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Bag of Bones by Stephen King

Bag of Bones (original 1998; edition 1998)

by Stephen King (Author)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
9,127131586 (3.71)2 / 187
On falling in love with a woman half his age, novelist Michael Noonan of Maine is drawn into a custody battle for the woman's daughter. The father-in-law, a nasty millionaire, is trying to take the girl away and to complicate matters malevolent spirits are at work. Part love, part ghost story.
Title:Bag of Bones
Authors:Stephen King (Author)
Info:Hodder & Stoughton (1998), Edition: Airportopen Market Ed, 516 pages
Collections:Your library, To read

Work details

Bag of Bones by Stephen King (1998)

  1. 40
    Wizard And Glass by Stephen King (beckylynn)
    beckylynn: It's not related to the Dark Tower Series, but I think it's kind of written in the same fashion as Wizard and Glass.......and little bit of a romance theme if you will.
  2. 31
    Lisey's Story by Stephen King (sturlington)
    sturlington: Very similar themes.
  3. 10
    Hay alguien ahi: El chico que no miraba a los ojos by Jorge Magano (nosoyretro)
  4. 33
    Gerald's Game by Stephen King (beckylynn)
    beckylynn: Not exactly a ghost story like Bag of Bones, but thrilling to the end. Starts off fast (however does have sexual content).

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English (125)  French (2)  Dutch (2)  Finnish (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  All languages (131)
Showing 1-5 of 125 (next | show all)
One of the best king's books I have read. Blends supernatural, suspense, and real-world pieces very vividly. King's books never fit one category like horror, mystery, or romance. They are the nice blend of different pieces and that blends make it reading them great fun. ( )
  madhukaraphatak | Aug 12, 2020 |
"Bag of Bones" was the last book I read with my father. For those who have followed my blog for a while, you know that he was a huge Stephen King fan along with loving Science-Fiction and Fantasy novels. Once my dad realized how fast I read (he was pretty fast too) he always gave me the new King first and then I would wait impatiently for him to finish so we could talk about the book. So this is going to include just a snippet from what I remember to this day when my dad finished "Bag of Bones."

Blue's Dad: I cannot believe how he ended this! Mike could have been happy with [redacted] and I ended up being so upset about how [redacted] died I almost put the book down!

Blue: I started to cry when that happened. I still don't understand that, but I loved though when he had [redacted] return and she told [redacted] she was Mike's Little Guy now.

Blue's Dad: I don't care. Can no one ever be happy in a King book?

Blue (stares at dad): Um....no?

Blue's Dad: Also I felt bad for [redacted] she was raped and murdered, I am not upset she was killing people for what happened to her and her child.

Blue: Oh I agree. I think though that is why he wrote it though? That maybe Mike going on to be happy again didn't make a lot of sense for what we found out as we read. Also this is near Castle Rock...how many times is that place going to be in a King book?

Blue's Dad: Go write down how many books take place in Castle Rock.

Present day Blue: I seriously did go and do that. We ended up picking up the conversation later on about this book and argued and agreed with each for the most part. We both loved this book, but wanted Mike to have a happy ending. He does get one, just a different one than we would have thought he should have gotten.

"Bag of Bones" deals with best-selling author Mike Noonan (thank God he's not another Thad) who is still grief stricken 4 years after the death of his wife. Since his wife's death, Mike has avoided the lakeside home he and his wife loved and fixed up in Derry, Maine called Sara Laughs. After having writer's block since his wife's death, Mike finally returns to Sara Laughs after dreaming of it.

Mike starts to piece together his dreams to what his wife Jo was doing at Sara Laughs before she died. I know that this is considered a horror book, but I also think it's very much a mystery too. As readers we follow along with what possibly could be going on at Sara Laughs and why a woman named Sara Tidwell seems to be at the center of things.

Mike ends up getting himself back into the world with connecting with his dead wife's family and also befriending a young mother, Mattie Devore and her daughter Kyra. Mattie and Kyra are so real and you end up loving them both. Mike ends up doing what he can to protect Mattie from her husband's father, Max Devore, who is insistent on doing what he can to gain full custody of Kyra from Mattie.

