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The Long Walk by Stephen King

The Long Walk (original 1979; edition 1999)

by Stephen King, Richard Bachman (Contributor)

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4,3711062,022 (3.99)1 / 131
In the near future, a young boy has been one of 100 selected to take the Long Walk--a deadly contest of endurance and determination, in which each step can literally be your last. Follow the contestants' tortured footsteps as they struggle with each other, and themselves, to survive the race. Includes the Introduction "The Importance of Being Bachman". Vintage King, this harrowing tale was originally published under the Richard Bachman pseudonym.… (more)
Title:The Long Walk
Authors:Stephen King
Other authors:Richard Bachman (Contributor)
Info:Signet (1999), Edition: 1st, Mass Market Paperback, 384 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:joe krogman

Work details

The Long Walk by Stephen King (1979)

  1. 90
    The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (LadyHazy)
    LadyHazy: (not for young adult readers though, it's a lot more violent)
  2. 20
    Battle Royale by Koushun Takami (LadyHazy)
  3. 00
    Arena One: Slaverunners by Morgan Rice (ajwseven)

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English (99)  French (2)  Italian (2)  Dutch (1)  German (1)  All languages (105)
Showing 1-5 of 99 (next | show all)
This is only the second King book I've read and it almost didn't happen except it was recommended by a family member. The first book, "The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon" was so boring to me that I wasn't sure I was going to give King another go. The Long Walk isn't boring. It's horrifying for sure. It's not fine literature, but it's captivating like a car wreck and I guess, more Stephen King-ish than TGWLTG is. I couldn't help thinking the whole time I read this that The Hunger Games just took this premise and changed it from a walk to an overall competition...but maybe that's not the case. ( )
  Sean191 | Oct 3, 2021 |
The first time I read this novel, thirty-odd years ago, I literally have no memory of it. I don't remember it having any effect on me whatsoever.

Today, having finished it for the second time, I have no idea how that could have happened.

This is a bleak, visceral, gut-punch of a novel. It's King at his cleanest, his writing is tight, concise, and heartbreakingly real. He makes every warning terrifying, and every death is felt, as it should be.

For the bulk of this audiobook, I listened while walking. The real landscape fell away and I was on the road with Garrity and the others. There are three scenes in particular, none of which I'll spoil, that stand out. I'll just say that, the first one, that I heard as I started out this morning, had me actually slowing my own walk and whispering, "get up! Get UP!" I felt the fluttering of my heart in my throat.

The second and third scenes are both deaths toward the end of the novel, and both of them had me choked up and blinking away tears.

It's not often that reality falls away, and the reality of the book becomes my world. It's not often that I read a story and don't consider the machinations of that guy behind the curtain, pulling the levers.

But for a few hours, I was a teenaged boy, walking endless miles with 99 others.

This is one of King's best novels.
  TobinElliott | Sep 3, 2021 |
Interesting to see the way I was manipulated into distaste for the crowds that watched this event only to realize that my ongoing page turning made me a member of the crowd. This was bleak and compelling (not in a great way). Also, as I read more and more, it surprises me to be 600-700 pages into a long tome and then notice a typo. Just jumps out at you and seems odd given the thousands of words the preceded that error. In this case, I noticed that King used the word "sough" five times. As soon as I hit the 2nd one, i said "huh," and then the others just felt like a copy editor of any strength ought to have caught that. My father was an English professor and it was not cool to like Stephen King but I do and I appreciate his contributions and of course, his volume of work. ( )
  shaundeane | Sep 13, 2020 |
"Go ahead and tell yourself it's a straight game. Any game looks straight if everyone is being cheated at once."

I think this is my third or fourth time with this book. And every time I somehow binge it. It isn't exactly short, but there seems to be no way to take it in without getting completely caught up, mesmerized, horrified, and consequently, so, so freaking exhausted. It's a pretty apt experience, considering what the book is about.

That's what I like about it so much, though. It makes me worry like no other book. It gives me a sickening feeling of being trapped. There're no villains. There're no tricks or schemes, and there's no escape. This dystopia is as weird as they get, but it feels scarily familiar to me anyways, scarily possible. There's no turning back, there's no giving up, there's no relief, and there's no way to win - you die, or you go on. It can stand for a million infinitely scarier things, diluted into one simple order: walk.

And that just makes it fascinating. Absolutely normal things are turned into disasters, either deadly or humiliating. I feel myself tensing up when someone drops a water bottle. Total dread when someone else gets stomach cramps. There're these grisly, dully fantastical deaths that hurt like hell to read and then fade into nothingness, while I cross my fingers against anyone getting a shoelace untied.

