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Cujo : e. unheiml. Thriller. by Stephen King
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Cujo : e. unheiml. Thriller. (original 1981; edition 1986)

by Stephen King

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5,90474709 (3.43)124
Member:glglgl
Title:Cujo : e. unheiml. Thriller.
Authors:Stephen King
Info:Bergisch Gladbach : Bastei-Verlag Lübbe, (1986), Taschenbuch
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
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Work details

Cujo by Stephen King (1981)

  1. 10
    Needful Things: The Last Castle Rock Story by Stephen King (sturlington)
    sturlington: Also set in Castle Rock.
  2. 10
    On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King (sturlington)
    sturlington: King refers to the writing of Cujo in his memoir.
  3. 10
    The Dead Zone by Stephen King (sturlington)
    sturlington: Also set in Castle Rock.
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» See also 124 mentions

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Showing 1-5 of 66 (next | show all)
a little less than 3.5 on the whole, with the last quarter or so of the book bringing the rating up. he sets the scene well; lots of details that seemed peripheral ended up being crucial to things working out just the way they did. and the last part of the book really moves; i kept finding myself hoping that it would turn out differently this time, that circumstances would align differently to save everyone. but it's a better book because stephen king is brave enough to do the realistic thing in his books, and kill main characters if the story supports it.

he writes all of the characters so well, even when they aren't as full or complete as i'm used to in his other books. the men, the women, the children, even the dog. they all feel true and real and right. i'm always impressed by his characterization and this time i felt he didn't give us nearly as much of that, but it still he gets these characters right, even without making them entirely rounded out.

my only real complaint about this book is that for some reason he incorporates a "monster in the closet" theme that is real - it's not just the kid who is afraid and senses and even smells the monster. the parents do, too, and see things move around in there. the story without the "horror" of the supernatural (or the boogyman or whatever you'd call something that opens closet doors from the inside and has glowing eyes) is perfectly scary because it's something that could absolutely happen. it added to the story, yes, but i don't think it was needed, and more importantly, i think that what it added - the mindset of vic and donna - could have been gotten at in a different way, keeping everything rooted 100% in reality. and that would have been a stronger book.

still, well paced and enjoyable. ( )
  elisa.saphier | Mar 21, 2015 |
Spoiler alert -- If you are looking for a strong supernatural component, this is not the book for you. While King hints at a malevolent spirit driving the killing, there is nothing in this book that cannot be explained by science.
While that may seem to imply a negative rating, this is one of the best books I have read in a long time. From a literature standpoint, this is an excellent example of plot and character development. The developing tension between the characters is built methodically and believably. The most impressive is King's ability to personify the dog's declining mental status. Through King's deft storytelling, Cujo became a sympathetic character not the face of evil. ( )
  Hedgepeth | Mar 18, 2015 |
‘It would perhaps not be amiss to point out that he had always tried to be a good dog. He had tried to do all the things his MAN and his WOMAN, and most of all his BOY, had asked or expected of him. He would have died for them, if that had been required. He had never wanted to kill anybody. He had been struck by something, possibly destiny, or fate, or only a degenerative nerve disease called rabies. Free will was not a factor.’

Cujo is a seemingly simple story minus all the supernatural thrills that are usually present in King’s stories. It’s about a gentle dog named Cujo that one day chases a rabbit into a hole, encounters an infected bat, and that gentle dog slowly transforms into a horrid nightmare that the town of Castle Rock will never forget.

The story was a surprisingly heartbreaking one as we’re given brief glimpses of the transformation of Cujo and his inevitable loss of self control. Before he was infected, Cujo was a good dog who played with children and despite his size never gave anyone any reason to fear him. Unfortunately, his owners just never took the time to get Cujo his necessary shots. As the story progresses Cujo becomes more and more helpless to stop the virus from taking control, but this sense of helplessness isn’t limited to Cujo. There are three separate storylines that all have that same sense of helplessness.

While the focus of this story is obviously Cujo, you quickly find yourself wrapped up in the lives of these people just as much. The main storyline is of course the unfortunate circumstances that caused Donna Trenton and her four-year-old son Tad to become stuck in a driveway in the middle of nowhere during a terrible heatwave with a rabid Saint Bernard keeping them from going anywhere. Donna attempts to make the drive to their local mechanic, Joe Camber, in order to get her needle valve fixed on the carburetor. She makes it the whole way only to have her car die in the driveway yet her sigh of relief is short-lived as Cujo makes his presence known. The second storyline deals with Vic, Donna’s husband and Tad’s father, who is at risk to losing his ad agency after his biggest client seeks to drop them. Finding out the night before he leaves for New York that Donna has been having an affair only adds to his worries yet he still leaves as their livelihoods all hinge on him keeping his company. The third storyline is regarding Joe Camber’s wife, Charity, and her fear that their boy Brett is going to turn out exactly like his father. In a final attempt to help prevent this she plans a vacation for the two of them to see her estranged sister and her family after Charity wins $5,000 in the lottery. Shortly after arriving, a few things occur that leave her convinced that she’s already too late.

