The Shining

The Shining

4.5 1170
by Stephen King

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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

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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.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“A master storyteller.” —Los Angeles Times

“Scary! . . . Serves up horrors at a brisk, unflagging pace.” —The New York Times

“This chilling novel will haunt you, and make your blood run cold and your heart race with fear.” —Nashville Banner
“Guaranteed to frighten you into fits. . . . with a climax that is literally explosive.” —Cosmopolitan

“The most wonderfully gruesome man on the planet.” —USA Today
“An undisputed master of suspense and terror.” —The Washington Post
“[King] probably knows more about scary goings-on in confined, isolated places than anybody since Edgar Allan Poe.” —Entertainment Weekly
“He’s the author who can always make the improbable so scary you’ll feel compelled to check the locks on the front door.” —The Boston Globe
“Peerless imagination.” —The Observer (London)

Guaranteed to frighten you into fits...freezing terror...with a climax that is literally explosive

Product Details

Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
4.10(w) x 6.80(h) x 1.30(d)

Read an Excerpt

Excerpted from Chapter One

Jack Torrance thought: Officious little prick.

Ullman stood five-five, and when he moved, it was with the prissy speed that seems to be the exclusive domain of all small plump men. The part in his hair was exact, and his dark suit was sober but comforting. I am a man you can bring your problems to, that suit said to the paying customer. To the hired help it spoke more curtly: This had better be good, you. There was a red carnation in the lapel, perhaps so that no one on the street would mistake Stuart Ullman for the local undertaker.

As he listened to Ullman speak, Jack admitted to himself that he probably could not have liked any man on that side of the desk—under the circumstances.

Ullman had asked a question he hadn’t caught. That was bad; Ullman was the type of man who would file such lapses away in a mental Rolodex for later consideration.

“I’m sorry?”

“I asked if your wife fully understood what you would be taking on here. And there’s your son, of course.” He glanced down at the application in front of him. “Daniel. Your wife isn’t a bit intimidated by the idea?”

“Wendy is an extraordinary woman.”

“And your son is also extraordinary?”

Jack smiled, a big wide PR smile. “We like to think so, I suppose. He’s quite self-reliant for a five-year-old.”

No returning smile from Ullman. He slipped Jack’s application back into a file. The file went into a drawer. The desk top was now completely bare except for a blotter, a telephone, a Tensor lamp, and an in/out basket. Both sides of the in/out were empty, too.

Ullman stood up and went to the file cabinet in the corner. “Step around the desk, if you will, Mr. Torrance. We’ll look at the hotel floor plans.”

He brought back five large sheets and set them down on the glossy walnut plane of the desk. Jack stood by his shoulder, very much aware of the scent of Ullman’s cologne. All my men wear English Leather or they wear nothing at all came into his mind for no reason at all, and he had to clamp his tongue between his teeth to keep in a bray of laughter. Beyond the wall, faintly, came the sounds of the Overlook Hotel’s kitchen, gearing down from lunch.

“Top floor,” Ullman said briskly. “The attic. Absolutely nothing up there now but bric-a-brac. The Overlook has changed hands several times since World War II and it seems that each successive manager has put everything they don’t want up in the attic. I want rattraps and poison bait sowed around in it. Some of the third-floor chambermaids say they have heard rustling noises. I don’t believe it, not for a moment, but there mustn’t even be that one-in-a-hundred chance that a single rat inhabits the Overlook Hotel.”

Jack, who suspected that every hotel in the world had a rat or two, held his tongue.

“Of course you wouldn’t allow your son up in the attic under any circumstances.”

“No,” Jack said, and flashed the big PR smile again. Humiliating situation. Did this officious little prick actually think he would allow his son to goof around in a rattrap attic full of junk furniture and God knew what else?

Ullman whisked away the attic floor plan and put it on the bottom of the pile.

“The Overlook has one hundred and ten guest quarters,” he said in a scholarly voice. “Thirty of them, all suites, are here on the third floor. Ten in the west wing (including the Presidential Suite), ten in the center, ten more in the east wing. All of them command magnificent views.”

Could you at least spare the salestalk?

But he kept quiet. He needed the job.

Ullman put the third floor on the bottom of the pile and they studied the second floor.
“Forty rooms,” Ullman said, “thirty doubles and ten singles. And on the first floor, twenty of each. Plus three linen closets on each floor, and a storeroom which is at the extreme east end of the hotel on the second floor and the extreme west end on the first. Questions?”

