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The Shining by Stephen King

The Shining (original 1977; edition 2012)

by Stephen King

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13,423259162 (4.1)2 / 705
Title:The Shining
Authors:Stephen King
Info:Anchor (2012), Edition: Reprint, Mass Market Paperback, 672 pages
Collections:Fiction: Horror, 2012 Readings, Your library
Tags:Genre: Horror, Ghosts, Colorado, Genre: Thriller, Supernatural

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The Shining by Stephen King (1977)

Recently added byJay-Freeman, BooksOn23rd, fields.steph, SrimantaMitra, private library
1970s (65)
Ghosts (22)

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English (247)  Dutch (3)  Danish (2)  French (2)  German (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  All languages (256)
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Cross-posted to Knite Writes


After an “unfortunate event” causes Jack Torrance to lose his cushy teaching job, he’s forced to move to Colorado with his family and take on an odd job: winter caretaker for an upper-class hotel in the mountains. The Overlook.

All he’s got to do is a few repairs, keep the place heated, and ease the boiler pressure every now and then.

Sounds easy enough, right?

Too bad the hotel is an evil, semi-sentient death trap.

Everything is fine for the first several weeks, but once the Torrances are snowed in for the winter, the hotel decides to go to town on them. Danny, the family’s young son, finds his overwhelmingly powerful “shine” being used against him — his psychic powers turn the hotel from a harmless yet creepy symbol of a shady past into a monster that can bring its dark secrets to life.

Poor Jack Torrance, struggling to say sober and not let his family down, ends up in the hotel’s thrall, and it drags him into a psychotic tailspin.

And Wendy, loving wife and mother, who’s just trying to keep her family together and do what’s best for everyone, finds herself caught up in a web of things she doesn’t understand, things that shouldn’t be possible.

Just as December rolls in, the hotel decides to make its move. It drives Jack off the deep end — into a homicidal rage — and sends him gunning for Danny, whom it “wants.” Wendy fights off her husband the best she can, but after the hotel helps him out a clever trap involving the pantry and a lock, she finds herself at his mercy. He beats her mercilessly with a roque mallet, and even though she stabs him in the freaking back, he keeps going.

Danny psychically calls The Overlook’s cook, Dick Hallorann, who also has some “shine,” to come save him and his mother, but the poor cook, after a harrowing journey through a snowstorm, ends up savagely attacked by the hotel’s mobile topiary animals. He makes it inside after a rather…fiery battle, only to end up knocked unconscious at the crucial moment by the now hotel-possessed Jack.

In the end, it’s Danny that saves the day and himself: he remembers what his father forget. To dump the boiler pressure.

The hotel, terrified at its imminent destruction, leaves Danny alive and runs to dump the pressure, giving Wendy, Hallorann, and Danny the chance to escape. They make it out just as the place explodes into a rain of glass and fire.

As The Shining winds down to a close, we’re left with Danny, Wendy, and Hallorann, battle-scared and traumatized but still alive. And recovering.

And…after 36 years: CUE SEQUEL!


My Take

God, I love The Shining. It’s been about five years since I last read it, so I wanted to refresh myself before I jumped into Doctor Sleep. Even though I’m sure King insulated the long-awaited sequel with enough background info that you’re not required to read The Shining to understand it. Eh, call me a traditionalist. I like to read the first book first.

Anyway, after rereading, I now remember what it was about the book I liked so much: everything.

Let’s start with the characterization. King is a master of characterization in this book. He jumps POVs a lot, and yet you always know whose head you’re head. Every POV has its own distinct voice, and each one is done fantastically. All their personalities are clearly built from their past experiences, are consistent, are interesting. There’s nothing about King’s characters I don’t like in this novel. And my favorite character of all? The Overlook, of course. For a building, it’s certainly got some attitude. And pure, unapologetic malice.

