King of the Dark Episode 9: Gerald’s Game

Welcome back to King of the Dark, our special summer series on the B&N Podcast devoted to the shadowy fictional universe of Stephen King. Every week this summer, Liz Braswell and Louis Peitzman join Bill Tipper to work their way through as many of Stephen King’s most haunting works as they can.  Two episodes back, we dove into  King’s trapped-in-a-cabin thriller Misery — this week, we’re taking on a novel with echoes of that 1986 classic, and some big differences. We’re talking about 1992’s Gerald’s Game, and though it contains no Pennywise, Wendigo or other cosmic monster, we found in it horror aplenty. The plot is bracingly simple: Jessie and her husband Gerald have gone to their lakeside cottage for some secluded time away — but when play in bed with handcuffs turns into something more aggressive, Jessie kicks Gerald in self-defense, he suffers a heart attack and dies. Jessie is left in a nightmarish situation, unable to escape the handcuffs or communicate with the outside world — unless she takes truly desperate measures. Isolation and extremity also force Jessie to confront with abuse in her own history that is as wrenching to confront as anything the author has ever dreamed up, the toxic heart of this powerful and unsettling story.

A note of caution for listeners: this conversation includes some mentions of scenes containing disturbingly graphic imagery and issues of sexual abuse raised in the story.

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Alone in their bedroom, Jessie and Gerald Burlingame  are playing a game of trust and control. But when her husband takes the game too far by handcuffing her to a bedpost, Jessie lashes out–with deadly results. But now she is trapped, with no way to escape the deathly quiet of the room. Over the next twenty-eight hours, Jessie will come face-to-face with her most terrifying nightmares that exist in the last place she would ever look…her mind!

Praise for GERALD’S GAME: * “Harrowing psychological terror.”– New York Times * “Cunningly orchestrated…kept us up half the night, we couldn’t put it down.”–Newsweek * “One of his best.”-
-USA Today

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