And as much as I'm not...really...a King fan, I will say that there's something perfect about his dialogue. It's strange. It's really wicked unique. Half of it is outdated sayings that seem so weird to me, the other half is the ability to make almost anything sound pitch-perfect and quirky. And though I've always hated hated hated Stephen King's characters, maybe it was just circumstance that made me want all these guys to be sent home safely. Easy to get attached from this distance when I knew that at any point they could, like, trip on a stick and get their brains blown out.

Anyhow. HOWEVER.

This also worked nicely as a reminder to myself, in a time where I'm getting that itch to y'know, just try a Stephen King book again, just give it another shot, because the ideas are neat and everyone else has read it - reminder to myself to just frickin' don't. Don't do it. This was so...grating.
Sure, yeah, it's from the 70's, but that doesn't mean I have to tolerate it. Not when every girl (even Garraty's M O T H E R) is described first and foremost with her breasts (and when she isn't, it's her legs, and thighs, and waist, THEN breasts, then face, then how she has hair like a whore even though this is Garraty's girlfriend who he loves so much, sureokfine), the one black character dies with a gleeful typing of the n-word (don't worry, it comes back later for NO REASON), 'queers' are perverts and incestuous and get their sexual awakening at 5 years old I guess and it's traumatizing (I die every day I remember stumbling into a diehard group of Garraty/McVries shippers actually recommending this as an LGBT book when the biggest rep is McVries joking about jerking off Garraty to make him angry, sureokfiNE) (I woulda been fine if we didn't have to deal with the five year old kidS HGGGHHH ENOUGH), so on, so forth, christ christ christ. It swung wildly from King's trademark, a trademark I DO like, of not shying away from the gross and the profane and the taboo, to sounding like it was written by a 13 year old boy who kept coming up with unneeded sex metaphors (also I swear to god he typed 'flapped obscenely' about fifteen goddamn times in this book) (WHO DESCRIBES A MEGAPHONE AS 'SEXLESS'???? IT'S A MEGAPHONE!!!).
Blah blah blah, politics for a different time, but it's just so tiring. It starts to feel dumb and dull and lazy. K, done.

So, yeah, this book is scary as hell. I feel like I need a nap after reading it. I was walking home today and my heels hurt and I was like, I would die so fast in the Walk, and maybe that's why it's so scary. It's like watching a car crash. It's a mess and it's awful, and I'm sorry that I like it so much. Somehow, it's never made me cry, though. That's a thought. ( )
  Chyvalrys | Aug 5, 2020 |
It's really fascinating to go back and read books you thought you really understood as a kid, and diving into Bachman nee King writing a disturbing dystopian YA really fits the bill for the whole mind-blowing thing. :)

Yeah. Dystopian YA SF.

He gives credit right in the book and all types of other places for cribbing from Shirley Jackson, especially the whole Lottery vibe, but what modern readers will probably latch onto is just how much the Hunger Games is cribbed off of King. :) (Also Battle Royalle, but let's get serious here. 1979 horrorshow master over the Japanese title that comes out just a few years before Hunger Games sounds a little more plausible.)

I could almost see the president pontificating, too, but there was nothing quite like that. Just the excitement and homey feel of a few states' worth of country and town folk gawking on the side of the road as they thrill to the idea that they might see a shotgun blast to a teenager's head if they falter on their very long walk.

It's pretty sick. It's all too plausible, too. We've got a whole nation full of psychopaths supporting each other and holding up a grand ideal of killing off 99 out of a hundred kids from sheer exhaustion, wounds, or even Charley Horses. You slow down, you die. Make it a marathon for five days. Have cheering girls and having to take a dump for a crowd as you walk. Get to know your own mortality. Figure out that a con is no less a con if everyone's being conned at the same time.

Honestly, I loved this book more now than I did then. I thought it was properly horrific and shocking and all, making me think more about boot camp and war preparedness in general and the insanity surrounding it... but this time I enjoyed the idea of pretending it might be a modern mature video game we could play as either the walkers or the dire guards with rifles that kept pace with the kids and gave them three warnings, three minutes, before the bullet entered the skull.

I was just thinking how much headshots would count. It's all about the headshots. And killing tons of kids, of course. It would be a real mind trip to play that game. Rather sick, too. But I think it might be a very popular one for the angry high-schooler crowd. :)

Too cool, regardless. The novel seems to start slow and very mild, but like the proverbial frog in the pot, we all get boiled alive. :) Great stuff.
( )
  bradleyhorner | Jun 1, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 99 (next | show all)
Wielki Marsz
Jaka jest największa nagroda, którą można sobie wymarzyć? Wielu odpowiedziałoby pieniądze, sława czy władza. Ale jest coż ważniejszego od tych rzeczy. Największą nagrodą jest zachowanie życia. Taką właśnie tematykę podjął Stephen King w książce zatytułowanej "Wielki Marsz". Autor znowu zaskoczył czytelników głębią swojego umysłu. Stworzył bowiem opowieść wciągającą, alegoryczną i tonącą w mrocznym klimacie.

