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The Shining (1977)

by Stephen King

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Shining (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
17,934373173 (4.11)2 / 857
Jack Torrance's new job at the Overlook Hotel is the perfect chance for a fresh start. As the off-season caretaker at the atmospheric old hotel, he'll have plenty of time to spend reconnecting with his family and working on his writing. But as the harsh winter weather sets in, the idyllic location feels ever more remote . . . and more sinister. And the only one to notice the strange and terrible forces gathering around the Overlook is Danny Torrance, a uniquely gifted five-year-old.… (more)
1970s (12)
Ghosts (14)

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English (357)  Italian (5)  Dutch (3)  French (3)  Danish (2)  German (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  All languages (372)
Showing 1-5 of 357 (next | show all)
I really am not going to spend much time on this review. I think everyone and their mother has read this book at this point. I have this one in my permanent Stephen King book collection on my bookshelves and it was great to re-read this one after not reading it for I think about 3 years since I last read this right before Doctor Sleep came out. I may still be disappointed with Doctor Sleep by the way.

"The Shining" follows the Torrance family (consisting of Danny Torrance and his parents Wendy and Jack). After a very bad thing happens (which King rolls into the main story expertly) Jack is given a job to be a custodian to a hotel in Colorado called the Overlook. Due to the snow that the area gets, the hotel does not have guests after the fall. Instead a custodian is asked to stay and keep certain parts of the hotel warmed and to release the pressure on a boiler. This seems a very easy job to have and something that will get the Torrance family back on their feet, instead, the family living at the Overlook for the winter, leads to something sinister waiting for them.

The character of Jack is pitiable from beginning to end. He is a man trying to do right by his family, but keeps making mistakes due to his temper and his drinking. You do get his love for Wendy and definitely for Danny. But when the long slow roll towards what can be his family end starts, you do want to shake Jack and say wake up.

Wendy I found to be a little flat in the re-read, but honestly I don't think King knew what to do with her until danger rears it's head. At times you got the feeling Wendy is jealous of the relationship between Jack and Danny (and she admits it) but she didn't seem to have much to do but worry over them both.

Danny does come fully alive while reading. I think ultimately The Shining is a book about fathers and sons and how close that bond is at a young age. Of course at the age I am now, I do wonder at Danny Torrance being six and to be as highly intelligent and smart as he is. But due to the shining, I was fine with making some allowances his way. King I often thought had trouble writing young children, he is great at pre-teens, teenagers, and adults though.

We also have Dick Hallorann who ends up being just as important to the overall story due to the gift that he and Danny Torrance shares. I do see now though that the flow of the novel was slowed down anytime King transitions back and forth between the family in the past, present, and back to Dick though.

The setting of the Overlook is a malicious thing and the whole book has you feeling as if you are being watched every second. I may have turned up the heat a little bit while reading this book.

This book is peak King for me honestly. Everything including the ending (which he has trouble sticking at times) works. The ending makes sense based on everything that came before it, and I applaud King for not just throwing out a happy ending when I think that would have made readers (or constant readers) just as happy.

Task the First: The Winter Wonderland:
- Read a book that is set in a snowy place. ( )
  ObsidianBlue | Jul 1, 2020 |
It's a long time since I read this, but I remember it being wonderfully atmospheric. ( )
  Tara_Calaby | Jun 22, 2020 |
A masterpiece of horror

When speaking of horror people often think about monsters and demons, supernatural beings and the such. Such people tend to forget that the most horrific acts are committed in real life by no other monster than humankind.

Stephen King doesn’t forget that in his highly successful novel The Shinning. Sure we do get a haunted hotel, psychics, ghosts, living hedge animals and zombies... but they’re not the most terrifying moments are those in which a man, a husband and father contemplates the murder of his wife and child.

The Shining is not a story about the supernatural as much as it is an introspective account of a man frustrated with life considering all the things that have gone wrong and ultimately blaming all of his shortcomings on others... and the most terrifying thing about it is that many of us tend to do that. We blame it on a parent, or a spouse, a boss, or a friend, even on our own children... anything to justify ourselves and not accept that we are solely responsible for our actions and shortcomings.

This is why The Shining excels, because among all the terrifying scenes of supernatural events we can see our own darkness reflected on Jack Torrance and to me that’s the most scary thing in the world.


The Shining has a small cast but every character is carefully crafted and beautifully written. The pacing is more than adequate as it helps build the tension. This is also a grotesquely atmospheric book that uses its setting in a very unsettling manner that is quite successful. All in all this is a beautifully horrifying book that even managed to make me feel scared at times, which not many horror books have accomplished.

