WHAT IS THIS BOOK ABOUT?
The story begins with a virus killing 99% of the population. We meet several survivors in separate towns. They stay in town a while, then begin traveling on motorcycles, bicycles, or walking. The travelers start out alone or with one other person. Along the way they join with others. A man called Randall Flagg is creating his own empire, dictator style, with evil intentions. His headquarters are in Las Vegas, Nevada. Survivors with criminal tendencies are drawn toward Flagg. Good folks are drawn to Boulder, Colorado, where they form a community called the Free Zone.
Before I read any Stephen King, I thought most of his books would be about monsters, horror, screaming, slashing - things in horror movies. I was wrong. I’m finding a lot of depth and interesting character development. His bad guys are not all that different from some of the serial killers in mainstream crime fiction and thrillers.
The Stand has some paranormal, not a lot. Several characters have psychic dreams or a psychic sense at times. The Stand is one of Stephen’s longest books. The paperback is 1439 pages. I was never bored. I became attached to the characters. In the preface Stephen says “When I speak (which is as rarely as possible), people always speak to me about The Stand. They discuss the characters as though they were living people, and ask frequently, “What happened to so-and-so?”... as if I got letters from them every now and again.” Personally I feel that way. I’d like to think about the characters in the future.
Stephen makes everyday conversations interesting. There are many characters in this book, but it didn’t feel like too many. We are with a guy in Arkansas for 25 pages, then a guy in New York for 12 pages, then a woman in Maine for 11 pages. I like a linear time line and I like scenes with natural endings. And most of the time the scenes met these requirements. My biggest problem with Stephen’s book “It” was stopping scenes in the middle of action and jumping around in time. I’m pleased to see the author used “better methods” in this book.
This is a post apocalyptic world. By the end of the book some of the good guys die, but others have happy endings. Normally I would avoid books with this setup because I don’t want to be depressed. Other authors might tell this story with deep digging into grief and loss. This book was not done that way. I was pleased that I was not depressed.
I was pleased to see a romance. A couple meets, they eventually get together, and have a happy ending. For those whose don’t like abusive husbands, you’ll like this. This is the way guys should be. He cares for her happiness.
There is a homosexual rape scene in detail. Also there is a telling (after the fact) of women held against their will and repeatedly raped.
This is the expanded edition published in 1990. Much was cut for the 1978 edition. Stephen added back cut parts and a lot of new writing for the 1990 edition. I would not want to read the cut version.
IS IT PERFECT? NO.
I had a few questions that were not answered, such as why Flagg was losing his powers, and what was the purpose of the pregnancy. Also I did not like Flagg’s ending. I wanted something worse to happen to him.
The narrator Grover Gardner did an excellent job.
Genre: apocalyptic paranormal fiction
Ending: happy for many of the good guys, bad for most of the bad guys
I love reading and listening to books, especially fantasy, science fiction, children's, historical, and classics.
Stephen King???s The Stand (1978/90) was an epic (48 hour!) listen. It???s an ambitious novel, a hybrid of post-apocalypse sf like Alas Babylon, epic fantasy like The Lord of the Rings, horror movies like Nightmare on Elm St., and Biblical stories like The Book of Job, all set in a sea of American popular culture. People who like those genres (and don???t mind profanity, sex, violence, and many hours of listening) would like the novel.
The first part depicts the devastating outbreak of a military plague, the second shows the shocked survivors forming groups around two figures seen in dreams, and the third shows the climactic last stand (for now). King writes a suspenseful plot about human and changing characters. At times Frannie is too teary and Glen too much of a Heinlein know-it-all, but I love the sweet, ???mentally retarded??? Tom, the deaf and dumb leader Nick, and the Gary Cooper-esque Texan Stu. The Trashcan Man, Harold, and Nadine are morbidly fascinating, while Randall Flagg (aka the dark man, Satan???s servant, etc.) is a charismatic supernatural antagonist.
Listening to the novel etched many scenes on my imagination, among them Larry and Rita going through the Lincoln Tunnel, Nick and Tom hiding from a tornado, Joe playing the guitar by a fire, Mother Abigail presiding over a feast, the Kid and the Trashcan Man driving towards Vegas, Harold holding a walkie-talkie at dusk, Flagg interviewing Dana, and Larry, Ralph, and Glen doing a very difficult thing at a washout gully, and Tom, Stu, and Kojak sharing Christmas.
Grover Gardner dexterously reads the voices of the many different characters (old and young, male and female, all from different educational, economic, and regional backgrounds) with skill, emotion, and wit. Hearing his Trashcan Man groan to the dark man, ???My life for you,??? or his Kid say, ???You believe that, happy crappy???? or his Tom say, ???M-O-O-N???that spells tired??? etc., or his Flagg croon, ???I love to love Nadine,??? made me walk around imitating them. I can hear them now.
Sometimes King overuses certain phrases (as when ???like a one legged man in an ass-kicking contest??? pops up twice), or his characters??? expressions don???t ring true (as when Frannie writes that Harold is ???a real boogersnot???), or he tosses in one too many popular culture references (as when some tires are as bald as Telly Savalas). But I usually found his style vivid and page turning, and at times funny, scary, or moving.
I dislike The Stand???s cheap association of wolves, weasels, and crows with evil and its moving some of the responsibility for evil away from human beings and towards the devil, but I like its questioning of whether we can escape our fatal tendency towards too much organization, rationality, and technology in favor of free, irrational, and green alternatives: as Stu asks Frannie, ???Do you think people ever learn anything???? and Frannie answers, ???I don???t know.???
