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Rose Madder by Stephen King
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Rose Madder (original 1995; edition 1996)

by Stephen King

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5,02445899 (3.46)1 / 100
Member:Shrike316
Title:Rose Madder
Authors:Stephen King
Info:Signet (1996), Edition: Open market ed, Mass Market Paperback, 480 pages
Collections:Your library, Read but unowned
Rating:***
Tags:None

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 (44)  Dutch (1)  All languages (45)
Showing 1-5 of 44 (next | show all)
A brutal read, due to the main topic - domestic violence. Norman, the abuser, is a sick, sick man who does terrible things to his wife, Rosie. She escapes and he follows. And with a super natural painting, she escapes again. It's a good story, with great characters (I loved Gert!), and its slow pace benefits its complexity! I wasn't a fan of the "through-the-painting" parts of the tale, and the epilogue did nothing for me. Still, it thrilled me and chilled me, and really, what's not to like when it's Uncle Stevie? Viva Ze Bool! ( )
  Stahl-Ricco | Jan 23, 2016 |
Pick up a copy of a Stephen King novel, and it's a fair bet that you'll keep reading right up to the final page. Say what you will about the man, but there are very few authors out there who can match him for sheer readability. Rose Madder is no exception.

Rosie is a timid housewife, who has for many years been trapped in an abusive relationship with her terrifying, psychopathic husband Norman. Norman is violent, cruel, and frequently irrational, but like many a very dangerous person he's adept at concealing his true character. He's also a policeman, and a good one at that. So when Rosie - awoken to the terrible truth of her marriage by the sight of a single drop of blood on a bed sheet (a beautiful and very true moment) - finally finds the courage to leave him, she can be sure that she'll always be looking over her shoulder.

Rosie flees to another city, where she attempts to put her life back together again. Then one day she comes across a painting - an insignificant, very average, and rather odd painting that nevertheless fascinates her. This is where the supernatural element kicks in, as you'd expect from SK, and it stretched my credulity a bit. Not so much that I stopped reading or enjoying the book, certainly, but enough for me to give a disparaging snort every so often. It's not for an oik like me to tell the mighty Stephen King how to write, obviously, but I found myself wishing that in Rose Madder he'd eschewed the supernatural, and kept it as a tense, taut thriller.

But this is a small complaint really, and it would be churlish to make too much of it when a book has entertained you as thoroughly as Rose Madder entertained me. This is why I love SK - for compelling, vastly enjoyable reading, he has few rivals. Long may he reign! ( )
  MariBiella | Dec 6, 2015 |
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 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Stephen Kingprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Dobner, TullioTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
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
Dedication
This book is for Joan Marks.
First words
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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