HomeGroupsTalkMoreZeitgeist
Search Site
This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Loading...

The Gunslinger (1982)

by Stephen King

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Dark Tower (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
22,324479162 (3.79)1 / 453
Fantasy. Fiction. Horror. Thriller. HTML:"An impressive work of mythic magnitude that may turn out to be Stephen King's greatest literary achievement" (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution), The Gunslinger is the first volume in the epic Dark Tower Series.
A #1 national bestseller, The Gunslinger introduces readers to one of Stephen King's most powerful creations, Roland of Gilead: The Last Gunslinger. He is a haunting figure, a loner on a spellbinding journey into good and evil. In his desolate world, which mirrors our own in frightening ways, Roland tracks The Man in Black, encounters an enticing woman named Alice, and begins a friendship with the boy from New York named Jake.

Inspired in part by the Robert Browning narrative poem, "Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came," The Gunslinger is "a compelling whirlpool of a story that draws one irretrievable to its center" (Milwaukee Sentinel). It is "brilliant and fresh...and will leave you panting for more" (Booklist).
… (more)
  1. 71
    The Dark Tower, Books 1-3: The Gunslinger, The Drawing of the Three, and The Waste Lands by Stephen King (Valjeanne)
    Valjeanne: While The Gunslinger Book 1 is not one of my favorite books by Stephen King, one should read it to provide the backdrop to the sequels. The Drawing of the Three (especially) and The Waste Lands are much more engaging and two of King's most brilliant novels.… (more)
  2. 41
    Insomnia by Stephen King (sturlington)
    sturlington: Insomnia introduces the Crimson King, the big baddie from The Dark Tower series.
  3. 20
    Wizard and Glass by Stephen King (Morteana)
  4. 10
    A Book of Tongues by Gemma Files (Anonymous user)
  5. 10
    The Whirlwind in the Thorn Tree by Samara Abigail Hunt (emren)
    emren: Whirlwind in the Thorn Tree is a love letter to the Dark Tower series. Now read the original!
  6. 10
    The Probability Broach by L. Neil Smith (fulner)
    fulner: The gun slignger starts an adventure where or protagonist must find where he is. The probability broach is based on a 20th century PI who accidentally stumbles into another demention after trying to find a usually murder with unusual weaponry.
  7. 12
    Hyperion by Dan Simmons (Scottneumann)
  8. 12
    The Waste Lands by Stephen King (Afalstein)
    Afalstein: Book in the same series, with many of the same characters and a very similar tone.
Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

» See also 453 mentions

English (454)  Dutch (6)  Spanish (4)  Italian (3)  French (3)  Swedish (2)  Danish (2)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  Norwegian (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  German (1)  All languages (478)
Showing 1-5 of 454 (next | show all)
A man known as the gunslinger is in pursuit of a mysterious man in black. Who this gunslinger is and what he wants will be revealed slowly over the course of the book, along with the details of the mysterious fantasy world we find him in. One thing's for sure: he's not going to let the man in black get away from him, no matter how much desert he must cross or what he'll have to sacrifice.

The Gunslinger is a fantasy novel with a Western feel to it. The setting includes a vast desert, a small town with little more than a bar and a church, and uncharted wilderness beyond. The main character is stoic and emotionally hardened, the kind of man who does what he feels he has to. And of course that includes leaving some bullet-riddled bodies behind him.

Unique in this world is that the gunslinger is the only character who seems to own operating guns. Meanwhile, magic is real and demons a real threat. The worldbuilding in this book gives few explanations, tossing out new concepts and hoping the reader can either guess what terms mean and how things work or else wait patiently for more clues to be given later.

The main character is almost equally mysterious, with a name that isn't revealed until many pages in and motivations that remained unclear to me even after I reached the ending. There are long sections of backstory given, both for him and certain other characters, but I suspect to get the full answers would require reading the entire series. In this book, you'll mainly gain a greater understanding of how the gunslinger came to be the person he is, including some hints at why he's so emotionally distant.

The writing quality is excellent, including a liberal sprinkling of clever lines. Often a description would catch me by surprise and make me pause to consider. Other times, it describes an experience few people have likely had before in a way that makes it easy to conceptualize, like when the characters are travelling through a vast tunnel and we're treated to such lines as: "There was no fuel in this rock womb, and what they had brought with them was going rapidly to ash. At times the urge to strike a light was well-nigh insatiable. They had discovered one could grow as hungry for light as for food.". This book is practically begging you to stop and savor the prose.

On the negative side, however, the main character was raised in a clearly sexist society and doesn't seem to have progressed beyond it in any way. Neither does the narrative do anything to challenge him or to present the reader with female characters who define themselves rather than being defined by their relationships with men. Nearly all the female characters were sexualized, and this was often presented as the most important thing about them or one of the few important things about them. The female character I found most interesting was given this treatment, was present only for a portion of the story, and then was ever after referred to with an explanation of who she'd been. As if the author was expecting the reader to have forgotten about her completely. Meanwhile, some of the male characters who appeared only briefly in backstory were afterwards referred to by name alone, with a clear expectation that readers should remember them. This is the kind of book where women exist mainly to be mothers or sisters or servants or sexual partners to men, and you shouldn't go in expecting anything else.

