Saturday, 23 May 2015

Book Review: The Shining by Stephen King

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

“He’s the author who can always make the improbable so scary you’ll feel compelled to check the locks on the front door.” – Entertainment Weekly

The Shining tells about family of Torrance that gets to spend the whole winter at the Overlook Hotel up in the mountains in Colorado. Jack Torrance gets a job as the off-season caretaker at the hotel which seems like a perfect opportunity to start fresh and get closer with his wife ,Wendy, and son, Danny. It is also a perfect opportunity to continue his writing career. Five-year-old Danny has a special talent however, which makes him see the awful events that have occurred at the Overlook Hotel in the past. His talent is called shine. As the place becomes isolated during the winter, Danny’s shining wakes up the spirits of the hotel and no one of the Torrance family is save anymore.

“Then how did you know, doc?” Daddy asked.
“Tony showed me.”

“Great splashes of dried blood, flecked with tiny bits of grayish-white tissue, clotted the wallpaper.”
(I don’t think those things can hurt you)

This book tells a lot about the characters’ background and family ties which is nice so that you feel closer to the character and understand their motives.  As the story goes on, Jack starts to understand his alcoholic dad’s reason for beating his children and his wife. The book is told through many characters’ perspective so you get to see what is happening in different places at the same time and how the thoughts of the characters differ from each other. King has described the thoughts of five-year-old Danny really well. You can see that he is young and doesn't quite understand everything:

“Mommy’s face was pale, and there were horrible brownish bruises on her neck where Daddy had tried to… (… where Daddy had tried to hug her too tight.)”

The scenes and atmosphere of the Shining are keeping you alerted since queer and terrifying events can happen all of a sudden, no matter where you are inside or outside the hotel. Stephen King has succeeded in describing the events in a way that makes sleeping difficult:

“He fled the heavy, crashing, echoing sounds through twisting, mazelike corridors … each time he heard the roque mallet smash into the wall somewhere behind him he wanted to scream aloud … (then REDRUM)”

(Following occurs at topiary)
“You just trimmed the fucking rabbit, so what’s the … his breath stopped in his throat.   The rabbit was down on all fours, cropping grass … but not then minutes ago it had been up on its hind legs…”

“The humming sound again. Loud and steady, varying the slightest bit. Followed by a clank as the humming ceased. A rattling bang. A thump. Then the humming resumed.
It was the elevator.”

This book goes on quite slowly because it has a lot of describing and thoughts. If you don’t like to wait for the actual action till the end of the book, this book may not be perfect for you though it does have small creepy things happening once in a while which kept me entertained! It has quite a lot of things in brackets and I am not even sure what those things meant sometime. The book is a bit intertextual: I recognized some of the things in brackets from Alice in Wonderland. If you haven’t read a lot of books (or the ones they are referring to) you may not understand them.

I personally liked this horror book. It is quite long (paperback version 659 pages) and the big events happen at the end but Stephen King has described characters’ thoughts well and the scenes come alive in your mind once you read them. A couple of nights it was hard for me to fall asleep because the scenes were so terrifying and I couldn’t get them out of my head. That is exactly what I want a horror book to do. Also if some of you have seen the movie based on this book and are wondering if they should read the book or not, I highly recommend it. The book is really different from the movie, for example it doesn’t have the maze so the ending is completely different.

If you liked this review please let me know and vote on the poll (on the upper left corner of my blog) to tell if you want to have more book reviews! I like to write them but I don't know if anyone is interested :)

No comments :

Post a Comment