Jack shook his head. Ullman whisked the second and first floors away.

“Now. Lobby level. Here in the center is the registration desk. Behind it are the offices. The lobby runs for eighty feet in either direction from the desk. Over here in the west wing is the Overlook Dining Room and the Colorado Lounge. The banquet and ballroom facility is in the east wing. Questions?”

“Only about the basement,” Jack said. “For the winter caretaker, that’s the most important level of all. Where the action is, so to speak.”

“Watson will show you all that. The basement floor plan is on the boiler room wall.” He frowned impressively, perhaps to show that as manager, he did not concern himself with such mundane aspects of the Overlook’s operation as the boiler and the plumbing. “Might not be a bad idea to put some traps down there too. Just a minute...”

He scrawled a note on a pad he took from his inner coat pocket (each sheet bore the legend From the Desk of Stuart Ullman in bold black script), tore it off, and dropped it into the out basket. It sat there looking lonesome. The pad disappeared back into Ullman’s jacket pocket like the conclusion of a magician’s trick. Now you see it, Jacky-boy, now you don’t. This guy is a real heavyweight.

They had resumed their original positions, Ullman behind the desk and Jack in front of it, interviewer and interviewee, supplicant and reluctant patron. Ullman folded his neat little hands on the desk blotter and looked directly at Jack, a small, balding man in a banker’s suit and a quiet gray tie. The flower in his lapel was balanced off by a small lapel pin on the other side. It read simply STAFF  in small gold letters.

“I’ll be perfectly frank with you, Mr. Torrance. Albert Shockley is a powerful man with a large interest in the Overlook, which showed a profit this season for the first time in its history. Mr. Shockley also sits on the Board of Directors, but he is not a hotel man and he would be the first to admit this. But he has made his wishes in this caretaking matter quite obvious. He wants you hired. I will do so. But if I had been given a free hand in this matter, I would not have taken you on.”

Jack’s hands were clenched tightly in his lap, working against each other, sweating. Officious little prick, officious little prick, officious—

“I don’t believe you care much for me, Mr. Torrance. I don’t care. Certainly your feelings toward me play no part in my own belief that you are not right for the job. During the season that runs from May fifteenth to September thirtieth, the Overlook employs one hun- dred and ten people full-time; one for every room in the hotel, you might say. I don’t think many of them like me and I suspect that some of them think I’m a bit of a bastard. They would be correct in their judgment of my character. I have to be a bit of a bastard to run this hotel in the manner it deserves.”

He looked at Jack for comment, and Jack flashed the PR smile again, large and insultingly toothy.

Ullman said: “The Overlook was built in the years 1907 to 1909. The closest town is Sidewinder, forty miles east of here over roads that are closed from sometime in late October or November until sometime in April. A man named Robert Townley Watson built it, the grandfather of our present maintenance man. Vanderbilts have stayed here, and Rockefellers, and Astors, and Du Ponts. Four Presidents have stayed in the Presidential Suite. Wilson, Harding, Roosevelt, and Nixon.”

“I wouldn’t be too proud of Harding and Nixon,” Jack murmured.

Ullman frowned but went on regardless. “It proved too much for Mr. Watson, and he sold the hotel in 1915. It was sold again in 1922, in 1929, in 1936. It stood vacant until the end of World War II, when it was purchased and completely renovated by Horace Derwent, millionaire inventor, pilot, film producer, and entrepreneur.”

“I know the name,” Jack said.

“Yes. Everything he touched seemed to turn to gold... except the Overlook. He funneled over a million dollars into it before the first postwar guest ever stepped through its doors, turning a decrepit relic into a show- place. It was Derwent who added the roque court I saw you admiring when you arrived.”

“Roque? ”

“A British forebear of our croquet, Mr. Torrance. Croquet is bastardized roque. According to legend, Derwent learned the game from his social secretary and fell completely in love with it. Ours may be the finest roque court in America.”

“I wouldn’t doubt it,” Jack said gravely. A roque court, a topiary full of hedge animals out front, what next? A life-sized Uncle Wiggily game behind the equipment shed? He was getting very tired of Mr. Stuart Ullman, but he could see that Ullman wasn’t done. Ullman was going to have his say, every last word of it.

