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The Shining | [Stephen King]

The Shining

Jack Torrance's new job at the Overlook Hotel is the perfect chance for a fresh start. As the off-season caretaker at the atmospheric old hotel, he'll have plenty of time to spend reconnecting with his family and working on his writing. But as the harsh winter weather sets in, the idyllic location feels ever more remote...and more sinister. And the only one to notice the strange and terrible forces gathering around the Overlook is Danny Torrance, a uniquely gifted five-year-old.
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Publisher's Summary

Jack Torrance's new job at the Overlook Hotel is the perfect chance for a fresh start. As the off-season caretaker at the atmospheric old hotel, he'll have plenty of time to spend reconnecting with his family and working on his writing. But as the harsh winter weather sets in, the idyllic location feels ever more remote...and more sinister. And the only one to notice the strange and terrible forces gathering around the Overlook is Danny Torrance, a uniquely gifted five-year-old.

©1977 Stephen King (P)2005 Random House Audio

What the Critics Say

"A master storyteller." (Los Angeles Times)

"He's the author who can always make the improbable so scary you'll feel compelled to check the locks on the front door." (The Boston Globe)

"Scary!... Serves up horrors at a brisk, unflagging pace." (The New York Times)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.6 (3841 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Bob Watson Sapulpa, OK 05-10-14
    Bob Watson Sapulpa, OK 05-10-14 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Brilliant Story!"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I already have recommended this book to several people. If you like twisted, creepy, and yet brilliant writing this book is for you.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The character development was masterful!


    How could the performance have been better?

    The narrator was terrible. He was dry and monotone through most of the book. It wasn't until the last quarter of the book that I could pick upon his subtle voice inflections for different characters. Although his voice for Crazy Jack Torrence was pretty good.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I have read, and listened to a lot of so called scary books. This is the first book I have ever actually got a little creeped out.


    Any additional comments?

    Fantastic book! Weak narration, but worth the listen.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    DennisV 10-16-13
    DennisV 10-16-13

    Say something about yourself!

    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
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    "One of my favorite novels of all time"
    What made the experience of listening to The Shining the most enjoyable?

    Well I've read this book twice before. The audiobook version is ok. Bad narration.


    What other book might you compare The Shining to and why?

    There aren't any books quite like this. Very original.


    Did Campbell Scott do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

    No. All characters sound exactly the same. If I had never read this, it would be more difficult to tell. He reads completely in monotone. He also sounds a little bored. Narrators can ruin amazing books. Enjoyable but could be way better. He doesn't add any drama to the story.


    If you could rename The Shining, what would you call it?

    Why would someone want to rename the book? Silly question.


    Any additional comments?

    I see a lot of comments about the Stanly Kubrick movie. Firstly, that is complete trash. This is the real story of the Torrance family. The movie could never compare to this, ever. In the 90's there was a mini-series made of this book. Not a great movie but a far better adaption the what Kubrick did. Steven Weber plays Jack Torrance. He read "IT" for audible and did an amazing job. I wish he could have read this. However, this is an audiobook site. Let's save the reviews for the book. Not movies.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    D. Knight Nashville, TN USA 10-02-13
    D. Knight Nashville, TN USA 10-02-13 Member Since 2012

    romans55

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Classic King"
    Any additional comments?

    First the narrator is superb and masterfully delineates between characters. If you've seen the movie, many of the phrases will be familiar, although if you're waiting for "here's Johnny", you'll be disappointed. The narrator isn't, nor does he try to be, Jack Nicholson. In fact, the difference is refreshing, in that Jack Torrance seems more like a regular guy. When you see Jack....well, you expect a little crazy/weird from the beginning. The contrast in the actual character (not the movie character) makes the story even more chilling. Jack goes from family guy struggling with addiction, anger and family woes to a madman. I appreciate King's way of detailing things about the story that would be difficult to translate onto a movie screen. These would bore the movie-going public. The history of the hotel is fascinating and having been in a similar hotel that had quite a history (not necessarily a supernatural one), it was an interesting addition to the story.I'm glad I read this book many years ago, before the movie came out, and now again all these years later. Once you see the movie a few dozen times, you start forgetting the original work. All in all, this is a definite read for King fans and fans of this genre. He always delivers! Now, on to "Doctor Sleep!"

