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Human Places Make Inhuman Monsters
Reviewed in the United States on March 20, 2020
Jack Torrance is an aspiring author, who after being fired from his prestigious teaching job, is hired to be the winter caretaker at the Overlook Hotel. Unfortunately for Jack’s young son Danny, who has a supernatural gift called The Shining, the hotel has a life of its own... See more
Jack Torrance is an aspiring author, who after being fired from his prestigious teaching job, is hired to be the winter caretaker at the Overlook Hotel. Unfortunately for Jack’s young son Danny, who has a supernatural gift called The Shining, the hotel has a life of its own and it is feeding off Danny’s gift.

My biggest gripe with this novel is King’s disastrous attempt to create a complicated villain. King gives Jack a painfully contrived past that instead of making Jack more interesting it just comes across as King making excuses for his protagonist. I think it would been much more interesting if Jack has been an unrepentant ‘bad guy’.

I was also uncomfortable with King’s liberal use of the n-word. This book was not scary at all. A lot of the scares were repetitive and childish.
6 people found this helpful
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Top reviews from other countries

Jane
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Yes its creepy. Yes it scared me. Yes I loved it.
Reviewed in India on November 12, 2017
My first Stephen King read. And I don''t think I''ll be reading another one anytime soon. Because this book gave me the creeps. There have been so many books that left me disappointed despite being hyped and loved. And only very few that did live upto my expectations....See more
My first Stephen King read. And I don''t think I''ll be reading another one anytime soon. Because this book gave me the creeps. There have been so many books that left me disappointed despite being hyped and loved. And only very few that did live upto my expectations. Clearly, THE SHINING falls in the latter category. I had never read a horror-thriller book. I was always curious about how a book had the capability of evoking creepy disturbing thoughts in your head and leave you scared. THE SHINING made me experience all that. And that''s why I loved it so much.
100 people found this helpful
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G. Robinson
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Almost perfect.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 29, 2018
Jack Torrance needs to get away, anywhere will do as long as he can have some peace and quiet. He needs to forget about getting fired from his job as a teacher for a violent assault, forget about his excess drinking, forget about having broken his young sons arm in a fit of...See more
Jack Torrance needs to get away, anywhere will do as long as he can have some peace and quiet. He needs to forget about getting fired from his job as a teacher for a violent assault, forget about his excess drinking, forget about having broken his young sons arm in a fit of uncontrolled anger and at least try and bury deep down his seething and uncontrollable resentment that his wife knows exactly what he really is, a drunken violent bully with a temper! Five months as a caretaker in a supposedly haunted and extremely empty Colorado hotel cut off from the outside world by deep snow sounds just about right. Perhaps he can write the great American novel, perhaps he can finish his long gesturing play, or maybe just maybe he will try to murder his family! Stephen Kings utterly fantastical supernatural novel introduces us, from page one, to one of his finest ever creations, the truly frightening Jack Torrence. On a par with the deranged nurse Annie Wilkes from Misery, Jack is a supremely complicated man who seems uncomfortable with the world around him, his high opinion of himself and his intelligent is at odds with his inability to recognise or even accept his own deep and ultimately fatal personal flaws. Jack, like al Psychopaths, sees the world in terms of himself, and sees his son and wife as merely extensions of him, they live in his world and are expected to follow the rules as he sees them. He doesn''t outwardly hate them but he doesn''t love or really care for them either, he just seems to accept them as a necessary inconvenience that he just has to put up with to appear normal. It''s his well practised outward projection of ordinariness that sets him apart from your run of the mill homicidal killer, he''s the kind of person you don''t notice, the guy who mows his lawn and takes out the trash, the guy who takes his kid to the park, the guy who is always pleasant and says hello. However there is something old and ugly hiding in Jack Torrence, something from his past, something rotten, something extremely dangerous, something deadly waiting to emerge. Although The Shining is at heart a variation on a “ghost story”, King''s ability to present the reader with real and credible (if horrible) characters lifts this novel to a higher plane. Jack''s tortured and often very unpleasant internal narrative peppers the text and even interrupts his own lines of dialogue and in doing so we see him in a much broader light. We see what he is saying and also know what he is really thinking in real time. We know he lies, we know he is weak and frustrated, we know he does not respect or love his wife and we know of his true feelings, those he keeps well hidden possible even from himself. Some have said rather unfairly that it''s not “very scary” or words to that effect. It is certainly true that some of the book is about Jacks early life and it does take some time to set the stage. However once set the terror builds as Jack becomes more unstable and unpredictable. The true horror of possible living with an undiagnosed and extremely dangerous psychopath who believes ghosts are communicating with him to kill his family becomes very real. As his and Danny''s visions become more “real” the fight for survival intensifies as does the pace of the book. I found it very scary, not for the ghosts but Jack''s inability to hold onto reality. Whether the hotel really does have “demons” that can affect a weak and easily dominated mind or the “demons” are his own fully formed ready for use in the right circumstances is a debate for another time. King thought one way (the hotel was haunted) and that Jack was a victim. Kubrick the other (the hotel was just a hotel) and Jack was a Psychopath, however which ever way you side it''s a grand ride finding out. I have always felt that Kings earlier work (pre 1995) was his best. This his third novel is probably his second best novel after The Green Mile and that is saying something. Enjoy.