“When he had lost three million, Derwent sold it to a group of California investors. Their experience with the Overlook was equally bad. Just not hotel people.

“In 1970, Mr. Shockley and a group of his associates bought the hotel and turned its management over to me. We have also run in the red for several years, but I’m happy to say that the trust of the present owners in me has never wavered. Last year we broke even. And this year the Overlook’s accounts were written in black ink for the first time in almost seven decades.”

Jack supposed that this fussy little man’s pride was justified, and then his original dislike washed over him again in a wave.

He said: “I see no connection between the Overlook’s admittedly colorful history and your feeling that I’m wrong for the post, Mr. Ullman.”

“One reason that the Overlook has lost so much money lies in the depreciation that occurs each winter. It shortens the profit margin a great deal more than you might believe, Mr. Torrance. The winters are fantastically cruel. In order to cope with the problem, I’ve installed a full-time winter caretaker to run the boiler and to heat different parts of the hotel on a daily rotating basis. To repair breakage as it occurs and to do repairs, so the elements can’t get a foothold. To be constantly alert to any and every contingency. During our first winter I hired a family instead of a single man. There was a tragedy. A horrible tragedy.”

Ullman looked at Jack coolly and appraisingly.

“I made a mistake. I admit it freely. The man was a drunk.”

Jack felt a slow, hot grin—the total antithesis of the toothy PR grin—stretch across his mouth. “Is that it? I’m surprised Al didn’t tell you. I’ve retired.”

“Yes, Mr. Shockley told me you no longer drink. He also told me about your last job... your last position of trust, shall we say? You were teaching English in a Vermont prep school. You lost your temper, I don’t believe I need to be any more specific than that. But I do happen to believe that Grady’s case has a bearing, and that is why I have brought the matter of your... uh, previous history into the conversation. During the winter of 1970–71, after we had refurbished the Overlook but before our first season, I hired this... this unfortunate named Delbert Grady. He moved into the quarters you and your wife and son will be sharing. He had a wife and two daughters. I had reservations, the main ones being the harshness of the winter season and the fact that the Gradys would be cut off from the outside world for five to six months.”

“But that’s not really true, is it? There are telephones here, and probably a citizen’s band radio as well. And the Rocky Mountain National Park is within helicopter range and surely a piece of ground that big must have a chopper or two.”

“I wouldn’t know about that,” Ullman said. “The hotel does have a two-way radio that Mr. Watson will show you, along with a list of the correct frequencies to broadcast on if you need help. The telephone lines between here and Sidewinder are still aboveground, and they go down almost every winter at some point or other and are apt to stay down for three weeks to a month and a half. There is a snowmobile in the equipment shed also.”

“Then the place really isn’t cut off.”

Mr. Ullman looked pained. “Suppose your son or your wife tripped on the stairs and fractured his or her skull, Mr. Torrance. Would you think the place was cut off then?”

Jack saw the point. A snowmobile running at top speed could get you down to Sidewinder in an hour and a half... maybe. A helicopter from the Parks Rescue Service could get up here in three hours... under optimum conditions. In a blizzard it would never even be able to lift off and you couldn’t hope to run a snowmobile at top speed, even if you dared take a seriously injured person out into temperatures that might be twenty-five below—or forty-five below, if you added in the wind chill factor.

“In the case of Grady,” Ullman said, “I reasoned much as Mr. Shockley seems to have done in your case. Solitude can be damaging in itself. Better for the man to have his family with him. If there was trouble, I thought, the odds were very high that it would be something less urgent than a fractured skull or an accident with one of the power tools or some sort of convulsion. A serious case of the flu, pneumonia, a broken arm, even appendicitis. Any of those things would have left enough time.

“I suspect that what happened came as a result of too much cheap whiskey, of which Grady had laid in a generous supply, unbeknownst to me, and a curious condition which the old-timers call cabin fever. Do you know the term?” Ullman offered a patronizing little smile, ready to explain as soon as Jack admitted his ignorance, and Jack was happy to respond quickly and crisply.

“It’s a slang term for the claustrophobic reaction that can occur when people are shut in together over long periods of time. The feeling of claustrophobia is externalized as dislike for the people you happen to be shut in with. In extreme cases it can result in hallucinations and violence—murder has been done over such minor things as a burned meal or an argument about whose turn it is to do the dishes.”