    11 of 18 people found this review helpful
  •  
    lou 08-09-13
    lou 08-09-13 Member Since 2013

    Life Learner that has to occasionally sprinkle some fiction into my audio entertainment. Be educated, be worldly, and keep switching gears!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "1st King reading."
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes...I unwittingly already have. I was telling a friend that the book was not what I expected and in doing so I mentioned some parts that I really enjoyed- all the while I was advocating the indulgence and so she purchased the physical book as she hasn't caught the Audible buzz yet.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Dick Hallorann. He introduced the substance of the talent of 'shining' thus helping to put Danny's capabilities in perspective. His actual involvement was limited yet very necessary!


    What about Campbell Scott’s performance did you like?

    Voice inflection character personality. Great Job!


    If you could rename The Shining, what would you call it?

    The name is perfect. Now I understand. I ask people who love the movie do they know what the title stood for and non could answer- I explain and all were like... "Oh, wow".


    Any additional comments?

    My first King book....I expected non stop thrill- not what it was; however definitely not disappointing. I am learning to appreciate his style: very descriptive. I like.

    6 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Preston Fort Jones, CA, United States 02-06-13
    Preston Fort Jones, CA, United States 02-06-13 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "His Best Work"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes. Very well thought out and original. Not as incredible in terms of a horror story, but more as a super natural story.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The idea that a hotel can be alive is great.


    What about Campbell Scott’s performance did you like?

    Scott was made to narrate for King.


    If you could rename The Shining, what would you call it?

    The Overlook


    6 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dan Harlow Fort Collins 10-14-14
    Dan Harlow Fort Collins 10-14-14 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A shaggy ghost story"
    Any additional comments?

    I can't count how many times someone has told me to read The Shining because of how much better and different it is than the Stanley Kubrick film. For years I've wandered around with the memories of people saying how Kubrick ruined the book, how he changed everything that was important to the book to create a film that resembled the book in title only. "Oh, you'll understand so much more", and "the book is way scarier", and "there is good motivation for what Jack does in the book", people have said to me. And so I've been curious about this book for a long time. I've wondered what exactly it is about this book that causes people to, quite emphatically, state that arguably the greatest filmmaker in the history of motion pictures, not to mention one of humanity's greatest artists had someone botched the whole thing.

    Good horror is created by not knowing all of the pieces of a dangerous puzzle: "What's around the corner?", "Who's screaming in that graveyard on this stormy night?", "Is there a killer alien with acid for blood on-board this old mining ship?". Combine not knowing important information with the chance of death (or worse) and you've got the basic formula for horror. And often a thing ceases to be scary when we see it, when the lights come on, or when we understand it - fear is born of the unknown.

    In this novel, King attempts to create fear and terror by setting us up in a fancy hotel with a mysterious past for a few months of winter isolation; it's basically his take on the old haunted house story. The problem, however, is that he really does wind up explaining too much or tries too hard to give us two plausible interpretations of what is going on - are they just hallucinating, is Jack just going through alcohol withdrawal, or is the hotel really haunted. And if the hotel is haunted, who is haunting it? Old Hollywood mobsters and a rich old lady who killed herself?

    I can see why Stanley Kubrick was attracted to this book because there are a lot of good ideas, but Kubrick trimmed all of the fat and turned a fairly shaggy book that, frankly, isn't that scary into one of the greatest horror films ever made. And all Kubrick did was not explain everything that King went into great detail about. Kubrick pretty much went through the book, crossed out everything that even smelt like an explanation, reconfigured a few scenes to be more efficient (having Hallorann give them the full tour instead of it being broken up into two parts like in the book).

    Now I'll admit that in a book where we are supposed to live inside the character's heads King couldn't just give us limited information otherwise the book would have been about 150 pages long, at best. And King is at his best when he's creating characters and having them interact, though this book largest weakness is that there are so few characters that it sort of goes against King's strength as a popular writer. Books like The Stand, Tommyknockers, and It work well because the characters have a lot to do and it wasn't until later with Misery and Pet Cemetery that he could do more with fewer characters because by then he'd become a better writer.

    So in a way this book really can only ever be a good template for a great film because it just doesn't work that well as a book. The characters a thin, Wendy in particular is useless and flat - in fact she's so bad that not even Kubrick could do anything interesting with her outside of making her life miserable in the film. Danny is pretty good, as is Hallorann, but they don't feel very fleshed out, they exist only to keep things moving or to make things weird. I do, however, much prefer King's Stuart Ullman to Kubrick's. Why Kubrick made Ullman so likable was a missed opportunity because Ullman is our introduction to the hotel, it's spokesman so-to-speak, and Kubrick should have made him more menacing.