Now, the plot. This is a long book, as evidenced by the fact it took me forever to read. I could have plowed through three more of The Dresden Files in the time it took me to reread this sucker, but you know what? It deserved every page. There’s always something going on in the story — there’s never a lull — even when what’s happening seems, on the surface, mundane. Everything ties so expertly together as the story progresses that the sheer level of interconnectedness kind of blows my mind. (As you’re aware, my major weakness is plotting, so great plots often leave me in awe.)

How about we talk about the horror. Oh, the horror. When I first read this book, it scared the shit out of me. I don’t typically read (or watch) horror, but King has always been an exception. Because he’s Stephen King, you know? And when I first tiptoed my way through The Shining, I almost scared myself silly. This time around, I knew what was coming, so I wasn’t nearly as disturbed as I was half a decade ago. And this was a good thing because it gave me the power to see the massive amount of subtle horror embedded beneath the overt, in-your-face horror. Like I said, this book has a lot of layers, and they’re all very complex. I was even more impressed this time around with how well King connected the family drama and the horror, with how complex his horror in and of itself is.

Now, let’s talk about the writing style.



Do you know how hard it is to write a child’s POV for adults? It’s something very few writers are particularly gifted at. And I love the way King does it in The Shining. Hell, I love the way he jumps POVs to begin with. You get this great panoramic view of what’s driving all the characters’ actions in relation to one another, and it’s just fantastic. And every time Danny comes on screen, I’m immediately drawn into the way King presents him: the combination of wisdom beyond his years and his inescapable naivete are done so tragically well.

And can we talk about how King integrates thoughts into this book? I’ve never read another book that presents thoughts the way they’re presented here — actually interrupting the narration, with questions marks and exclamation points tacked on to indicate emotion, like they’re an actual, printed representation of thought. Man, wish I’d thought of that. Of course, this was written well over a decade before I was born, so it’s not like I could’ve beaten King to the chase anyway. Oh, well.

Anyway, great writing!


Is It Worth Reading?

YES. YES. YES. YES. In other words, yes. Please pick it up when you get the chance.



4.5/5 ( )
  ClaraCoulson | Nov 16, 2015 |
Un bellissimo horror, un po' triste come lo sono molti di King. ( )
  Angela.Me | Nov 9, 2015 |
Stephen King's scariest novel, and quite possibly, his most perfect one. ( )
  sturlington | Nov 8, 2015 |
Maybe I was too young, but I didn't like it. ( )
  Manfr | Nov 5, 2015 |
Stephen King is a truly awful writer. But what Kubrick did with the movie version pretty musch a masterpiece....strange ( )
  clarkland | Oct 24, 2015 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
King, Stephenprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Christensen, HarroTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Davies, PaulCover artistsecondary 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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Information from the French Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.

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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.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0743437497, Paperback)




First published in 1977, The Shining quickly became a benchmark in the literary career of Stephen King. This tale of a troubled man hired to care for a remote mountain resort over the winter, his loyal wife, and their uniquely gifted son slowly but steadily unfolds as secrets from the Overlook Hotel's past are revealed, and the hotel itself attempts to laim the very souls of the Torrence family. Adapted into a cinematic masterpiece of horror by legendaryStanley Kubrick -- featuring an unforgettable performance by a demonic Jack Nicholson --The Shining stands as a cultural icon of modern horror, a searing study of a family torn apart, and a nightmarish glimpse into the dark recesses of human weakness and dementia.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:29 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

First published in 1977, The Shining quickly became a benchmark in the literary career of Stephen King. This tale of a troubled man hired to care for a remote mountain resort over the winter, his loyal wife, and their uniquely gifted son slowly but steadily unfolds as secrets from the Overlook Hotel's past are revealed, and the hotel itself attempts to claim the very souls of the Torrance family. Adapted into a cinematic masterpiece of horror by legendary director Stanley Kubrick -- featuring an unforgettable performance by a demonic Jack Nicholson --The Shining stands as a cultural icon of modern horror, a searing study of a family torn apart, and a nightmarish glimpse into the dark recesses of human weakness and dementia.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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