Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Party Was Over

The Shining (1977)
by Stephen King

It shrieked; it shrieked but now it was voiceless and it was screaming only panic and doom and damnation in its own ear, dissolving, losing thought and will, the webbing falling apart, searching, not finding, going out, going out to, fleeing, going out to emptiness, notness, crumbling.

The party was over.

There aren't many novels that have made me cry (the most recent was The Time Traveler's Wife), and even fewer that have truly scared me ... scared me to the point of wanting to put the book down, but not wanting to put the book down at the same time.  Wanting to look at the car accident, but not wanting to look at the car accident.  The Shining was one of those books. 

There was no one quite like the EARLY Stephen King.  I think he's lost of lot of his punch in his almost assembly-line release of new novels.  Many of the later ones became rather ... well ... silly, and I honestly just stopped reading his work.  But a number of his first novels TERRIFIED me.  His 1975 vampire novel (WAY back BEFORE it became a fad), 'Salem's Lot, kept me up late at night, curled up in bed, facing away from the window, dreading the scratch of fingernails on the pane.

The Shining was another matter ... a roller coaster of a haunted house novel with unexpected horrors around every corner.  I expect many people only know the work from the atmospheric, if not very faithful (not at ALL, in fact), Stanley Kubrick film with Jack Nicholson.  There was a MUCH more faithful TV miniseries about 15 years ago, though it didn't quite match the scares in Kubrick's version.

Either way, if you haven't read King's bloodcurdling novel and you don't mind losing some sleep, I couldn't possibly recommend it more strongly.

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