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Rose Madder by Stephen King

Rose Madder (original 1995; edition 1996)

by Stephen King

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
4,91242932 (3.46)1 / 100
Title:Rose Madder
Authors:Stephen King
Info:Signet (1996), Edition: Open market ed, Mass Market Paperback, 480 pages
Collections:Your library, Read but unowned

Work details

Rose Madder by Stephen King (1995)

  1. 20
    Gerald's Game by Stephen King (sturlington)
    sturlington: King's abused wives phase.

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English (42)  Dutch (1)  All languages (43)
Showing 1-5 of 42 (next | show all)
I'm afraid this is quite lazily written. Norman's condition is one dimensionally drawn. If you've read The Shining you know he can do this better. The love affair reads like a badly written romance. If you've read 'Salem's Lot you know he can do this better too. Early on the story reads well but the fantasy seems arbitrary and any meaning he wants to find in it comes too late to save the novel. ( )
  Lukerik | Nov 26, 2015 |
In 'On Writing', Stephen King describes 'Rose Madder', as well as 1994's 'Insomnia', as "stiff, trying-too-hard novels". It's a critique that I can only agree with. 'Rose Madder' is certainly better than 'Insomnia', a book I have tried and failed to complete on two separate occasions, but it is lacking that undefinable... something that usually makes King's writing so compelling.

My main problem with it is its dull supernatural B-plot about a magical painting connected with Greek mythology, which always feels unnecessarily tacked on to an otherwise gripping thriller about a battered wife escaping her abusive, psychopathic police officer husband. In fact, the A-plot is so captivating and filled with suspense and paranoia that one wonders just why King felt he had to shoehorn in the surreal dreamworld of the titular painting. Rosie's husband is a frightening enough antagonist in his own right, and her attempts to flee and start a new life and his dogged pursuit an interesting enough plot without any added supernatural elements.

Maybe King thought the book lacked a sufficiently "Stephen King"-esque hook, or perhaps he just wanted to explore Greek mythology at the time, but either way what could have been a classic in the spirit of 'Cujo' or 'Misery' instead feels like King-by-numbers, the plot grinding to a halt and bordering on self-parody whenever anything magical enters the story. ( )
  asha.leu | Apr 26, 2015 |
This is one of Stephen King's more disturbing books. It deals with domestic violence in which a wife tries to escape of husband who is a cop in order to start her life over. There are some supernatural aspects of the story. But the disturbing aspects of the story is really how he creates the nightmare through the wife's point of view. ( )
  bibliophile_pgh | Jul 25, 2014 |
It was interesting to see where King would take this story of a battered woman, taking it on the run from her (very) violent husband, who is also a cop. His characters, the action, and the supernatural aspects are all over-the-top, but that’s what the genre is about, and I liked how he used restraint in the places where he subtly points out that violence against women is horrifyingly common. It’s a page-turner that you could easily imagine being made into a movie.

On art that moves us:
“…it filled her eyes and her mind with the sort of clean, revelatory excitement that belongs only to the works of art that deeply move us – the song that made us cry, the story that made us see the world clearly from another’s perspective, at least for awhile, the poem that made us glad to be alive, the dance that made us forget for a few minutes that someday we will not be.”

On men:
“His sex-drive had gone on vacation, perhaps even into permanent retirement, and maybe that was just as well. The plumbing between his legs had gotten him into a lot of trouble over the years. It was a hell of a note, the sort of thing that might lead you to believe that God had more in common with Andrew Dice Clay than you maybe wanted to believe. For twelve years you didn’t notice it, and for the next fifty – or even sixty – it dragged you around behind it like some raving baldheaded Tasmanian Devil.”

“…Rosie found time to wonder – not for the first time since she had come to D & S [Daughters and Sisters, a shelter] – why so many men were so unkind. What was wrong with them? Was it something that had been left out, or something nasty which had been unaccountably built in, like a bad circuit in a computer?”

On violence against women:
“She had a sudden and far from pleasant realization: she was not novelty at Portside. This man saw women like her all the time, women hiding behind dark glasses, women buying tickets to different timezones, women who looked as if they had forgotten who they were somewhere along the way, and what they thought they were doing, and why.”

And this one, which made me pause:
“She didn’t know why she had stayed with him, any more than she knew why, in the end, it had taken just a single drop of blood to transform her entire life. She only knew that the shower had been the best place in the house, dark and wet and full of steam, and that sometimes half an hour in Pooh’s Chair felt like five minutes, and that why wasn’t a question that had any meaning when you were living in hell. Hell was motiveless. The women in Therapy Circle had understood that; no one had asked her why she stayed. They knew. From their own experiences, they knew.” ( )
2 vote gbill | Jul 13, 2014 |
Originally posted @ Novel Reveries
I'd give this book 3.5 stars. This story intrigued me from the beginning, confused me in the middle, and then recaptured my intrigue in the end. This has been my relationship with other Stephen King books in the past, so it's not out of the ordinary. The plot is definitely unique from other authors, and although the little "Alice in Wonderland" part became a little laughable in the middle, the reason for it forced sense in it. Rose Madder is a story of an abused wife and how she overcomes the adversity and madness of her husband by going a little mad herself. ( )
  Dnaej | Mar 14, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 42 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Stephen Kingprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Dobner, TullioTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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I'm really Rosie, And I'm Rosie Real, You better believe me, I'm a great big deal... -- Maurice Sendak
A bloody egg yolk. A burnt hole spreading in a sheet. An enraged rose threatening to bloom. -- May Swenson
This book is for Joan Marks.
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She sits in the corner, trying to draw air out of a room which seemed to have plenty just a few minutes ago and now seems to have none.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
Roused by a single drop of blood on the bedsheet, Rosie Daniels wakes from fourteen years of a nightmare marriage and suddenly takes flight. She uses her husband's ATM card to buy a bus ticket, determined to lose herself in a place where Norman won't find her. She'll worry about all the rest later.

Alone in a strange city, she begins to make a new life, and good things start to happen. Meeting Billl Steiner is one; and finding a junk-shop painting is another. lt ma be bad art but it's perfect for her new apartment - and somehow, it seems to want her as much as she wants it.

But escape was not as easy as fleeing to a new city, picking a new name, finding a new job, lucking out with a new man. Her husband, Norman, was a cop, with a cop's training, a cop's technology, a cop's bloodhound instincts. And even worse, Norman was - well, Norman. Rose knew she had been married to a savage brute. Now she realized she was being tracked down by a terrifying monster - but the only place she found to hide could be the most dangerous of all...

Rose-maddended and on the rampage, Norman Daniels becomes a force of relentless terror and savageness, a man almost mythic in his monstrosity. For Rosie to survive, for her to have a chance in her brave new world, she must enter her own myth - a world that lies beyond the surface of a work of art - and become a woman she never knew she could be: Rose Madder.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0451186362, Mass Market Paperback)

After 14 years of being beaten, Rose Daniels wakes up one morning and leaves her husband -- but she keeps looking over her shoulder, because Norman has the instincts of a predator. And what is the strange work of art that has Rose in a kind of spell? In this brilliant dark-hued fable of the gender wars, Stephen King has fashioned yet another suspense thriller to keep readers right at the edge.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:00 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

After fourteen years of beatings and abuse, Rose runs away from her husband. Unfortunately, he is a detective, and he has ways of finding her.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 8 descriptions

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