I really think this is hand's down one of King's best works. Not only does it reference his other works, "Insomnia," "The Dark Half," "Needful Thing," and others, he also calls out "Rebecca" references in this one too. It's really funny that as fond of this book as I am, I didn't seek out "Rebecca" to read until 2016.

Everything is beautifully explained by King towards the end of the book and you understand why so many deaths have occurred in Derry (well some of them) and why certain families seem to be linked together.

I also didn't feel bad for certain men in this story, the kids definitely, but I can see why there were hauntings and deaths. I also loved how Mike's dead wife features prominently in this book. This is also the first book that I heard the word "Outsider" so I was curious when King released his latest book "The Outsider." I thought it would have something to do with "Bag of Bones."

The writing and flow were great. I tend to re-read this one in late summer (I have no idea why, I just do) and will often take it along when I go to a nearby lake in VA. Something about this book causes me to re-read it at least once a year. I am really glad I did re-read this recently since even though the subject matter is grim, it is a comfort read of sorts to me.

FYI, this book is one reason why I keep a ceramic owl on my mantle in my house. ( )
  ObsidianBlue | Jul 1, 2020 |
Grief. That's the emotion that got to me the most during this reread.

The first time I read this book I had just turned thirty and even though I was already married, the horror of losing a spouse didn't get through to me like it did this time. Now, after just having celebrated my 30th wedding anniversary, the idea of losing my husband is unfathomable. Stephen King dove deep into those fathoms and dragged me along with him. I did not like what I saw or felt. That, right there, is the reason why Stephen is the KING.

I'm not going to go into the plot too much here, this is an old book and it's even had a made-for-TV-movie, so I can't say much most people don't already know. This story is a combination of ghost story, revenge, and love story. It has genuinely scary moments and other moments so poignant that I found myself with tears in my eyes.

But what is most important about this tale, about all of King's works, really, are the characters. King creates characters that are so real you feel like you can reach out and touch them. They are so real, you take in their emotions as your own. And he does it by not shying away from the ugly moments we all experience inside our own heads.

The fact that widower Mike Noonan lusts after a young woman is painful for Mike to acknowledge and we, the Constant Readers, can feel how Mike is torn between that lust and guilt, and all the tangled feelings of betrayal and loss that go along with that. Even though he's widowed, he feels these emotions and we can feel them too. In our hearts, we know what Mike is feeling is true, because that's how WE would feel.

Not only does King draw great good characters, he draws great bad ones, as well. His bad guys, not just Mr. Devore from this book, but ALL of them, have layers and a realness to them that brings them alive. They're not just men dressed in black, (Randall Flagg, I'm looking at you), they're complicated, (Trashcan Man), they have depth to them, and we (I?) LOVE to hate them. In this book, Mr. Devore is a rich, frail, elderly man in a wheelchair, yet he still comes at Mike with a menace that is horrible to witness. Our emotions are pulled every which way, how could we HATE an old man in a wheelchair? But there is no question that we DO hate him, and there again, the King has manipulated our emotions and has his Constant Readers, and all other readers, in the palms of his skilled, talented hands.

I loved this book. I love Stephen King. That doesn't mean that I've loved every book he's written, but I usually do love his characters and creations, (Wolf, Billy Bumblers), and they still live within my memory. For me, no other author has created so many memorable characters and place settings. The words Derry, Jerusalem's Lot and Pennywise- they all cause an instant picture to appear in my brain. I say let him plant a picture in your brain too: of Sarah Laughs, of the T.R. and Mr. Devoe, Mattie and Kyra. I'm pretty sure you'll thank me later.

I highly recommend this book to everyone. Just hold on tight, because your emotions are going to get knocked around a bit by the King, but hey, there's no one better qualified to do so. You'll be getting knocked around by one of the best authors living today.

I was asked way back in January, I think, to participate in the King For A Year project, and I was honored to be asked. This review is for that project, which I have thoroughly enjoyed reading. Here's a link in case anyone wants to check out what other authors and reviewers have to say about the King and his works: http://kingreviews2015.blogspot.com/ ( )
  Charrlygirl | Mar 22, 2020 |
This book was surprisingly good. While, at first, it took me awhile to get into the story, once I was settled I was fully in for almost the entire duration of the ride. The elements of fiction that King manages to weave into this are interesting and palatable for the reader and I enjoyed the characters and the plotline. Overall, a good effort.

