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Doctor Sleep (2013)

by Stephen King

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Shining (2)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
5,0802851,503 (4.05)253
"Stephen King returns to the characters and territory of one of his most popular novels ever, The Shining, in this instantly riveting novel about the now middle-aged Dan Torrance (the boy protagonist of The Shining) and the very special twelve-year-old girl he must save from a tribe of murderous paranormals. On highways across America, a tribe of people called The True Knot travel in search of sustenance. They look harmless-- mostly old, lots of polyester, and married to their RVs. But as Dan Torrance knows, and spunky twelve-year-old Abra Stone learns, The True Knot are quasi-immortal, living off the 'steam' that children with the 'shining' produce when they are slowly tortured to death. Haunted by the inhabitants of the Overlook Hotel where he spent one horrific childhood year, Dan has been drifting for decades, desperate to shed his father's legacy of despair, alcoholism, and violence. Finally, he settles in a New Hampshire town, an AA community that sustains him, and a job at a nursing home where his remnant 'shining' power provides the crucial final comfort to the dying. Aided by a prescient cat, he becomes 'Doctor Sleep.' Then Dan meets the evanescent Abra Stone, and it is her spectacular gift, the brightest shining ever seen, that reignites Dan's own demons and summons him to a battle for Abra's soul and survival"--From publisher's web site.… (more)
Recently added byNebulous40, Arina40, NykiK, sergioferia, MegL93, LondonLori76, private library, Rozp
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English (274)  Italian (2)  German (2)  French (1)  Dutch (1)  Spanish (1)  Danish (1)  Catalan (1)  Swedish (1)  Finnish (1)  All languages (285)
Showing 1-5 of 274 (next | show all)
This is a perfect book for King fans. It has a little of everything that his readers love about his books. It has an ending slightly more unusual than most. In my opinion, this ending does a lot to overcome a deficiency in some of King's writing which is lack of emotional tenderness among his characters. A Shakespearean broad scope of human feeling encompassing both good and malign influences, I had found to be missing. Attention to vocabulary and continuity of language is excellent. Dialogue is quirky in the King way of writing. Most characters are skeptical about the world (hurt by pain and sorrow) but they are willing to take a chance to do good and deciding that their intention is honest, positive, and pure.

I read this book as slowly as possible to take in all that I could about the story. Being handicapped by not having previously read The Shining first, this book is still, for the most part a stand alone novel for King fans. There are a few important details to be appreciated for readers of the first novel but Doctor Sleep is a work with entirely new characters except for Dan Torrance. This book was recommended by some of the smartest readers I know.
This is a highly sophisticated narrative which makes use of King's fertile imagination to pace the story and the readers' interest up until the final pages. King said that he used several people to help him research his own original The Shining story and thus to dovetail with Doctor Sleep. This extra help with the narrative structure is evident as no detail is left open hasty misinterpretation unless the King was purposeful in his ambiguity.
There are elements of horror novel in this but it falls, in my view, under fantasy and thriller genres. King does something interesting here in that he invents a form of dialogue between people communicating telepathically. It's interesting since most writers would have just related this interaction using third person retelling.
Now in Doctor Sleep (title taken from Dan Torrance's helping people peacefully transition from life to afterlife working in a hospice facility) evil has another form from the other descriptions in The Dead Zone or 11.22.63, for example. There evil lurks waiting for a new host to live when it is cast out of one entity. This is a somewhat biblical framework given in the Gospels. Here evil (the source of evil is not explicitly accounted for here) is an ancient coven lasting several hundred years who live off a vital source within persons who are known to be touched by Shine. The coven live an existence unto themselves and appear to not be aligned with other shape-shifting entities. Evil in Doctor Sleep is part of a dualist landscape and the Knot are defeated (at least temporarily) when their host bodies are destroyed. This seems like a version of Gnosticism which has appeared in world literature previously (e.g. The Gospel of Judas). Gnosticism is often well suited to those minds prone to superstition. There are some elements of Roman Catholicism featured in this story as well. So for me I like the horror elements of The Dead Zone and 11.22.63 but Doctor Sleep is also worth reading since it shows the defeat of new age astral travel (fantasy) while still being attentive to the need for Dan Torrance to confront his own harmful past family history of personal horror.
This book introduces a new realm of evil into King's cosmology that specifically torments Shiners but also allows evil to be defeated by humans working together with a plan to use supernatural forces against evil itself. ( )
  sacredheart25 | Oct 22, 2020 |
Slow beginning, was deeply engrossing in middle, wanted more Dan and Abra interactions (the heart of the story for me), creepy in parts, enjoyed callbacks to The Shinning, not sure the final showdown with villain was big enough payoff for me, and ending slowed to adequacy.
Want more Abra! ( )
  WhiskeyintheJar | Aug 8, 2020 |
It pains me to give a Stephen King book only three stars. Bear with me.

