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Misery by Stephen King


by Stephen King

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After a car accident, bestselling novelist Paul Sheldon wakes up to find himself in the isolated house of Annie Wilkes, his "number one fan". Paul finds out that Annie has been taking care of him. Soon enough, he also discovers that Annie is totally insane. A roller-coaster ride of a story with two completely unforgettable characters that really came to life for me. I really enjoyed being inside Paul's head and knowing his thoughts as he comes to realize the situation he is in. I also thoroughly enjoyed the interplay between prisoner and captor. An intense, graphic, horrifying, over-the-top story with some good crazy fun. Not a story I'll forget soon. ( )
  PaulaLT | Apr 12, 2019 |
Misery is a cozy quick read, especially if you find yourself snowed in and tending to an ankle injury.
It's not an exceptional or extraordinary read, it uses inconsistent language that calls its editing into some question, and the nonlinear narrative isn't always reader-friendly (again, inconsistent). If you're a SK Constant Reader, you'll find reference (and theme continuation) to previous works - and you'll see the seeds of future novels (especially Gerald's Game). I like reading King, even though I usually find his resolutions unsatisfying. The reason I come back for more is always King's voice. He's an honest regular Joe who self deprecates himself through a career that has enriched many lives and kept the lights glowing on nightstands around the world. I'm a fan. I'd seen the movie, but I'm not sure that I've read the book. Since it's got several flaws, and isn't particularly memorable, I'm still not sure if I've read it more than once.
Maybe he was in a place where editors were more hands-off, maybe he'd had some experience with editing neutering other work... but Misery will always be less than what it could have been. That said - rating it a 3, which is a no-regrets rating from me :) ( )
  Ron18 | Feb 17, 2019 |
Wait a minute; I know what you're going to ask me now: "haven't you seen the movie?"

Well, I did, many years ago I saw it, and perhaps that was also why I gave up reading the book. And that was a huge mistake for me.

So I have to start with a sincere apology and a deep impression - I was dazzled.
To be more specific, I'm talking about the locations and book subtext that captured me. So, it's been two days since I finished the book, and suddenly I realize I know every corner of Annie Wilkes's house; Paul's bedroom, the front yard, the barn, kitchen, living room, and the basement. I even know the road between it and the town that starts with an S. Hence I had to convince myself that these visions came to me from the book, and I didn't have any residual subconsciousness from the movie - which as I mentioned before, I saw many years ago.

All of this, of course, only increased the tension and terror that had been hurled at my veins mercilessly (I would stop the clumsy parallels to the book already here, with your permission). But it was not only the successful descriptions of the physical environment that helped me connect to the Book but the characters of Paul and Annie. It's hard for me to explain it, but I felt that the plot and the ideas and dialogues in the book were so full of complexity, and correctness, and 'metaphorical qualities,' if you will.

Whether it is the capsules, the painkillers, which symbolize in such a metaphysical manner but also very verbally, of course, how Paul becomes addicted against his will to the situation and the way of life, or at least aspects of it.

Annie's analogy to God, her control of the environment, her exclusive sophistication and her loving but also brutal and cruel way. And her madness that nevertheless allows some freedom of action, her limits of compassion. And there was Paul's insinuations, his personal experiences, from childhood and adolescence, his Private Jokes that become the murmur of a madman. Both, so precious. Great job!

Listen, I'm losing order. There is much more, but this book is such a substantial piece of art, I can't and won't put everything in order. I hope that the unconscious part of my brain will be able to make a runaway when I need it to do so. ( )
  mazalbracha | Jan 12, 2019 |
Reading Misery was a rollercoaster of cringing and discomfort. It is an amazingly well-written book. The pace is slow, but that only adds to the tension. The writing is deliberate and careful. The blurb on the cover says this is King at his best, and I'm inclined to agree. There's no unnecessary detail and idle chatter - every object in this story, every word spoken is agonizingly deliberate. Everything adds to the possibilities. Everything adds to the tension. It's fantastic.

Paul Sheldon is kidnapped by his Number One Fan, Annie Wilkes, who both nurses him back to health and breaks him more. She forces him to resurrect her favorite book character and write her a sequel. The story is Paul's only escape and he walks a tightrope of trying to please her so she won't hurt him, and trying to plot an escape. Because of his imagination, Paul is a slightly unreliable narrator. He makes you doubt the horrifying realities and keep flipping pages, hoping that the unspeakable hadn't really happened.

