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Bag of Bones by Stephen King

Bag of Bones (original 1998; edition 1999)

by Stephen King (Author)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
8,575126577 (3.71)2 / 182
Title:Bag of Bones
Authors:Stephen King (Author)
Info:Pocket Books (1999), 752 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

Bag of Bones by Stephen King (1998)

  1. 40
    Wizard And Glass by Stephen King (beckylynn)
    beckylynn: It's not related to the Dark Tower Series, but I think it's kind of written in the same fashion as Wizard and Glass.......and little bit of a romance theme if you will.
  2. 31
    Lisey's Story by Stephen King (sturlington)
    sturlington: Very similar themes.
  3. 10
    Hay alguien ahi: El chico que no miraba a los ojos by Jorge Magano (nosoyretro)
  4. 33
    Gerald's Game by Stephen King (beckylynn)
    beckylynn: Not exactly a ghost story like Bag of Bones, but thrilling to the end. Starts off fast (however does have sexual content).

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English (120)  French (2)  Dutch (2)  Finnish (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  All languages (126)
Showing 1-5 of 120 (next | show all)
What is a bag of bones? In Stephen King's eponymous novel there is more than one answer. A character in a novel can be merely a bag of bones, a flat character, that is. It can also be taken quite literally, that is bones put in a bag and buried in the ground. The protagonist in this novel is not just a bag of bones. Mike Noonan is a writer who suffers from writer's block after his wife's sudden and unexpected death. As he decides for a change of place and relocates to his secluded vacation house in an unicorporated town simply called 'the TR', something is not right. There are dreams about the house, there are whispers in the house, fridge magnets move around on their own to create short messages. Mike Noonan wants to find out more about the goings-on on the TR and comes ever closer to uncovering a past that many in the town would rather keep buried. Right on his first day, Noonan meets Mattie Devore, a young widow in her twenties who has a three-year-old daughter. After their paths cross, Mike Noonan takes an interest in their lives. Soon, a connection between Mattie's father-in-law and the town's dubious past surfaces.

While Stephen King managed to entertain me with yet another good novel in which the characters are not simply bags of bones, I could not really connect to the story fully. The relation between Mike Noonan and Mattie Devore is what kept me reading, but I found myself less and less interested in the background story of the TR at a certain point. I cannot quite put my finger on what it was that bugged me, but it might have been the too-much-work-induced break of some weeks in my reading process that probably made me lose the connection to the novel. I never really found my way back in fully. It was not that I could not remember certain details or parts that might have been important, it is rather that I somehow did not feel the plot. All in all, Bag of Bones is a fairly good and enjoyable read, but for me it lacked that extra something. 3.5 stars. ( )
  OscarWilde87 | Jun 5, 2019 |
Excerpts from my original GR review (Apr 2009):
- Engaging, page-turning ghostly yarn, and thankfully a quickish read... Mike Noonan is frozen in grief and mired in writer's block after his young wife's tragic death. He seeks sanctuary of sorts at their lakehouse, but confronts anything but rest.
- Besides King's usual ascension of terror as the story progresses, I thought he did a great job with characters. The fiendish old Max Devore and his horrid mistress Rogette serve as truly detestable antagonists. Mike is left alone in his standoff with both his human enemies and the mysterious hauntings which invade even his dreams...
- I found myself quietly rooting for the helpless Mattie and Kyra, never sure how their fates would play out. My interest held steady despite the length, so that I might tackle another King tome, like The Stand. ( )
  ThoughtPolice | Aug 31, 2018 |
I began reading this book January of this year, and ended up setting it aside. I find it amusing that I finished it over the course of a year, though I did start it over again to do so - can't have myself forgetting anything important, can I?

Bag of Bones was a good book, though not a great one. It is an interesting example of a turning point in Stephen King's writing. The style of the book wavers from time to time, and there are several instances where Stephen King's normally beautiful grasp of language turns uncertain, even self-conscious. There are several points where I lost the thread of the story due to the nature of the writing, but it was worth keeping up with.

What Bag of Bones lacks in terms of confident writing it makes up for in a wonderful plot. The first person narration goes haywire from time to time - hints are dropped, forgotten, brought up again - in the course of reading large chunks of the book the reader can surmise some of the conclusions before Noonan himself does. While not as tightly plotted as some of King's later books, this one does show the confidence to come. Like a crossword puzzle, the book builds up to that singular point where everything falls into place.

Needless to say, I did enjoy the book, and I would recommend it both for its strengths and for its faults. It is a fun and engrossing read and I look forward to seeing that A&E adaptation of it.

Happy writing. ( )
1 vote Lepophagus | Jun 14, 2018 |
A mild book. ( )
  godmotherx5 | Apr 5, 2018 |
This was a re-read for me, but this book was just as good to me as it ever was. Stephen King truly is a master of the supernatural horror genre.