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Michael P Crouch.
2.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Read War and Peace instead.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 30, 2019
Having watched Stanley Kubrick''s film ''The Shining'' several times I was persuaded by all the enthusiastic revues (the Book''s better than the Film) to read the Stephen King novel it''s based on. Lets be clear about this, I''m not adverse to long novels, I read Leo Tolstoy''s...See more
Having watched Stanley Kubrick''s film ''The Shining'' several times I was persuaded by all the enthusiastic revues (the Book''s better than the Film) to read the Stephen King novel it''s based on. Lets be clear about this, I''m not adverse to long novels, I read Leo Tolstoy''s ''War and Peace'' (1400 pages) in my twenties, (a long time ago) but whereas Tolstoy''s novel covered a vast amount of material, plus very interesting characters, King''s book is exasperatingly ''long winded'' more than half it''s length could of been trimmed to better effect. I had assumed the ''scary bits'' in the movie were taken from the book, when in fact none of them were, topiary animals coming to life ''aren''t'' scary, though Mr King obviously thinks they are, reviving them again and again throughout the novel undermining what tension there is in the book and culminating in a ludicrous/hilarious encounter between Hallorann (arriving at the ''Overlook'' to confront a very ''real'' madman) and a ''HEDGELION !!!'' Fire extinguisher''s aren''t scary either in fact unforgivably King''s book isn''t particularly frightening. So I''m going to state (blasphemously) that the film IS better than the book !! ......... try hedgehogs next time ...
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Richa Mehndiratta
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
#ReadavorousReview
Reviewed in India on October 3, 2019
To begin with it took me three weeks to read this novel. I was scared to bits and I still am. NOT recommending this book for the weak hearts! The book begins with the introduction of the “Torrance family” that has Jack, Wendy and their five year-old son Danny. Jack is...See more
To begin with it took me three weeks to read this novel. I was scared to bits and I still am. NOT recommending this book for the weak hearts! The book begins with the introduction of the “Torrance family” that has Jack, Wendy and their five year-old son Danny. Jack is talented but not successful as a writer. His alcoholism and temper made him lose his job and has nearly destroyed an ability he had to earn a living. He gets his last chance, through the offices of an old friend, which is to work as a caretaker in the “Outlook Hotel”. During the winter months, the hotel gets covered in snow and is inaccessible, Jack and his family sign the four months contract of complete isolation. As an added warning by one of the employees, Jack was told that the previous caretaker Grady had gone crazy with cabin fever and killed his wife and two daughters and then himself. Knowing that he has no other options, Jack agrees to take the job in the hopes that when spring comes, his play will be completed and the family will be able to make a fresh start. A famous horror novel, “The Shining” has the ability to scare its readers. The book is not very violent, but there are many jump scares and disturbing accounts, many of which may be too frightening for the fresh readers. It deals with themes of demonic possession and maintains an unsettling atmosphere throughout. Lastly, I’m a big fan of horror movies and novels, but this is quite possibly the scariest I’ve ever read. This is not a gory, jump-scare heavy, fright fest, it’s a slow burn movie that doesn’t need those things to scare you. #A Great Masterpiece! No wonder Stephen King is a “PRO” in horror writing!
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hibbzie.
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
The Shining:Book one. (As always no spoilers)
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 26, 2019
I really enjoyed the 1980''s film version starring Jack Nicholson, and i kind of figured that there would be a few differences, but after reading the book i realised that the film is way off base from Stephen King''s book, and it''s no wonder that SK was so famously outspoken...See more
I really enjoyed the 1980''s film version starring Jack Nicholson, and i kind of figured that there would be a few differences, but after reading the book i realised that the film is way off base from Stephen King''s book, and it''s no wonder that SK was so famously outspoken as to his dislike of the film. But there is a 1990''s television mini series that I''ve heard hits closer to the mark that I''ve yet to see. This is a review of Stephen King''s novel, NOT the film or the television mini series. Danny Torrance is a young boy with psychic abilities, when his recovering alcoholic father gets a job as the winter caretaker of the remote Overlook Hotel Danny and his mother go with him. Danny''s visions of horrible events that happened at the hotel in it''s past start as they are being shown around and he knows that the Overlook hotel is a bad place to be. As the winter snow comes in, cutting the family of from civilization, Danny''s father''s behaviour becomes more erratic and unpredictable and eventually dangerous for Danny and his mother. With ghosts, visions and psychological horror, the Shining by Stephen King is a VERY good horror story, I would say one of his best, right up there with the likes of Salems Lot which is another SK novel that i recommend if you enjoy horror. Stephen King has also written Doctor Sleep which is The Shining book two. I give The Shining 5 well deserved stars.
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