Dolores Claiborne's elderly employer dies suddenly, apparently from falling down a flight of stairs. This tragedy sparks memories of the day Dolores' husband died...the day of the total eclipse. Suspected by police and townspeople alike, she delivers a story of a disintegrating marriage, and the breaking point reached by a docile woman.
©1992 Stephen King; (P)1992 Penugin HighBridge Audio
This is the ideal "listen to" book. Great character speaking! Incredibly detailed descriptions really conveying life on a small island. Murder and death -- and the story behind. Huge story, told with incredibly numerous, interesting, character-driven details. But what most impressed me was how very literary the writing was. This "listen" has the best of everything. This didn't win the Pulitzer. But maybe it should have, if reader/listener's engrossment, entertainment, understanding of psychological motivations of characters, and really outstanding, literary language (in island vernacular) counts!
This audio selection combines Steven Kings masterful story telling and well developed characters with considerable acting skills of Frances Sternahagen. I felt like I was watching a performance on stage rather than just listening. Spellbinding!
If you want to hear a terrifying story of domestic violence, revenge, and emotional connections, look no further. This story has it all. It is a first-person narrative of a sarcastic woman who was just doing the best she could for her abused family.
The story is told entirely in dialog, as the only words in the story are the words actually spoken by the title character. The narrator does an excellent job of "being" Dolores Claiborne. Her inflections and emotions are just about perfect, and I could really believe I was listening to Ms. Claiborne tell her story. She is a crackup, a sarcastic, no-sugar-coating old lady, but when she has to tell the hard parts of the story, she does that well too. I wish Dolores Claiborne could be my grandma or something.
The fact that only Dolores's narration is the entire story is both a strength and a weakness. It's a strength for the reason I discussed earlier, that I felt like I was sitting in that room with her, listening to her tell her story. On the other hand, the story is over 9 hours long. No one sits in a room telling her story for 9 hours, especially not an elderly woman. This subtracted from the believability of the setting, but not the story itself.
Other reviewers have said that this story is not Stephen King's normal story. It's true, and this brings me to the other weakness. While Stephen King did something really out of the ordinary (for him anyway) here, he tried unsuccessfully to make it a supernatural thriller. It wasn't. I won't give anything away, but suffice it to say that it was such a disturbing story in itself that it didn't need anything additional.
I have always wondered why people think Stephen King only writes horror, this shows he has the ability to draw you into a very compelling story and keep you there-I have yet to read one of his books that don't suck you in. Ms Sternahagen pulls off the narration, and makes you visualize Delores the way King wrote her. Some books have terrific potential as an audio book but are read by someone you can't listen to or believe in, this combination is perfect.
It took me several months to decide to download this audiobook. I wish I had done it immediately. The book is very good. The reader is terrific. The combination is awesome. Ms. Sternahagen's performance makes Dolores Claiborne come alive.
It took me back when I was younger, how things were then. Nothing like a tough old gal that tries to do right, even if there is death involved. Frances Sternahagen does an excellent job of narration.
Really enjoyable. I wish I could have sat with a cup of tea and listened to the book start to finish. Stephen King is truly remarkable at capturing the subtle expressions and nuances of a place, time and characters. I could see them in my head, imagine them while she was reading. The reader's voice got a bit grating from time to time but nothing to keep me from listening; she was terrific!
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