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.
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…
‘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