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The Shining (1977)

by Stephen King

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Shining (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
18,045381171 (4.11)2 / 859
Jack Torrance's new job at the Overlook Hotel is the perfect chance for a fresh start. As the off-season caretaker at the atmospheric old hotel, he'll have plenty of time to spend reconnecting with his family and working on his writing. But as the harsh winter weather sets in, the idyllic location feels ever more remote . . . and more sinister. And the only one to notice the strange and terrible forces gathering around the Overlook is Danny Torrance, a uniquely gifted five-year-old.… (more)
1970s (12)
Ghosts (14)

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English (364)  Italian (5)  Dutch (3)  French (3)  Danish (2)  German (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  All languages (379)
Showing 1-5 of 364 (next | show all)
One of the best psychological horror thriller. ( )
  madhukaraphatak | Aug 12, 2020 |
This book really creeped me out, in a good way. I also noticed that there was a lot more packed into the book than the movie. The movie was very good- I'm not sure why Mister King was so upset by it. The book gives a little bit of redemption to Jack in the end. The curse is explained more thoroughly ( )
  mshen77 | Jul 31, 2020 |
I don't often reread books, but with a sequel coming out this month it seemed like a good idea. Just as frightening as I remembered, though all these years later I'd forgotten how loose King was with POV in this early novel. Still a classic in my book, and still just this side of creepy to make me jump a few times :) ( )
  kodermike | Jul 31, 2020 |
Jack Torrance takes a position as the winter caretaker of the Overlook Hotel mostly because he doesn't have any other choice. He's a recovering alcoholic with anger issues who was fired from his previous position as a teacher for beating a student. The caretaker position will give him and his wife (Wendy) and 5-year-old son (Danny) a place to stay while he finishes writing his play and figures out what his next step is going to be.

Although Wendy is no longer considering a divorce, she still has trust issues where Jack is concerned. When he was drunk, Jack once broke Danny's arm, and a part of Wendy has never forgiven him for it and worries that he'll do something like it again. For his part, Danny loves both of his parents and wants them to stay together and love each other. Danny happens to be psychic, so he's more aware of his parents' thoughts and feelings than the average 5-year-old. He's also the first member of the family to notice that the Overlook Hotel is very, very haunted. But ghosts are just scary pictures. They can't actually hurt the living...right?

I've never previously read this or seen the movie, although it's been on my TBR at least since the last time I got on a "horror set in haunted buildings" kick. Other than a few iconic images from the movie, I didn't really know much about The Shining or what to expect. For example, Danny's psychic abilities took me by surprise.

I had thought that the Overlook Hotel's various ghosts would take center stage more, but the book was actually more focused on Jack's alcoholism and anger issues. Prior to arriving at the Overlook, he seemed mostly in control. He was sober and seemed fine with the idea of being snowed in at the hotel with his wife, child, and no alcohol. Unfortunately, the Overlook's ghosts gnawed away at his control and added fuel to his temper. All of the bitterness, misogyny, and racism in him rose to the surface. It was hard to listen to sometimes.

This was more Jack's story than Wendy's - her backstory was mostly designed to explain why she didn't immediately take Danny and run when things at the Overlook started to look a bit off, before the snow trapped them all at the hotel. Her mother, the only person she could have turned to for help, was overbearing, unpleasant, and had a habit of undermining everyone around her. When she rightfully began to worry about and be suspicious of Jack's behavior, her fear that she was starting to become like her mother caused her to doubt herself and give Jack more chances.

Danny didn't always read like a 5-year-old, but he also wasn't supposed to. His abilities gave him a glimpse into adult minds that a child his age normally wouldn't have, even if he didn't always understand what he saw.

This book dragged for me at times. I got tired of Jack repeatedly falling back on blaming everyone but himself for his problems, and I just wanted more ghost moments - the hotel room, hedge animals, etc. were great. But the focus was Jack, his deteriorating condition, and the strain it was putting his family under, so I had to put up with Jack more than I preferred. And yeah, I know that Jack's alcoholism was the point. Still.

Campbell Scott's narration was pretty good, although reading this in paper form would have allowed me to skim the parts that tried my patience, so I'm still not sure if audio was the best option for this.

(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.) ( )
  Familiar_Diversions | Jul 25, 2020 |
Great scary book. Excellent sense of doom. Better than Kubrick's movie. ( )
  spaceman5000 | Jul 23, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 364 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (15 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
King, Stephenprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Christensen, HarroTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Davies, PaulCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dell'Orto, AdrianaTranslatorsecondary 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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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.
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