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Bag of Bones by Stephen King

Bag of Bones (original 1998; edition 2008)

by Stephen King

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
7,430108472 (3.7)2 / 172
Title:Bag of Bones
Authors:Stephen King
Info:Gallery Books (2008), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 560 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 (102)  French (2)  Dutch (2)  Finnish (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  All languages (108)
Showing 1-5 of 102 (next | show all)
Yes it's bloated and puffy, but it's also scary as hell. In fact, I'd deem this novel the scariest of the Kings that I've read. I finished BoB at 3:00 am and subsequently left my home for the brightly and fluorescently lit aisles of Albertson's Food King and wandered around the store until the scary went away, which was sometime around 7:00 am. ( )
  evamat72 | Mar 31, 2016 |
Definitely not my favourite of him. Read just once.
  Marlene-NL | Mar 12, 2016 |
After bestselling author Mike Noonan's wife dies, he suffers the world's worst case of writer's block, learns that there are some things that his wife never told him about, discovers that his summer house is haunted, and gets drawn into a custody battle between a nice young woman and her nasty old father-in-law.

It's a decent read, although far from perfect. The narrative cheats a little here and there (although maybe mostly in excusable ways), and it ends with an unfortunately clunky, exposition-laden epilog. There's a small child who's only occasionally believable as being the age she's supposed to be, and a bad guy so cartoonishly evil that during the (mercifully short) time that he's actually, so to speak, on-screen, my suspension of disbelief snapped like a twig. And there's a plot point near the end that's such an unpleasant cliche that even the main character explicitly acknowledges how bad it is. (I can't quite make up my mind whether that makes it more palatable or not.) I suppose I should also add that this definitely isn't a book for those who aren't okay with reading about a lot of ugly topics, as it features everything from small-town racism to sexual violence to murdered children. Although maybe that kind of warning goes without saying when you're talking about a horror novel.

Anyway. Definitely a flawed book, but the story itself is good enough. The main character is well-drawn -- perhaps unsurprisingly, since if there's one thing King knows, it's what the inside of a writer's mind is like. The ghost story elements aren't quite as creepy as King can be at his best -- possibly deliberately, as if they were too hair-raising, it would be impossible to believe the guy would ever stay in that house, no matter what excuses the author comes up with to keep him there -- but they're interesting nonetheless. As are the bits of history that King slowly reveals.

Like many later Stephen King novels, though, it does suffer from being way, way longer than it really ought to be. It's not that it's tediously slow; the individual pages turn fast enough, for the most part. It's just that it's so easy to see that it'd be immensely to the book's benefit if it were trimmed down and tightened up by at least a couple hundred pages. As it was, by the time I was two-thirds of the way through, the main question in my mind wasn't, "Gosh, I wonder what's going to happen next?", but "How is it that I haven't finished this thing yet?" King did manage to recapture my flagging interest well enough before the end, but, of course, he'd have done better not to lose it in the first place. ( )
  bragan | Jul 3, 2015 |
Bag of Bones is a ghost story, a love story, and a whodunit murder mystery. It is also a story that leaves the listener in doubt about the characters right through to the end. Complemented by sound and music, with lyrics by the author, it was well produced. Initally, it was somewhat slow paced, but picked up as the very long novel led on. Supernatural suspense added to the plot. ( )
  buffalogr | Jan 28, 2015 |
I know I liked it, but truthfully I do not remember the plot. ( )
  Urthwild | Nov 30, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 102 (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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