The Shining by Stephen King.
At the most recent WI meeting I attended we did a blind book swap. I got this. Stephen King, I know, is often referred to as ‘The King of Horror’ but it may surprise some of you that I have never actually read any of his work. I’ve read work by his son Joe Hill (Horns and Heart Shaped Box) and I’ve seen plenty film adaptations of his work over the years (Misery, The Shawshank Redemption and Secret Window) but not actually picked up any of his books. So I was really pleased to find this in the package I unwrapped.
Although I have seen the film version of the book, the first thing that struck me was how much of the book offers up more of an insight into Jack Torrance and what leads him to become the caretaker of the Overlook Hotel. I really liked this because it makes what happens later on in the novel much easier to understand. Likewise it was also great to hear more about his little boy Danny, and his mysterious invisible friend who appears to him and shows him thing.
I really loved the style of writing, it was so perfectly descriptive that it enabled me to envisage everything clearly in my mind. At first it seems the Torrance’s are going to be fine in the hotel but as the days get colder and snow gets more persistent the tone of the book begins to take a more sinister turn. Wendy Torrance begins to notice her husband is behaving like he did when he’d come home drunk, although she can’t smell any alcohol on his breath. Danny tries to heed the advice of Mr Hallorann who told him he had the ‘shine’ so should avoid certain rooms in the house, and Jack seems to be obsessing over old papers in the basement that tell the chilling tale of the hotel’s dark history.
It’s at this point that Stephen King displays his ability to send shudders down your spine with his imagery. Granted I didn’t find the foliage animals coming to life particularly creepy but the description of the dead woman in room 217 made me feel cold. The way King played with the characters minds and imaginations, hearing the elevator going up and down in the middle of the night, these are the things that made me scared. I tore through the 497 page book in 3 days and will definitely read some more of his work in the future.
Star Rating out of 5: 4
‘They stood on the porch in the fading light, Jack in the middle, his left arm around Danny’s shoulders and his right arm around Wendy’s waist. Together they watched as the decision was taken out of their hands.’
If you have read any Stephen King novels and would like to give me some suggestions of what to read next, please feel free to comment below.