On the first day of May, 100 teenage boys meet for a race known as The Long Walk. If you break the rules, you get three warnings. If you exceed your limit, what happens is absolutely terrifying.
©1979 Richard Bachman (P)2010 Penguin
Matuculous and extensive in his writing style, King does a great job illustrating protagonist's progression from somewhat naive and uncomplicated teenager to cynical and bitter young man, his slow departure into madness, and completely believable re-evaluation of self, the walk and his friends.
I wish there were more details on the 'universe' this book is set in. What caused this tradition? What kind of world they live in? I prefer well-developed backdrops in fiction, but lack of commentary did not take away from the book. All you see as a reader is a road, seemingly endless, bleak and full of ache.
I have read some criticisms of the ending, but the ending was intelligent. It is ambiguous, and seemingly purposefully so. If you want to settle into a happy ending where the knots are fitfully tied, perhaps romance novels would be more suiting.
I am true King fan, I have read them all. This was easily the worst, though I hate to say it. It starts off with a ridiculous premise, then fails to expand on why any of it is that way. I mean think about it- how many people would volunteer for this walk, knowing only one out of a hundred of them will survive? I can't believe anyone really thought this book was scary, instead it was just extremely repetitive and boring. This first hour of my listen was spent thinking that maybe we would be listening to details of three or four long walks... I just couldn't see how only one could be stretched over 10 hours. Boy was I wrong! I can't and don't recommend it.
A lot of people have read all sorts of metaphors into this book. That's fair. What I will say is that if you get through the first few chapters and really like it, keep listening. If you're unsure after the first few chapters, save yourself a lot of time and skip to the end. It's a highly character-driven book, not plot-driven despite what the tag line seems to indicate.
Of Course! It's Stephen King.
He's good, but the same narrator as Gone Girl which was distracting for a while.
When this book ended, I was VERY angry because it was not worth the journey (literally and figuratively)
So, the book starts out interesting enough, but then that's it. The rest of the book is everyone walking. We spent the whole book assuming SOMETHING else has to happen, but it doesn't. It just keeps going and going.... Is the writing style symbolic of the boys long, tedious walk? Probably. But not worth the long time it takes to listen in our opinions.
Art imitates life as the story was as painful as the walk described in the book. the main character weak, the reason he undertook this walk, unclear. And the endless waxing of life, love and regrets during this grueling challenge by each insipid character, coupled with defiant gestures of tedious predictability, make me wonder why S. King was so enthralled with his own journey, writing under the pseudonym Richard Bachman. This reads just as lamely as some of his other tomes, that try to capture what is his greatest earlier talent: strong and surreal experiences, interwoven with the earthy lives of people, feeling their own fragility, and limits of knowledge. See: Salems Lot, the Shining, the Body.
Same old S, different name. For my money S.King and Richard Bachman should both go jump in a lake, with a copy of this book shoved down their pants.
i did appreciate how the narrator read the story, and the germ of the concept intrigued me as well. But i sure wished I walked on by.
Seeing through the eyes of main character made you truly feel part of this ordeal and feel real things for the other characters in the story.
At first I was bummed by the ending and as the ending approached I figured there could be no ending that would satisfy the build up but then the whole point of the story clicked. The long walk is about young men giving there lives in service to the Army for a country full of cheering idiots and no one can really answer the question WHY?! Why since before this country was even official have young men marched off to war and marched in parades to celebrate it? What is there to celebrate about people killing each other? The story does a great job of illustrating that if you get to know any of the people no matter how mean or how strange we are all human beings who at the core have the same needs and same fears. I served in a combat arms MOS for the Army for over 10 years and reached a point where I could re-enlist for a big pot of money and risk going overseas during the height of the post 9-11 war on terror or I could get out and never be in a situation where I had to kill some poor stranger in another country to which I was never invited in the first place. I chose to be poor and not risk killing anyone. I know I'm just naive. This is my take on it but to me the long walk makes us ask why did I and why do other young men continue to volunteer to serve the military machine when the only way to stop war is if there are no volunteers in the first place. You can't have a long walk if everyone refuses to walk. You may ask what about justice for 9-11. Well if you believe the official story then the real murderers on 9-11 all died in plane crashes. If you don't believe the official story then why should anyone serve this government?
Great feel for the individual characters and conveys that well through distinct voices for each boy.
It's hard not to say Garity because he's the main character but I think Stebbins is just as great a character because he represents how the youth may seek the approval of an elder father figure like young soldiers and sailors wanting the approval of their country but when you are being used there is no real love to be had. My brother has about a year left to go before he retires and he's on his fifth deployment to the middle-east since it all began. I just hope he makes it to the end of his long walk safe and sound and in one piece.
Buy the book and just enjoy the ride as disturbing as it may be
This book really kept me engaged. For days afterward I wondered...how fast is that? Am I walking that fast now? How long could I keep it up? And above all I wondered why. Why would anyone....would anyone? Hmm...
Typically King's books draw you in and you can't quit "reading". This one was very different - not interesting in any way.
I've listened to a lot of his books and will probably listen to others but hopefully they're not like this one - couldn't even finish it - too boring.
He did an excellent job but the book let him down.
I have become a new fan of Stephen King. The long walk was a bit gory and perhaps unbelievable at first, but was exciting to listen to as I got lost in the story and began to believe. The narrator was excellent in not just reading the book but dramatizing it with somewhat different voices for each of the main characters. I was on the edge of my "bed" while listening to this book and intrigued by the conversations of the boys, actually learning from this book. It got me thinking about how I would be as a long walker. Great listen for this new Stephen King fan.
It was OK, he was working with very little
This was a really bad short story turned into a really awful novel. We know of no reason why they walked, why this society was a-moral and monstrous, what the walk was intended to accomplish or why it was ever instituted. I have often been inspired, moved, wildly entertained and generally very pleased with Stephen King's works...never bored to tears and a bit angry for foisting a book on us that should have stayed in the proverbial shoebox under the desk. This book is, all in all, a tremendous waste of time.
I'm not sure why it took me so long to find this Richard Bachman/ Stephen King book, but when I read some reviews on Audible, I decided it was worth one of my precious credits. I'm glad I did, because I enjoyed this book. The premise was an interesting one, with teenaged boys on a do-or-die death March through New England, and the characters were unique. The only part that disappointed me was the ending, so I listened twice and still didn't quite grasp it. Oh well......the rest of the book kept me entertained on my own "Long Walks" around the walking trail. :)
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