Billed as a sequel to The Shining, I felt this book fell short. I've read the Shining more than once (yes, despite it's awkward at times prose and POV mishaps, it is worth it). Even having read it multiple times and now being in my *ahem* rather late thirties, when I read the Shining last fall in anticipation of this book, I still had times where I got goosebumps and jumped at random noises and shadows in the house. Despite the fact that it's starting to get long in the tooth (HAH, DS readers will chuckle), the Shining still serves as a great book for getting a bit of creepy fright.

Doctor Sleep, a continuation of that story, held no fright. There was suspense, and even action, but no spine tingling, bone chilling, jump at the shadows because two keys on the piano just started playing and no one's there scare. While a lot of that is due to who King has become as a writer in the last few decades, focussing more on the weaving of a good story over giving his readers the heebie jeebies, in a book that is supposed to be a successor, its absence was noteable. There was a type of urban science fiction (for lack of a better term) that was really popular in the late seventies and early eighties dealing with psychics and ESP. A fine enough topic, and this was a great book in that sub-genre, but without anything to counter balance it I was left wanting. This was a psychic hero explores his life and powers book, not a REDRUM thriller.

As a sequel, then, I give this three stars. It did not stand up to the bar that was set by its predecessor. The book would have been better suited if the lead character had not been named Danny Torrence - then it would have been just another King affectation of setting one novel in the world of another (Sidewinder). Then the fact that we have a book that obsesses over steam, a purported sequel to a book that obsessed over a steam boiler, but that only once almost made a cross reference wouldn't bother me so much. ( )
  kodermike | Jul 31, 2020 |
Excellent! I used to love everything King wrote - but that was a looooong time ago. Thought 1/3 could have been excised from the bloated Under the Dome - and I shall not speak of the eye rolling ending. Doctor Sleep however was much much better. Writing cleaner and tighter - no 50 page passages of repetitive bloat that does nothing to move the story forward. This is classic King back from the days where the editor was willing to say 'cut here' instead of 'yes,sir' (I'm presuming this is the case - he's got a new publisher and it appears to be a positive move). If you enjoy his older stuff - and you liked the Shining - this one is a must read. ( )
  wills2003 | Jul 30, 2020 |
It took me a long time to start Doctor Sleep. I remember reading "The Shining" when I was a pre-teen and being scared to go to sleep for weeks without my handy flashlight next to me. I felt for Danny Torrance and his family as they were trapped in the Overlook hotel where people that were dead did not stay dead. I always wondered what happened to Danny and his mother after they survived the Overlook. Doctor Sleep allows us to see what kind of man has Danny (Dan) become since "The Shining."

When the novel begins we have Danny and his mother still recovering from the events at the Overlook. We a visit from Dick Hallorann thrown in we readers quickly find out that Danny is still dealing with the events at the Overlook and we find out an interesting side effect to the shining. Stephen King then throws the novel forward into Danny's (now known as Dan) early to mid twenties who we come to find out has become a drunk who drinks to forget his past. The novel zig-zags through Dan's life and we also have incorporated into the novel some asides to characters called "The True Knot" who apparently know what "The Shining" is and want it for themselves. Additionally we have the characters of Lucy, David, and their daughter Abra.

I have to say that I was very taken by the characterization of Dan in this novel. After everything he has been through who would not have some scarring left from that. However, I felt disappointed that we do not get to get into his life with his mom growing up except for a few short sentences referencing her and Dick. To have Dan just falling and hitting rock bottom was believable except for the part that I doubt that Dick would have ever let Dan fall that hard without a little tough love and getting back in touch. I felt as a reader that Stephen King left off some important information for me to just get into why Dan just slid as far down as he did in the world.

Regarding the characters who made up "The True Knot", I really did not find them scary at all. Definitely horrible villains but they did not make me feel as fearful or scared as I did while reading Stephen King's "Full Dark, No Stars" or the character of It in "It" (involuntary shudder) compared to those villains these people were just lightweights. I really wish that they had not taken up as much of the novel as they did or we had been able to understand exactly what moved them besides just staying alive.

