The Shining by Stephen King

General information

The novel was originally released in 1977 by Doubleday publishing company. The idea for the plot came into being in September of 1974 when King and his wife spent a night at an old hotel in Estes Park. After they had arrived it turned out that they were the only guests and that the hotel was going to be closed for winter the following day. During King’s “voyage” through the corridors he found the place perfectly suitable as a setting for a ghost story. He also had a strange dream that night. He saw his three-year-old son being chased by a fire-hose and trying to escape, looking back over his shoulder, with a frightened expression on his face, screaming. After waking up from this nightmare he got up, took a cigarette and took a look through the window. By the time King finished smoking, a general idea for the story was created in his mind.

Plot overview

Jack Torrance, a writer and a former teacher struggling with alcohol abuse, applies for a position of a winter caretaker in a distant Overlook Hotel. After being given the job he moves there together with his wife Wendy and a five-year-old son Danny. The hotel seems to be a blessing for the family being at the edge of destruction. Jack hopes to fight with alcoholism and his uncontrolled rage attacks by getting involved in writing a play, whereas Wendy sees the “in the middle of nowhere” hotel as a place where she will manage to preserve her family. When it comes to Danny, he is a special child. Not only because he is very mature for a five-year-old kid, but also, and mainly, because of his unique ability to see and hear things unavailable for eyes and ears of other people. Before moving to The Overlook he had a vision, he knew that something evil was lurking within empty rooms of the hotel. As the time goes by, a destructive influence of the place, which had a long and violent history, starts to affect the family. Everything changes, all hopes are gone, there is no way out…

Review

‘The Shining’ was the second book by Stephen King that I have read. After reading ‘Salem’s Lot’ I had big expectations when it comes to this work by the king of horror, as the author is usually called. I didn’t feel disappointed. The plot of the novel is very engrossing and surprising. Like a box of chocolates in different flavors but wrapped all the same. You are curious what is inside, but you know that only after opening  each piece. The plot here is exactly the same. The action develops  gradually, suspense is present in every chapter, which makes readers get  completely lost in pages. What is more, the author presents a detailed  view into the characters. Such a thorough analysis of their personality  helps readers to understand their behavior, almost get into their minds. Being familiarized with diverse aspects of their lives, their past, helps to  create psychological profiles of the main heroes and consequently, get  into the story even more. Another thing worth mentioning is the choice  of the setting. An isolated, cut off from civilization, place is a perfect setting for such a story. It gives an impression of complete lack of  hope. There is nowhere to go, nowhere to escape from the disastrous ending  which destiny (or maybe The Overlook) has prepared for Jack, Wendy  and  Danny. Summing up, the book is definitely worth  recommending. It  is not a typical horror. It is something reaching  deeper, involving psychological aspects of human nature, instincts and rage lurking inside  and waiting for the proper moment to explode.

The online version of the novel is available HERE

If you are interested in buying ‘The Shining‘ or other works by Stephen King, they are available on Amazon 

Prologue

To begin with, my name is Kasia and I admit, I am a bookworm… I have always been.

Before I start sharing my views on diverse books that I have had pleasure to read,  I would like to write some introductory words in order to familiarise potential viewers of this blog with my general attitude towards reading.

Unfortunately, modern times are not very welcoming when it comes to reading books. I do not intend to generalise or follow any stereotypes, but from what I have observed in my surrounding, reading is not the predominant form of spending one’s spare time.  Several reasons for such a situation may be enumerated, however, I do not think it should be the issue I will try to focus on right now. What I want to fix my glance on, are the reasons for which I get lost in pages very often.

Reading is not only the way of filling your time with something. It is a wonderful chance to close yourself in a warm shell, get separated from the world around you and be moved to a different reality for a few moments. It is a perfect way to make your imagination work or your emotions set free. Reading may make a person richer, not only in terms of language skills, but also when it comes to feelings. And I am pretty sure that it can be the cure for some “diseases” that we are prone to suffer from sometimes… boredom, stress, tiredness… just take a “miraculous pill” in the form of a good book and you will see.

Coming to an end, I would like to present the list of my favourite books, with which I have fallen in love at the first reading. Different authors, different genres, but one thing in common. All of them are simply masterpieces for me.

  1. Mikhail Bulgakov – ‘The Master And Margarita’ (1967)
  2. Diana Gabaldon – ‘Outlander’ (1991)
  3. Henryk Sienkiewicz – ‘The Deluge’ (1886)
  4. Ira Levin – ‘Rosemary’s Baby’ (1967)
  5. Arturo Pérez-Reverte – ‘The Club Dumas’ (1993)
  6. Arturo Pérez-Reverte – ‘The Flanders Panel’ (1990)
  7. Elizabeth Kostova – ‘The Historian’ (2005)
  8. Fyodor Dostoyevsky – ‘The Brothers Karamazov’ (1880)
  9. Anne Rice – ‘The Queen Of The Damned’ (1988)
  10. Alexander Dumas – ‘The Count Of Monte Cristo’ (1844-1845)