Tym razem S. King mocą swojej wyobraźni przeniósł czytelnika na start wyścigu. Meta natomiast znajduje się tam, gdzie padnie ze zmęczenia przedostatni z zawodników. Raz w roku do Wielkiego Marszu stają młodzi chłopcy z całych Stanów Zjednoczonych. Ich zadaniem jest maszerować tak długo, aż zostanie tylko jeden. Jeden, bo pozostali zginą, jeśli spróbują wycofać się w trakcie wyścigu. Trasa marszu biegnie przez ogromne połacie kraju, a młodzi zawodnicy muszą wędrować niezależnie od warunków pogodowych czy pory dnia.

"Wielki Marsz" S. Kinga opowiada o brutalnej i bezwzglednej rywalizacji. Cel może osiągnąć tylko jedna osoba, a śmiałków jest wielu. Czy w grupie znajdą się ludzie gotowi pomóc słabszym zawodnikom? Czy chęć przetrwania okaże się silniejsza niż ludzkie uczucia?

Wędrując śladem zawodników wyścigu, czytelnik posmakuje napięcia, jakie zbudował S. King. Zagłębi się w mroczny świat, w którym obowiązuje tylko jedna zasada. Za wszelką cenę iść do przodu i nie zatrzymywać się nawet na moment. Tylko wtedy osiągnie się cel podróży i zdobędzie nagrodę.

"Wielki Marsz" to książka dla wszystkich miłośników literatury grozy. Ale z pewnością i inni czytelnicy znajdą interesujące wątki w opowieści S. Kinga. Niewątpliwie domeną tego autora jest to, że potrafi dotrzeć do wielu odbiorców.

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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Stephen Kingprimary authorall editionscalculated
Bachman, Richardsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Information from the German Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
"Für mich war das ganze Universum leer, ohne Leben, ohne Sinn, ohne Willenskraft, ja, ohne Feindseligkeit; es war eine einzige, unermesslich große, todbringende Dampfmaschine, die in ihrer tödlichen Gleichgültigkeit vor sich herstampfte und mich Glied für Glied zermalmte. Ein ödes, düsteres, einsames Golgatha, eine Todesmühle! Warum waren die Lebenden, die dorthin verbannt waren, ohne Gefährten? Warum hatten sie ein Bewusstsein? Warum, wenn es keinen Teufel gibt - oder ist der Teufel etwa euer Gott?" - Thomas Carlyle
"Ich möchte jeden Amerikaner ermuntern, so oft wie möglich zu wandern. Es ist nicht nur gesund; es bringt auch Spaß." - John F. Kennedy (1962)
"Die Pumpe ist kaputt, weil die Vandalen den Schwengel mitgenommen haben." - Bob Dylan
This is for Jim Bishop and Burt Hatlen and Ted Holmes
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An old blue Ford pulled into the guarded parking lot that morning, looking like a small, tired dog after a hard run.
To me the Universe was all void of Life, or Purpose, of Volition, even of Hostility; it was one huge, dead, immeasurable Steam-engine, rolling on , in its dead indifference, to grind me limb from limb. O vast, gloomy, solitary Golgatha, and Mill of Death! Why was the Living banished thither companionless, conscious? Why, if there is no Devil; nay, unless the Devil is your God." - Thomas Carlyle
"I would encourage every American to walk as often as possible. It's more that healthy; it's fun" - John F. Kennedy (1962)
"The pump don't work 'Cause the vandals took the handle." - Bob Dylan
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (1)

In the near future, a young boy has been one of 100 selected to take the Long Walk--a deadly contest of endurance and determination, in which each step can literally be your last. Follow the contestants' tortured footsteps as they struggle with each other, and themselves, to survive the race. Includes the Introduction "The Importance of Being Bachman". Vintage King, this harrowing tale was originally published under the Richard Bachman pseudonym.

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Every year, on the first of May, one hundred teenage boys meet for an event known throughout the country as "The Long Walk." Among this year's chosen crop is sixteen-year-old Ray Garraty. He knows the rules: that warnings are issued if you fall under speed, stumble, sit down. That after three warnings...you get your ticket. And what happens then serves as a chilling reminder that there can be only one winner in the Walk - the one that survives... (0-451-19671-6)
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