Ullman looked rather nonplussed, which did Jack a world of good. He decided to press a little further, but silently promised Wendy he would stay cool.

“I suspect you did make a mistake at that. Did he hurt them?”

“He killed them, Mr. Torrance, and then committed suicide. He murdered the little girls with a hatchet, his wife with a shotgun, and himself the same way. His leg was broken. Undoubtedly so drunk he fell downstairs.”

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What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
“A master storyteller.” —Los Angeles Times

“Scary! . . . Serves up horrors at a brisk, unflagging pace.” —The New York Times

“This chilling novel will haunt you, and make your blood run cold and your heart race with fear.” —Nashville Banner
“Guaranteed to frighten you into fits. . . . with a climax that is literally explosive.” —Cosmopolitan

“The most wonderfully gruesome man on the planet.” —USA Today
“An undisputed master of suspense and terror.” —The Washington Post
“[King] probably knows more about scary goings-on in confined, isolated places than anybody since Edgar Allan Poe.” —Entertainment Weekly
“He’s the author who can always make the improbable so scary you’ll feel compelled to check the locks on the front door.” —The Boston Globe
“Peerless imagination.” —The Observer (London)

Read More

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The Shining 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1170 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
As you read you hear noise of in the distance you jump but look backdown in your book. You read past twelve, one, and two your mind starting to form the story. The book is so powerful you can't stop reading for the horror would leave you restless thats why this book is excelent
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
There's a reason Joey puts this in the freezer. This book is intensely scary. I watched the movie first and thought it was one of the scariest of all time, but the book is about five times more scary. You'll have nightmares.
CatherineMac More than 1 year ago
Are you intrigued by eerie, gruesome novels that frighten you? If so, The Shining, by Stephen King, is a commendable novel for you. In this novel, the Torrance family consists of three members: Wendy, Jack, and Danny. The Torrance family is struggling because Jack loses his job as a writer/teacher at a college University due to his alcoholism. In order to break the habit and keep his marriage from falling apart, he takes up the job offer as a caretaker at The Overlook Hotel. The Torrance's will be the only people occupying the hotel from winter until spring rolls around. They will be essentially trapped in the hotel until after winter because of the heavy snow. Danny, who is accompanied by his imaginary friend Tony, has the ability to see into the future. While at the hotel, Danny, Jack, and Wendy begin to experience weird happenings. The giant, animal shaped hedges appear to move, and Room 217 is haunted by a dead lady. Danny tells his parents that he has a bad feeling about the place and that he keeps seeing things, but they reassure him that everything will be fine even though they are seeing things as well. Jack's temper has begun to grow worse like it did when he was a drunk. Little do they know, the hotel is slowly leading Jack to insanity and that they are about to take part in a gruesome, frightening battle for their lives. The Shining was beyond interesting. The beginning of the novel is somewhat slow, but the rest of the book draws you in until the very end. One of the reasons I loved this novel was because the way Stephen King set up the book. He would build suspense and then leave you hanging in order to update you on what was happening in other parts of the hotel. Therefore, making it impossible to put down. The other reason I loved the book was because I felt like I knew the characters in the story and that I was actually there with them. The Shining is an outstanding novel that will keep you on the edge of your chair until the last page. HTHS AL
Guest More than 1 year ago
Have you ever been so scared that you couldn't move? Have you ever been so terrified that you couldn't go to sleep? Well if you like that feeling, then The Shining is the book for you, my friend. This is one book you would love in my opinion, of course. This one and only, once in a lifetime, magnificent author made one of the greatest books in history. The first time I read this book I was scared half to death, and then I couldn't stop reading it. This author, Steven King, is one one of the greatest horror story authors of my life and even before me probably. My top ten most favorite books are by Steven King. So if you want a book that can chill you to the bone, The Shining is the book for you.
Mikey_G More than 1 year ago
While reading this novel, I kept asking myself: If I hadn't grown up watching the movie, what would have been my initial reaction to discovering what REDRUM meant? I just finished reading this book, and I have to say that it is very deserving of its praise. At times chilling and other times heart wrenching. Its good stuff!
scubasteve111 More than 1 year ago
After reading this book, I lost interest in the Stanley Kubrick movie. If you watched the movie before reading the book, you'll notice how different the movie is from the book. Aside from that, this is a very good book and I'd highly recommend it to any horror story fan.
SunnieMN More than 1 year ago