A classic is a classic, no matter in what form.
This is THE book that gave birth to so many in this genre...
Finnally, after waiting for years to get this book on audio, it's here!!! And if you have been living under a rock and have not read this masterpiece already, get to it now!!!
I will never again knowingly purchase another title voiced by Scott Brick.
If someone was interested in Stephen King, I'd send them to the Gunslinger first. I feel it's his best work. If someone was already familiar with the Gunslinger books, I'd send them to "It" first and then, maybe "The Stand."As far as giant, epic stories go, it has all of the elements. But, it ends in a less satisfying way than I hoped.
Absolutely! He's extremely entertaining!
Not exactly. No.
Overall, it's a fun ride. The overall story is so big and tries to wrap itself around so many characters, that it could have easily been turned into multiple books, each examining the events of the Stand from a different perspective.Instead, the cast grows and grows and grows. King himself felt that this was the biggest flaw of "The Stand" and, he was right. With a cast so big, I found it difficult to care for many of the protagonists, just because I could only develop a casual acquaintance with them, rather than a deep understanding.Also, at certain points, I felt the story went a little flat because the main antagonist was examined a little too closely, destroying my sense of mystery and dread about the guy.
If I understood Mr. King's prologue correctly, this book was originally published after he was asked to remove 400 pages by the publisher. Unfortunately, he decided to put those pages back in for this audio book. At some points it had so much character and place detail I just zoned out and returned after the drone. A few fast forwards helped as well. Mr. King likes detail but for me it was overkill.
Other than the above, I thought the book was good and covered an interesting and scarry subject. He even added a dark force to keep us on our toes.
I also recommend the book Alas, Babylon. The contrast between the two disasters was interesting.
I never read The Stand when it was initially published. I'd heard many people rave about it, but for whatever reason I never picked it up. I just finished listening to 11/22/63 (which I really REALLY enjoyed--perhaps the best book I've ever listened to) and expected a similar experience with The Stand. I was disappointed.
The characters in 11/22/63 are people you deeply care about, suffer with. I mean I had tears in my eyes as I listened parts of it. By comparison the characters in The Stand are shallow, made of cardboard. I understand that when you're juggling as many characters as appear in this story you have to distinguish them in some way. King chooses to do this by using regional stereotypes (New England, Texas--easy to tell apart, right?) who all speak in exaggerated folksy cliches. Dialog introducing a change in scene often sounds like it was cribbed from Hee-Haw. Characters are one-dimensional (with a few exceptions). The New England professor (Glen) was particularly annoying. His role was like that of the scientist in a white lab coat in bad science fiction movies who "explains" everything.
The length of the book didn't bother me, but In large sections of the story nothing much happens. Too many talking heads.
(As an aside, I wonder if Stephen lived in Seattle, say, would he have divided America into Eastern US (good), Western US (evil)? The potential rock star in LA has to come back east to be saved. The seat of evil is Las Vegas. Even Oregon shelters evil-doers. Not to mention the nuclear flourish at the end of the story.)
There are short moments of brilliance here, I won't deny, hints at good writing to come. I'm not recommending to not read The Stand, but do so realizing that this is an immature work by a writer who has better books in him.
As far as performance goes Grover Gardner is not my favorite reader. I'm not sure what it is everyone finds so appealing about his voice. Craig Wasson (the reader of 11/22/63) makes you feel like he's telling you his story, where as Gardner sounds like he's reading to you in his professional voice-over voice, if you get what I mean.
I've never read a S. King book until now. I only enjoy a few movies by him (It, The Shinning) everything else just seems toooo long. The length is what sold me though. I love pushing play while bathing, driving, or surfing the net.
The Stand is a book about life, that could have been, could be, and that just can't happen. It gave me nightmares. It describes evil, in the most awful way. Chilling. The characters make you laugh, smile, scream, cry, and most definitely CRINGE. The book is full of swear words, describes terrible scenes in a way that make you want to turn off the imaginary TV in your head.
It was made into a TV special. I haven't seen it but I am searching the net. And. I've bought a new book from S. King.
The reader is amazing. He gives voices to these characters even your mind would fall short of. I love how crazy his voice is for the Dark Man. Creepy.
I would highly recommend this book. I have read it twice in its original release, again when it was re-released and then just finished listening to this audio version. I thought Grover Gardner did a wonderful reading of the book.
Franny Goldsmith was and remains my favorite character in the book. She just seems to remain optimistic throughout, which is tough to do under the darkness of the situation.
I can't think of much to add here. I can just say that he did a terriffic reading of the book. I'd be happy to get other audibooks where he was the narrator.
I have not read the print version because I am a very busy person just looking at the size of the book frightened me....lol So when I saw it on audio I was very pleased and took it with me to the gym, while I drove from place to place, and then realized I could not stop listening. I listened while I cooked, while in my garden, while I worked.. shhhh and had a hard time turning it off. Very entertaining!!
I have a hard time pin pointing which character is my favorite. I liked Nick Andros and Larry Underwood for the obvious reasons they are the
I highly recommend listening to this book. Very good character development I felt like I knew these people and did not want this story to end. Stephen King is a great writer and Gardner Grover does a great job narrating!!
I have been a Stephen King fan for many years and this one in particular, has been my favorite. Ive read the book and watched the movie several times. I was very excited to learn it was in audio since that has become my favoite way to read in recent years. I purchased this one the moment it became available on Audible and am thrilled.
Grover Gardner does fine narration and does well in reminding me of all the characters Ive come to know in this novel.