Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Shining by Stephen King

Although I love good horror movies I haven’t read many books of this genre in my life. Now, after reading The Shining I see I missed a lot!

This is a story of the Torrance family who are to spend winter in the hotel somewhere in the mountains in Colorado. Jack Torrance, an inspiring writer struggling with alcohol problem, after getting fired from his previous job as a teacher because of hitting a student, with help of a friend gets an opportunity of work as a caretaker in the Overlook Hotel during winter, when it’s cut off from the world due to the snow. It’s his last chance to rebuild his reputation. He expects during this time to finish the play he started writing, quit with alcohol and maybe get back his previous position after his play is published and the school authorities calm down. It is also his last chance to repair his marriage. His wife, Wendy was about to leave him for good when after under the influence of alcohol he broke hand of their 5 years old son, Danny. But Jack just stopped drinking and seems to be on a good way to change so Wendy, who still loves him and doesn’t want to break his strong connection with Danny, decides to wait with the decision of divorce.

The hotel has bad reputation around those who worked there. It used to belong to people from criminal circles and many people died there in different circumstances. The two previous caretakers committed suicide, one of them earlier killing his wife and two daughters. One of the ladies from hotel service peddles about seeing a ghost in one of the rooms. Also Danny, who has clairvoyance and ability to hear others thoughts – the “Shining”, has bad dreams about this place.

In the beginning everything seems to be alright. Jack is in good writing spirits and he even thinks about writing a book about the hotel after he finish the play. He finds the notebook with many informations about it’s past in the basement. Some weird things happen in the meantime. Jack sees hedge animals in the garden moving, but he takes it to be a hallucination. Danny sees things too but they don’t seem to be harmful. The situation gets worse when the snow falls . Jack, although there’s not a drop of alcohol in the whole hotel, starts to act like when he used to drink. He gets irritated easily and spends lots of time in the basement reading the notes, becoming obsessed with getting to know all the details. The hotel seems to be living and it’s getting stronger, influencing whole the family, especially Jack, which leads to tragedy.

I think the characters are very well built and we can observe what’s going on in their heads, which makes everything more realistic. The tension grows all the time and there are some really nightmarish scenes! I feel the ending is a bit too long, but all the way this is an awesome piece of literature. I rate the book high, but if you don’t have nerve for scary things, better don’t read it if you don’t want to have sleepless nights ;)


  1. I've read a lot of his books in my teens and I particularly loved this one ^0^ Also the movie with Jack Nicholson is absolutely terrific ^.^

  2. I know the movie. It's one of my favourite horrors. And Jack Nicholson is an acting genius! :D I was imagining him when reading a book now.

  3. I'm very sorry dear Aga, but I'll not read your post, isn't this weird? I am for more than one year trying to forget the story a little, because I got the book among other in a collection and as I really like the film I would love to try some Stephen King too, I've heard that The Dark Towers series are the best of him, so maybe I'll try that in next decade... looking to the books I have to read in this I hopefully will have the chance to read it in the next one (and this is in the beginning!).

    I need to read the first part of The Lord of the Rings because the next one I wanted actually to read is each one? Guess? Norwegian Wood! We will be reading the same at the same time, I still have half of the actual one to read.

    Maybe I read The Shinning not very far and I'll read your post soon! :)

    I love the button and how it really match with the rest of your blog and with you, I think, that why I used the things it contains.. I think you can see that black thing in the left corner it is a broken old tape! I adore it!

  4. I love Stephen King's book and have read many of him - though not "The Shinning" yet. :) I probably have to do that, because after reading your post, I am really curious to read the whole story. You have to try other books of King if you liked this one. Almost all of them are scary and very good, especially the older ones.

  5. I've only read one of Stephen Kings book... A Green Mile but for some reason I never read any other ones. I'll definately will have to look into it as this sounds great.

  6. @ Joana *I tried not to make any spoilers and make just general description although I'm not sure if I didn't write too much this time. So, maybe better come back when you eventually read The Shining :)
    *It's the second time we pick the same book at the same time :)
    *Yes, I noticed the tape and I think it matches to Swing :D Thank you so much for the banner and the button!

    @ Nina It's the first book of Stephen King I ever read so I have no comparison with his other novels, but I've heard this is one of his best and I think it's one of the oldest. I think I'll try some other of his, because this one was really great.

    @ Bubbles Did you like Green Mile? I loved the movie and was wondering to check the book too.