I read this book many, many years ago when it first came out. Yikes! Saw the movie a few yrs later but thought it was more a Jack Nicholson showcase. I recently re-read the book and was thrilled to be scared and creeped out all over again. If you like a good old fashioned ghost story, with no gore, that may keep you up all night or make you want to sleep with the lights on - this is the one!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book it going to freak you out no matter what. It moves a littlle slow but once you get past pages 200-300 the freaky stuff starts to happen and it is a fantastic book and to me one of stephen kings best
JulesUtah More than 1 year ago
This is my favorite book, I have read it over and over again and ended up buying it for my Nook because my paperback finally fell apart. This book is super creepy, I still have nightmares about hedge animals every time I read it. I take it with me every Summer when I go to my family's secluded cabin which makes it even scarier.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I personally liked this book no question, but i thought it was a little bit too long but it was still an enjoyable book to read and think about like i thought after reading it wow what if that hapened to me sort of thing. In my opinion it's better then the movie "The Shining" 1980 because the movie could of been a alot better if the used the the ideas of the book more. Anyone who likes chilling and thrilling novels read this you will like it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Best Stephen King book ever! Kind of creepy, but it keeps you glued to the pages. REDRUM! REDRUM!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Yet another awesome book by Steven King! I'd made the mistake of seeing the movie first, and found it too be a snooze fest. The book was quite the opposite! The characters have so much more depth, and a back story. Jack Torrence is so much more than the stark raving lunatic we see portrayed by Jack Nickolson in the film. And a week after I finished the book, I watched the movie again, and was surprised to discover that it had been much improved after having read the book! Still not as good as the book, but more enjoyable none the less. If you've neither read the book nor watched the film, do yourself the favor of reading the book first. You won't ne disappointed.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was by far, hands down, the best book I have ever read. I don't think I would have become the avid reader I am without my exposure to this book. I only hope king doesn't mess up the sequel out this fall.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book! Excited to know that King is working on the sequel!
girlwithgoldeneyes More than 1 year ago
First off, i just want to say from page one i could not put this book down. It kept hold of my interest the entire time. Although it was a bit slow until the action really built up, you learned why Stephen King wrote everything was in that order. I must admit i waited the whole book to see if it had the famous scene from the movie where jack sticks his head through the hole in the door he made and manically says "here's johnny". I was a bit sad that it didn't have it, but the ending was just as good. I wont spoil the ending, but I'll go into detail as to why Stephen King creates such an amazing novel. We follow the story of the small and seemingly simple family, the Torrence's. Jack, In his Mid-thirties, is an ex-alcoholic who is applying for the job of the winter caretaker of the overlook hotel. His wife, Wendy, and son, Danny, follow along for the ride. I don't know about anybody else, but i definitely would not like to be snowed in a hotel with my family the whole winter. The majority of the book shows the family's struggles as they face superstitious phenomena in the hotel. Being stuck in the hotel rises tensions and the supernatural factor adds to the stress Jack has trying to overcome his alcohol addiction. He is greatly affected by this, and it slowly drives him insane. The dynamic changes that Jack goes through just watching his sanity slowly decay is fascinating. I recommend this book to anyone. It was a book that really made me think and isn't for those who get easily scared.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Best book on earth. If you have seen the movie, the book is nothing like it. So you should read it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was the first Stephen King book I have read and I ended up having to sleep with the light on one night. King makes you feel like you are right there with them and almost going crazy with Jack. It is a little slow in the beginning but this is definitely a must read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Shining makes you question your own sanity. From beginning to end, Stephen King instills in the reader an eerie cloud of forseeable danger and unspeakable terror. I felt emotionally connected to all of the characters as the story began, and gradually held remorse for their unfortunate stay at the Overlook. Mr. Torrance is a beautifully crafted tragic hero, consecutively portraying raw, unbridled passion. If you want "real" scares... this book is for you. I have had many sleepless nights after reading. This is horror.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