10/10 ( )
  Miguel.Arvelo | Jun 9, 2020 |
Back in the day when I read this, years ago, I thought it was pretty good but not fantastic. I went ahead and went through all of SK's movies, too, and remembered watching Jack Nicholson in his iconic crazy and thought to myself, "Hey! This guy is freaking crazy! I love it!"

And now. I saw the Ready Player One movie with so many scenes right from that old film and had to rewatch the original Kubrick film and read the original novel again for *very* good measure since I'm back on an SK kick.

I watched that movie a few days ago and thought to myself, "This is a really bad movie. I still think that Jack is pretty awesome, but no matter how cool he is, it can't save this film."

And then I read the original book, keeping in mind what SK's thoughts were on the Kubrick film, as remembered so iconically through RPO. He despised it. And as I read The Shining, trying to keep an open mind, I realized something.

The Shining is Really, Really Good.

Gorgeous details, imagery that blows me away, thoroughly amazing characterization, depth, beauty, and such a great rising unease. I loved Jack in the book. I loved Danny in the book. I loved Halloran in the book. Wendy had a moment or two. But what I loved the most was the Hotel and all its creepy secrets, its depth, its horror. You might say the worldbuilding in this was something pretty damn amazing.

And then it hit me.

The Kubrick film is a dumpster fire trapped in a bubbling lake of poo.

It CRAPPED ON EVERYTHING that made the book great!!!!!

Jack in the book went nuts, sure, but the underlying message that "normal" novelists writing "normal" books are inherently batshit insane in comparison to "horror" novelists is as clear as day!

Seriously, there's enough story in this book to choke an ox and put any mainstream novel to shame. Because let's face it, SK shows more talent for mainstream fiction in this book than the majority of mainstream fiction, and he's just going to burn the whole house down! :)


Just do me a favor, folks, and skip any screened production of this novel and stick with the text. You will NOT be disappointed. :) :)
( )
  bradleyhorner | Jun 1, 2020 |
I looked at that old 3-star rating and wondered how I could have given this such a low one, especially after Pet Sematary (another 3-starrer) blew me away after a reread (review on my blog). Some great characterization, backstory and atmospheric thrills, but it kind of wore me down in the end, when I just didn't care anymore. More thoughts on my blog. ( )
  Thay1234 | May 27, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 357 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (15 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
King, Stephenprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Christensen, HarroTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Davies, PaulCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dell'Orto, AdrianaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Isomursu, PenttiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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It was in this apartment, also, that there stood against the western wall, a gigantic clock of ebony.  Its pendulum swung to and fro with a dull, heavy, monotonous clang; and when the minute-hand made the circuit of the face, and the hour was to be stricken, there came from the brazen lungs of the clock a sound which was clear and loud and deep and exceedingly musical, but of so peculiar a note and emphasis that,
at each lapse of an hour, the musicians of the orchestra were constrained to pause, momentarily, in their performance, to harken to the sound; and thus the waltzers perforce ceased their evolutions; and there was a brief disconcert of the whole gay company; and, while the chimes of the clock yet rang, it was observed that the giddiest grew pale, and the more aged and sedate passed their hands over their brows as if in confused revery or meditation.  But when the echoes had fully ceased, a light laughter at once pervaded the assembly; the musicians looked at each other and smiled as if at their own nervousness and folly, and made whispering vows, each to the other, that the next chiming of the clock should produce in them no similar emotion; and then, after the lapse of sixty minutes, (which embrace three thousand and six hundred seconds of the Time that flies,) there came yet another chiming of the clock, and then were the same disconcert and tremulousness and meditation as before.
But, in spite of these things, it was a gay and magnificent revel.
E. A. Poe
'The Masque of the Red Death'

The sleep of reason breeds monsters.

It'll shine when it shines.
Folk saying.
This is for Joe Hill King, who shines on.
My editor on this book, as on the previous two, was M. William G. Thompson, a man of wit and good sense. His contribution to this book has been large, and for it, my thanks.
First words
Jack Torrance thought: Officious little prick.
Hallorann’s testicles turned into two small wrinkled sacs filled with shaved ice.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
The Overlook Hotel is more than just a home-away-from-home for the Torrance family. For Jack, Wendy, and their young son, Danny, it is a place where past horrors come to life. And where those gifted with "the shining" do battle with the darkest evils. Stephen King's classic thriller is one of the most powerfully imagined novels of our time.
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