The characters were all so rich, and in the case of the TR people, down right nasty. The supernatural element had such a sad and twisted root cause and the modern day manifestations really had my heart pounding. ( )
  Moore31 | Feb 25, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 120 (next | show all)
Violence, natural and supernatural, ensues as past and present mix, culminating in a torrent of climaxes that bind and illuminate the novel's many mysteries. From his mint-fresh etching of spooky rural Maine to his masterful pacing and deft handling of numerous themes, particularly of the fragility of our constructs about reality and of love's ability to mend rifts in those constructs, this is one of King's most accomplished novels.
added by Lemeritus | editPublishers Weekly (Aug 31, 1998)
From Kirkus Reviews
Leaving Viking for the storied literary patina of Scribner, current or not, King seemingly strives on the page for a less vulgar gloss. And he eases from horror into romantic suspense, while adding dollops of the supernatural. The probable model: structural echoes of Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca do sound forth, although King never writes one paragraph herein to match du Maurier's opening moonscapes of Manderley. What comes through nevertheless is a strong pull to upgrade his style and storytelling in this his 50th year. Yes, he actually does write better if with less energy and power than in Desperation (1996). In fact, attacking the race problem in lily-white Maine, he even assumes an almost Dreiserian seriousness in his final paragraphs. Well, the story: romantic-suspense novelist Michael Noonan, who summers in Castle Rock on Dark Score Lake, falls into a four-year writer's block when his wife Johanna dies of a brain blowout. Now 40 and childless, Mike has salted away four extra novel manuscripts in his safe-deposit box, one of them 11 years old (shades of Richard Bachman!), and keeps up a pretense of productivity by publishing a ``new'' novel each year. Meanwhile, he finds himself falling for Mattie Devore, a widowed mother half his age. Mattie's late husband is the son of still-thriving half-billionaire computer king Max Devore, 85 years old and monstrous, who plans to gain possession of Mattie's three-year-old daughter, the banally drawn Kyra. Mike's first big question: Did Johanna cuckold him during his long hours writing? If so, will her character reverse our understanding of her, as does Rebecca de Winter's? And how can he help Mattie fight off Max and keep Kyra? The supernatural elements, largely reserved for the interracial climax, are Standard King but fairly mild.
added by kthomp25 | editKirkus Reviews
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Yes, Bartleby, stay there behind your screen, thought I; I shall persecute you no more you are harmless and noiseless as any of these old chairs; in short, I never feel so private as when I know you are here.


Herman Melville
Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again...As I stood there, hushed and still, I could swear that the house was not an empty shell but lived and breathed as it had lived before.


Daphne Du Maurier
Mars is heaven.

Ray Bradbury
This is for Naomi.

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On a very hot day in August of 1994, my wife told me she was going down to Derry Rite Aid to pick up a refill on her sinus medicine prescription -- this is the stuff you can buy over the counter these days, I believe.
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Book description
Set in the Maine territory King has made mythic, Bag of Bones recounts the plight of forty-year-old bestselling novelist Mike Noonan, who is unable to stop grieving even four years after the sudden death of his wife, Jo, and who can no longer bear to face the blank screen of his word processor. Now his nights are plagued by vivid nightmares of the house by the lake. Despite these dreams, or perhaps because of them, Mike finally returns to Sara Laughs, the Noonan's isolated summer home. He finds his beloved Yankee town familiar on its surface, but much changed underneath - held in the grip of a powerful millionaire, Max Devore, who twists the very fabric of the community to his purpose: to take his three-year-old granddaughter away from her widowed young mother. As Mike is drawn into their struggle, as he falls in love with both of them, he is also drawn into the mystery of Sara Laughs, now the site of ghostly visitations, ever-escalating nightmares, and the sudden recovery of his writing ability. What are the forces that have been unleashed here - and what do they want of Mike Noonan?

Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 067102423X, Mass Market Paperback)

No longer content to be the prolific provider of text, King grabs the audio reins to recount this haunted tale of grief, young love, and otherworldly visits. When 40-year-old bestselling novelist Mike Noonan returns to his lakeside cabin to process his wife's death, he finds the place a beacon for nightmares and ghoulish visits. But there's hope in Kingsville, as this struggling writer falls in love with a young widow named Mattie and her 3-year-old psychic daughter, Kyra. If you've never heard King speak, be warned: 19-plus hours of his western Maine, nasal-drenched tones may be more than some listeners can bear. But there's a certain warmth and believability to King's voice--after all, it's his book and he is a middle-aged bestselling novelist--that jive well with Noonan's character. And since King rarely reads his own work, perhaps his doing so indicates that he's especially pleased with Bag of Bones; most listeners should be as well. (Running time: 19.5 hours, 14 cassettes) --Rob McDonald

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:00:38 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Novelist Mike Noonan, still grieving the death of his wife after four years, retreats to Sara Laughs, his isolated summer home, but the peace he is seeking slips even further from his grasp when he finds the community in the grip of a powerful millionaire, and his hideaway becomes the site of ghostly visitations.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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