I found the character of Abra interesting along with her parents and I would love to see this character followed-up on in a subsequent novel but find that once the connection to Dan was finally explained by King that I just felt disappointed. It really didn't make a lot of sense and I felt that the explanations of how everything tied together actually made the novel lose its steam at that point so when we go into the last couple of chapters I found myself not as engaged as I should have been.

All in all this was a very nice sequel to "The Shining" but I think it would have been better if we just didn't have the whole "True Knot" characters in the novel or if we did they really should have been scarier or at least I should have been scared for our heroes. ( )
  ObsidianBlue | Jul 1, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 274 (next | show all)
What are those virtues? First, King is a well-trusted guide to the underworld. His readers will follow him through any door marked “Danger: Keep Out” (or, in more literary terms, “Abandon All Hope Ye Who Enter Here”), because they know that not only will he give them a thorough tour of the inferno — no gore left unspilled, no shriek left unshrieked — he will also get them out alive. As the Sibyl of Cumae puts it to Aeneas, it’s easy to go to hell, but returning from it is the hard part. She can say that because she’s been there; and, in a manner of speaking — our intuition tells us — so has King.

Second, King is right at the center of an American literary taproot that goes all the way down: to the Puritans and their belief in witches, to Hawthorne, to Poe, to Melville, to the Henry James of “The Turn of the Screw,” and then to later exemplars like Ray Bradbury. In the future, I predict, theses will be written on such subjects as “American Puritan Neo-Surrealism in ‘The Scarlet Letter’ and ‘The Shining,’ ” and “Melville’s Pequod and King’s Overlook Hotel as Structures That Encapsulate American History.”
added by ozzer | editNew York Times, Margaret Atwood (Sep 19, 2013)
 

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Stephen Kingprimary authorall editionscalculated
Levinsen, JakobTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Patton, WillNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Epigraph
We stood at the turning point. Half-measures availed us nothing.
- The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous
If we were to live, we had to be free of anger. [It is] the dubious luxury of normal men and women.
- The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous
Dedication
When I was playing my primitive band of rhythm guitar with a group called the Rock Bottom Remainders, Warren Zevon used to gig with us. Warren loved gray t-shirts and movies like Kingdom of the Spiders. He insisted I sing lead on his signature tune, "Werewolves of London", during the encore portion of our shows. I said I was not worthy. He insisted that I was. "Key of G", Warren told me, "and howl like you mean it. Most important of all, play like Keith."
I'll never be able to play like Keith Richards, but I always did my best, and with Warren beside me, matching me note for note and laughing his fool head off, I always had a blast.
Warren, this howl is for you, wherever you are. I miss you, buddy.
First words
On the second day of December in a year when a Georgia peanut farmer was doing business in the White House, one of Colorado's great resort hotels burned to the ground.
Quotations
The True's towns, with colorful names like Dry Bend, Jerusalem's Lot, Oree, and Sidewinder, were safe havens, but they never stayed in those places for long; mostly they were migratory.
"There are other worlds than these."
The one thing of which Dan was sure was that there were no coincidences.
Life was a wheel, its only job was to turn, and it always came back to where it had started.
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Disambiguation notice
Please distinguish Stephen King's novel, Doctor Sleep (2013), from Madison Smartt Bell's novel of the same title (1991).
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Information from the Italian Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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Information from the French Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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"Stephen King returns to the characters and territory of one of his most popular novels ever, The Shining, in this instantly riveting novel about the now middle-aged Dan Torrance (the boy protagonist of The Shining) and the very special twelve-year-old girl he must save from a tribe of murderous paranormals. On highways across America, a tribe of people called The True Knot travel in search of sustenance. They look harmless-- mostly old, lots of polyester, and married to their RVs. But as Dan Torrance knows, and spunky twelve-year-old Abra Stone learns, The True Knot are quasi-immortal, living off the 'steam' that children with the 'shining' produce when they are slowly tortured to death. Haunted by the inhabitants of the Overlook Hotel where he spent one horrific childhood year, Dan has been drifting for decades, desperate to shed his father's legacy of despair, alcoholism, and violence. Finally, he settles in a New Hampshire town, an AA community that sustains him, and a job at a nursing home where his remnant 'shining' power provides the crucial final comfort to the dying. Aided by a prescient cat, he becomes 'Doctor Sleep.' Then Dan meets the evanescent Abra Stone, and it is her spectacular gift, the brightest shining ever seen, that reignites Dan's own demons and summons him to a battle for Abra's soul and survival"--From publisher's web site.

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