    My biggest gripe I reserve for the hedge animals. In small doses they would have been fine, but by the end I just could not take them seriously. The second you actually try to visualize a hedge animal attacking someone the image is just too comical to be scary or to even be taken seriously. Kubrick was wise to carry on with the European flavor of the hotel by using a hedge maze instead.

    One thing I did find odd is that so many people have told me that the alcoholism of Jack is far more played up in the book and is a possible central cause to his insanity. Yet this is also true in the film. The scenes with Lloyd are almost identical, Kubrick changed almost nothing for those scenes and it's quite apparent Jack has a drinking problem and that the hotel is using that against him to drive him more insane and to control him. True the film isn't about a alcoholic losing control, Kubrick's film is more supernatural, but the themes are still there and one could easily say that the hotel (right down to the film's neuron receptor carpets) is a manifestation of Jack's drinking issues and abuse. For King (and audiences who prefer King over Kubrick) to claim Kubrick messed this up is idiotic and says more about King's (and his fan's) inability to contextualize theme.

    I also was scratching my head about the whole side-story with Jack's drinking friend, especially the part where they thought they killed a child on a bicycle. What was that all about? That whole idea literately goes nowhere. Yes it scared them both to stop drinking, but why didn't King tie that into the rest of the book? And speaking of missed opportunities, why didn't King include Grady's dead wife and, more importantly, dead little girls? Kubrick immediately took advantage of this to create what is arguably the most iconic image in the film: the Diane Arbus style twin girls holding hands. The hotel had all the other ghosts of people past, why not them, too?

    I did like that Hallorann played a more important role in the book. Kubrick just kills him off the second he gets to the hotel and that was only used in that he needed a way to get Danny and Wendy out. King used Hallorann more, but that character dipped so dangerously close into a "black man" stereotype that I cringed more than once.

    All in all the book isn't bad, but the last quarter is just a lot of grunting and screaming and inane dialogue with too much pleading and yelling. The Shining is a shaggy ghost story that isn't nearly as well crafted as King's later, and much scarier books (Pet Cemetery being my personal favorite because it's also a little goofy) . I really was let down because not only because I didn't find it all the scary, but also because the book and Kubrick's film are far more similar than I was led to believe - I had been hoping for something much different.

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    kellee las vegas, NV, United States 10-22-13
    kellee las vegas, NV, United States 10-22-13 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Finally read it and glad I did!"

    I enjoyed this. It creeped me out at times and inspired me to go buy the movie. I watched the movie Saturday night and was incredibly disappointed. Wow! The movie didn't even touch the book. Can't wait to read Dr. Sleep.

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer DENVER, COLORADO, United States 02-04-13
    Amazon Customer DENVER, COLORADO, United States 02-04-13 Member Since 2015

    monnie1976

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Campbell Scott does a great job on The Shining"
    Would you listen to The Shining again? Why?

    Absolutely, I wasn't completely convinced I would like Campbell Scott's reading of this but he did a fantastic job. I was worried he wouldn't be able to sound menacing enough when required but he did just fine! I was able to soak a lot of detail in that I didn't get reading it. Definitely a great performance!


    What did you like best about this story?

    The detailed characterization, fantastic setting and the slow burn horror King can do so well.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The scene where Wendy and Jack face off towards the end of the stormy


    If you could rename The Shining, what would you call it?

    The Overlook


    Any additional comments?

    Great reading of a fantastic book.

    5 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chris 08-28-15
    Chris 08-28-15 Member Since 2015
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    "Wow"

    Riveting, terrifying, repulsive and compelling. With the taunting limericks pulling you down the rabbit hole until you pass them up in eagerness. Then they start chasing. An excellently nuanced performance.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kelli B. SPRINGFIELD, OREGON, United States 08-25-15
    Kelli B. SPRINGFIELD, OREGON, United States 08-25-15 Member Since 2015
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    11
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    "An alcoholic's descent into madness"

    This is King's iconic masterpiece (now with a sequel!) about an alcoholic father's descent into madness.

    If you've only seen the movies, prepare yourself for something different and much better. For those of you from broken homes, prepare to recall those dark emotions because King knows them, too.

    This book is scary. The realism of abuse (child and alcohol) and madness can be overwhelming, even with the supernatural elements at play inside and around the Overlook Hotel.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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