While these storylines all seem to be of little consequence there is one scene in particular that sets in motion everything that is to occur. As Brett and his mother Charity are preparing to leave, Brett notices Cujo acting strangely. He tells his mother but she demands he stay silent. She knows if he were to tell his father he would demand the boy stay home to care for his dog. They leave not telling anyone, being completely unaware of the devastation they could have possibly prevented that day. This only goes to show that seemingly small decisions can truly have vast consequences.

One of my favorite things about stories is learning about the inspiration behind them. King had read a news article about a boy in Maine that had been killed by a Saint Bernard. King’s motorcycle had stalled out and he just barely got it to the mechanic before it died. That same mechanic had a Saint Bernard that looked as if he would attack King until his owner got him under control. King and his wife drove a Pinto that also had a sticky needle valve on the carburetor. All of these real life issues came together in a terrifying way to become ‘Cujo’.

This story is an incredibly realistic horror that is easily imagined. While not supernatural, there is a comparison made to Cujo being of the same evil to Frank Dodd, a local serial killer. That comparison generates the theory of evil being a deep-rooted thing that is always there and is all the same. Whether Cujo is truly evil or not, his story still succeeds in leaving you with an exceptionally uneasy feeling when you consider just how easy this all occurred. And it makes you consider with a sudden horror whether your lovable pet is up to date on their shots. ( )
  bonniemarjorie | Feb 20, 2015 |
I expected this to be scarier. Not that it was *bad* in any way, but it was not at all what I had been expecting when I picked it up. Instead of giving me nightmares, it just made me sad.
Easily the most realistic Stephen King book I've ever read, though I'm disinclined to believe that is an entirely positive statement. ( )
  Hyzie | Oct 26, 2014 |
Très bonne histoire ( )
  broche69 | Sep 21, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 66 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (24 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Stephen Kingprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kalvas, ReijoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Raver, LornaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
About suffering they were never wrong,
The Old Masters: how well they understood
Its human position; how it takes place
While someone else is eating or opening a window or just walking dully along...

—W.H. AUDEN, "Musée des Beaux Arts"
Old Blue died and he died so hard
He shook the ground in my back yard.
I dug his grave with a silver spade
And I lowered him down with a golden chain.
Every link you know I did call his name,
I called, "Here, Blue, you good dog, you."

—FOLK SONG
"Nope, nothing wrong here."
—THE SHARP CEREAL PROFESSOR
Dedication
This book is for my brother, David, who held my hand crossing West Broad Street, and who taught me how to make skyhooks out of old coathangers. The trick was so damned good I just never stopped.

I love you, David.
First words
Once upon a time, not so long ago, a monster came to the small town of Castle Rock, Maine.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
Cujo, a huge St Bernard, is bitten by a rabid bat and changes from a lovable pet into a ferocious man-eating monster. He slaughters his garage-owning master and, as madness eats at his brain, focuses his deranged attention on Donna Trenton and her five-year-old son, who are trapped in their car.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0451161351, Mass Market Paperback)

Cujo is so well-paced and scary that people tend to read it quickly, so they mostly remember the scene of the mother and son trapped in the hot Pinto and threatened by the rabid Cujo, forgetting the multifaceted story in which that scene is embedded. This is definitely a novel that rewards re-reading. When you read it again, you can pay more attention to the theme of country folk vs. city folk; the parallel marriage conflicts of the Cambers vs. the Trentons; the poignancy of the amiable St. Bernard (yes, the breed choice is just right) infected by a brain-destroying virus that makes it into a monster; and the way the "daylight burial" of the failed ad campaign is reflected in the sunlit Pinto that becomes a coffin. And how significant it is that this horror tale is not supernatural: it's as real as junk food, a failing marriage, a broken-down car, or a fatal virus.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:36:24 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Cujo, a two-hundred-pound Saint Bernard, becomes infected with rabies and kills four people in Maine.

(summary from another edition)

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