But if you're willing to give the book a shot in spite of that, I would say that its strengths lie in the writing and the (male) characterization. Whether you'll enjoy the book likely comes down to whether you enjoy the writing style and characters of the same mold as the gunslinger. If you're willing to strap in for the ride and go wherever the author takes you, you'll find a steadily unfolding narrative with new discoveries around every turn. You'll probably want to stay on for the whole series to see how it ends. But if you don't have the stomach for long stretches of toxic masculinity, it's best to find a different book.
  dste | Nov 2, 2023 |
I don't think I'm this book's target audience.
  Tom_Wright | Oct 11, 2023 |
What a horrible way to start a series. I could only get to page a 110 before I decided I didn't want to waste my tme with this book. I had heard before that this book wasn't as good as the actual series but... I was on page 110 an I still didn't know what the purpose of the character was, why he was following the black man or what the heck was going on with the dead people who weren't dead.
( )
  enlasnubess | Oct 2, 2023 |
Not going to rate this one. I love King's books but this one and I, we just cannot connect. This is my third time reading it and I am just going to accept that it's not for me.

The writing is so beautiful in places you want to read it over and over again but the story is not one I can fall into.
  beentsy | Aug 12, 2023 |
I have a very long term goal of reading as many Stephen King books as I can. I also have a more short term goal of reading a couple books in this series and then watching the movie adaptation. What can I say? I like seeing if the movie adaptations fall in line with the book or have fun with the story.

I picked this book up after buying it many years ago (one of the few books I've bought full priced). A coworker of mine kept suggesting it, and I decided it was FINALLY time. And man, I actually binged this book! I normally don't go for more slow paced westerns, but this one intrigued me. I don't know if it's Stephen King's writing or just the pure intrigue I had from my friends and family all talking about it. Either way, it was a good read that I binged in a couple days (initially).

I will say, it's very slow for me. I won't be able to read a lot of this series back to back. I'll be continuing on with this series eventually, but man... I hope it picks up and brings out some more of the fantasy and intrigue of this series.

Three out of five stars. It's okay. ( )
  Briars_Reviews | Aug 4, 2023 |
Showing 1-5 of 454 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review

» Add other authors (26 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
King, Stephenprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Guidall, GeorgeNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Körber, JoachimTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rostant, LarryCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stone, SteveCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Whelan, MichaelIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Epigraph
...a stone, a leaf, an unfound door; of a leaf, a stone, a door. And of all the forgotten faces.
Naked and alone we came into exile. In her dark womb, we did not know our mother's face; from the prison of her flesh have we come into the unspeakable and incommunicable prison of this earth.
Which of us has known his brother? Which of us has looked into his father's heart? Which of us has not remained forever prison-pent? Which of us is not forever a stranger and alone?

...O lost, and by the wind grieved, ghost, come back again.
--Thomas Wolfe Look Homeward, Angel
Dedication
To Ed Ferman, who took a chance on these stories, one by one.
First words
The man in black fled across the desert and the gunslinger followed.
Quotations
The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS
Canonical LCC

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (2)

Fantasy. Fiction. Horror. Thriller. HTML:"An impressive work of mythic magnitude that may turn out to be Stephen King's greatest literary achievement" (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution), The Gunslinger is the first volume in the epic Dark Tower Series.
A #1 national bestseller, The Gunslinger introduces readers to one of Stephen King's most powerful creations, Roland of Gilead: The Last Gunslinger. He is a haunting figure, a loner on a spellbinding journey into good and evil. In his desolate world, which mirrors our own in frightening ways, Roland tracks The Man in Black, encounters an enticing woman named Alice, and begins a friendship with the boy from New York named Jake.

Inspired in part by the Robert Browning narrative poem, "Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came," The Gunslinger is "a compelling whirlpool of a story that draws one irretrievable to its center" (Milwaukee Sentinel). It is "brilliant and fresh...and will leave you panting for more" (Booklist).

No library descriptions found.

Book description
The story centers upon Roland Deschain, the last gunslinger who has been chasing after his adversary, "the man in black", for many years. The novel follows Roland's trek through a vast desert and beyond in search of the man in black. Roland meets several people along his journey, including a boy named Jake Chambers who travels with him part of the way.
Haiku summary

Current Discussions

None

Popular covers

Quick Links

Rating

Average: (3.79)
0.5 17
1 156
1.5 19
2 437
2.5 113
3 1279
3.5 230
4 1814
4.5 163
5 1708

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

Recorded Books

An edition of this book was published by Recorded Books.

» Publisher information page

 

About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 197,716,743 books! | Top bar: Always visible