3.5 stars. ( )
  DanielSTJ | Oct 25, 2019 |
A book that I liked, but not as much as some of the other King books I read. Somehow the story of this particular book didn't grab me as I know some of the others have.
It was a nice read, interesting, but I managed to put it away and not think about it, where as a book I really, really like haunts me untill I pick it up again.
This one didn't have that magic for me. ( )
  BoekenTrol71 | Sep 6, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 125 (next | show all)
Violence, natural and supernatural, ensues as past and present mix, culminating in a torrent of climaxes that bind and illuminate the novel's many mysteries. From his mint-fresh etching of spooky rural Maine to his masterful pacing and deft handling of numerous themes, particularly of the fragility of our constructs about reality and of love's ability to mend rifts in those constructs, this is one of King's most accomplished novels.
added by Lemeritus | editPublishers Weekly (Aug 31, 1998)
From Kirkus Reviews
Leaving Viking for the storied literary patina of Scribner, current or not, King seemingly strives on the page for a less vulgar gloss. And he eases from horror into romantic suspense, while adding dollops of the supernatural. The probable model: structural echoes of Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca do sound forth, although King never writes one paragraph herein to match du Maurier's opening moonscapes of Manderley. What comes through nevertheless is a strong pull to upgrade his style and storytelling in this his 50th year. Yes, he actually does write better if with less energy and power than in Desperation (1996). In fact, attacking the race problem in lily-white Maine, he even assumes an almost Dreiserian seriousness in his final paragraphs. Well, the story: romantic-suspense novelist Michael Noonan, who summers in Castle Rock on Dark Score Lake, falls into a four-year writer's block when his wife Johanna dies of a brain blowout. Now 40 and childless, Mike has salted away four extra novel manuscripts in his safe-deposit box, one of them 11 years old (shades of Richard Bachman!), and keeps up a pretense of productivity by publishing a ``new'' novel each year. Meanwhile, he finds himself falling for Mattie Devore, a widowed mother half his age. Mattie's late husband is the son of still-thriving half-billionaire computer king Max Devore, 85 years old and monstrous, who plans to gain possession of Mattie's three-year-old daughter, the banally drawn Kyra. Mike's first big question: Did Johanna cuckold him during his long hours writing? If so, will her character reverse our understanding of her, as does Rebecca de Winter's? And how can he help Mattie fight off Max and keep Kyra? The supernatural elements, largely reserved for the interracial climax, are Standard King but fairly mild.
added by kthomp25 | editKirkus Reviews
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Yes, Bartleby, stay there behind your screen, thought I; I shall persecute you no more you are harmless and noiseless as any of these old chairs; in short, I never feel so private as when I know you are here.


Herman Melville
Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again...As I stood there, hushed and still, I could swear that the house was not an empty shell but lived and breathed as it had lived before.


Daphne Du Maurier
Mars is heaven.

Ray Bradbury
This is for Naomi.

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On a very hot day in August of 1994, my wife told me she was going down to Derry Rite Aid to pick up a refill on her sinus medicine prescription -- this is the stuff you can buy over the counter these days, I believe.
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On falling in love with a woman half his age, novelist Michael Noonan of Maine is drawn into a custody battle for the woman's daughter. The father-in-law, a nasty millionaire, is trying to take the girl away and to complicate matters malevolent spirits are at work. Part love, part ghost story.

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Set in the Maine territory King has made mythic, Bag of Bones recounts the plight of forty-year-old bestselling novelist Mike Noonan, who is unable to stop grieving even four years after the sudden death of his wife, Jo, and who can no longer bear to face the blank screen of his word processor. Now his nights are plagued by vivid nightmares of the house by the lake. Despite these dreams, or perhaps because of them, Mike finally returns to Sara Laughs, the Noonan's isolated summer home. He finds his beloved Yankee town familiar on its surface, but much changed underneath - held in the grip of a powerful millionaire, Max Devore, who twists the very fabric of the community to his purpose: to take his three-year-old granddaughter away from her widowed young mother. As Mike is drawn into their struggle, as he falls in love with both of them, he is also drawn into the mystery of Sara Laughs, now the site of ghostly visitations, ever-escalating nightmares, and the sudden recovery of his writing ability. What are the forces that have been unleashed here - and what do they want of Mike Noonan?

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