This was a book I couldn't put down. I didn't enjoy it in usual sense - but I did enjoy it for the way it wrapped me up. It's an incredible psychological thriller, and should be read by any fan of King's work or the genre. ( )
  Morteana | Dec 2, 2018 |
Almost 24 hours after finishing it I am still not quite sure how I feel about it. The man is a gifted storyteller, I don't think there is any argument there. His stories seem to wind and twist off in strange directions but they always come back around and when they do you realize it was all part of the plan. The issue for me was that I didn't really feel a whole lot for Paul- obviously I felt sorry for the terrible-fucking-predicament he was in but other than that, not a whole lot. And I couldn't shake the certainty that he was going to kill Annie and get out alive and when you feel certain you know the ending it can be hard to get lost in the story. Still very, very glad I read it and excited to make my way through the rest of his work. ( )
  EliseLaForge | Nov 20, 2018 |
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When you look into the abyss, the abyss also looks into you.

-- Friedrich Nietzsche
Writing does not cause misery, it is born of misery.

-- Montaigne
It's no good. I've been trying to sleep for the last half-hour, and I can't. Writing here is a sort of drug. It's the only thing I look forward to. This afternoon I read what I wrote. . . . And it seemed vivid. I know it seems vivid because my imagination fills in all the bits another person wouldn't understand. I mean, it's vanity. But it seems a sort of magic. . . . And I just can't live in this resent. I would go mad if I did.

-- John Fowles

The Collector
"You will be visited by a tall, dark stranger," the gipsy woman told Misery, and Misery, startled, realized two things at once: this was no gipsy, and the two of them were no longer alone in the tent. She could smell Gwendolyn Chastain's perfume in the moment before the madwoman's hands closed around her throat.

"In fact," the gipsy who was not a gipsy observed, "I think she is here now."

Misery tried to scream, but she could no longer even breathe.

-- Misery's Child
"It always look data way, Boss Ian," Hezekia said, "No matter how you look at her, she seem like she be lookin' at you. I doan know if it be true, but the Bourkas, dey say even when you get behin' her, the godess, she seem to be lookin' at you."

"But she is, after all, only a piece of stone, Ian remonstrated.

"Yes, Boss Ian," Hezekia agreed. "Dat what give her powah.

-- Misery's Return
This is for Stephanie and Jim Leonard, who know why. Boy, do they.
First words
umber whunn

yerrnnn umber whunnnn


These sounds: even in the haze.
"I'm your number-one fan!"
Then he would look at the blank screen of his word processor for awhile. What fun. Paul Sheldon's fifteen-thousand-dollar paperweight.
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Book description
Paul Sheldon. He's a bestselling novelist who has finally met his biggest fan. Her name is Annie Wilkes and she is more than a rabid reader - she is Paul's nurse, tending his shattered body after an automobile accident. But she is also his captor, keeping him prisoner in her isolated house. Now Annie wants Paul to write his greatest work-just for her. She has a lot of ways to spur him on. One is a needle. Another is an ax. And if they don't work, she can get really nasty... (0-451-15355-3)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0451169522, Mass Market Paperback)

In Misery (1987), as in The Shining (1977), a writer is trapped in an evil house during a Colorado winter. Each novel bristles with claustrophobia, stinging insects, and the threat of a lethal explosion. Each is about a writer faced with the dominating monster of his unpredictable muse.

Paul Sheldon, the hero of Misery, sees himself as a caged parrot who must return to Africa in order to be free. Thus, in the novel within a novel, the romance novel that his mad captor-nurse, Annie Wilkes, forces him to write, he goes to Africa--a mysterious continent that evokes for him the frightening, implacable solidity of a woman's (Annie's) body. The manuscript fragments he produces tell of a great Bee Goddess, an African queen reminiscent of H. Rider Haggard's She.

He hates her, he fears her, he wants to kill her; but all the same he needs her power. Annie Wilkes literally breathes life into him.

Misery touches on several large themes: the state of possession by an evil being, the idea that art is an act in which the artist willingly becomes captive, the tortured condition of being a writer, and the fears attendant to becoming a "brand-name" bestselling author with legions of zealous fans. And yet it's a tight, highly resonant echo chamber of a book--one of King's shortest, and best novels ever. --Fiona Webster

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:27 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

After a car crash, writer Paul Sheldon is saved by his number one fan. She brought him home, splinted his mangled legs, and all he had to do in return was write a very special book, one all about her favourite character. Because if he didn't, if he was bad, she would be cross - very cross.… (more)

» see all 15 descriptions

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