After seeing the film over the years, I always had unanswered questions. This definately filled in the gaps. I'm so glad I finally read it! Excellent thriller!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Don Sherman 11/13/11 5th Shining Review By: Steven King The shining is about the Torrance family that moves to Colorado to take a job of taking care of the overlook hotel up in the mountains. They keep care of it by repairing and watching the boilers. Their son Danny has the shining and can see the past in the overlook hotel. Danny starts to see things and the dad jack Torrance starts to go crazy by seeing some of the stuff that Danny see but doesn¿t believe he see it. They lost there communications with the out side world and have no way of telling some one if something happens. Jack has gone crazy and Danny and ms. Torrance are trapped in a haunted hotel. Will they survive and make it to May when to hotel reopens. The shining was an great book because it always keeps me in it with every twist and turn that happened in the overlook. The book was also very good because the characters are in the hotel by them selves and you never know what is going to happen when they go into a new room. It will always keep you guessing what will happen next. I highly recommend this to people that like books that keep them on their seat and scared.
Martoon96 More than 1 year ago
Amazon, sony and other ereader sites have this book for less than $10. Come on B&N this is more expensive than new releases. The one star is for the price, the story is easily 4-5 five stars.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love King books but this one I did not like. It has a great ending but the book up to that point is slow and boring, not worth the wait. King wrote pretty much a whole book just to set up the ending. Trust me, for the first 280 pages nothing what so ever happens.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love Stephen King's writing style. This is the first book I read by him and I love how I can imagine the scene, just by words. There were parts I did have to re read but that just made me love it more. It meant that the book was about to trick my mind.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Shining, a great book by Stephen King, is a classic American horror novel that is sure to chill your bones. The story follows Jack Torrance; his wife, Wendy; and his son, Danny. Jack is a recovering alcoholic and moves his family to the ‘Lookout Hotel,’ where he assumes the position of caretaker. Jack is warned that the hotel is “Haunted” and that the previous caretaker killed himself, and his family. Jack still takes the job. Jack has a history of violence, and thinks the isolated hotel in the Rockies will help him work on a play he is writing. Danny, Jacks son, has a telepathic ability. He can read minds, and communicate with the spirits of the hotel. The spirits begin to possess Jack, and all hell breaks loose, when a blizzard seals the family off from the outside world. The Shining is a great novel, but it gets off to a slow start. However it will draw you in until the very end. The book has themes of isolation, drugs and alcohol, family, violence, and much more. I would recommend this book to young adults and adults, because some of the language would be difficult to understand for children. The book is a staple of American horror literature, so it is not for the easily frightened. However, if you can get past the slow beginning, and the jacks terrifying descent into insanity, than this book will be a favorite. Stephen really struck gold with this one, because the book is rich in plot, character development, and language. The book, published in 1977, is a long standing classic, and definitely stood the test of time. The book has a film adaptation that is also great, but doesn’t include some of the major themes in the novel. The shining, by Stephen King, is a must read.    By Jacob Berkun
cloggiedownunder More than 1 year ago
The Shining is the fourth novel by popular American author, Stephen King. Unemployed professor of literature and recovering alcoholic, Jack Torrance takes a job as winter caretaker of the Overlook Hotel in the mountains of Colorado. His wife, Wendy is hopeful he can conquer his demons during their half year in the mountains and get on with his writing. His five year old son, Daniel, is plagued by pre-cognitive visions that seem to be facilitated by his imaginary friend, Tony; they are often pleasant but sometimes uncomfortable and occasionally downright terrifying. When the family arrives at the Overlook, the cook, Dick Hallorann takes Daniel aside and tells him he “shines”, and gives him some welcome reassurance and advice. The Overlook hotel has links to underworld characters and has been the scene of murders, suicides and gangland-style executions. Danny senses in the Overlook a certain malevolence, a certain power, and feels the presence of past victims. After some months of almost idyllic existence, the hotel and the Torrance family are cut off from the town of Sidewinder by heavy snowfalls and impassable roads. And then the hotel begins to exert its influence on Jack and his family. Or is it just an alcoholic succumbing to cabin fever?  King expertly portrays alcoholism and the descent into psychosis, and gives the reader characters of some complexity who find themselves rushing headlong into a heart-stopping climax. With Danny’s narration, King uses wordplay to highlight the ambiguity of spoken English. Readers who have seen the 1980 Kubrick movie (which departs markedly from the book and disappointed King) will picture Jack Nicholson as Torrance (despite his lack of blonde hair). King once again proves he is a master story-teller, as readers who make the effort to reread this as a prequel to Doctor Sleep will discover afresh. A bestseller that is a brilliant read.