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
"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)
I think this audiobook will suffer from people comparing it to the movie. The movie story had very little to do with the actual novel. While the movie eventually reached classic status, the story and character development veered wildly from King's vision, quite notoriously and controversially. The movie is fantastic in its own right but should stand alone. If you are looking for an audio version of the movie or Jack Nicholson's performance, you should give this a pass.
That being said the novel is a tremendously gripping and horrifying read, bringing you along as the characters are more and more absorbed by the forces at work. The centerpiece is the hotel, and King paints an amazing picture over the course of the book, giving the Overlook a back story, a personality and a voice. Campbell Scott does an admirable job capturing the myriad of voices and emotions. A very tough assignment given that he not only has to portray a woman and child, but inner voices and distinguish between lucidity and madness. His performance did not take me out of the story at all and that is a tall order in a suspense piece. I enjoyed every minute listening to this book and when listening at night was truly scared at times.
...because the book is a much more well-developed story. I saw the movie as a kid and watched it again just after finishing the novel for the first time. While I can understand why the film is iconic, it is a completely different interpretation of King's story and in my opinion just doesn't have as much depth or emotion. And I'm a Kubrick fan!
The story that most of us know: A writer takes his young family from Vermont out west to Colorado as he has taken a position as caretaker of a secluded hotel during its off season. King tackles issues such as alcoholism, self-esteem, and the strength of the family unit while telling a deliciously frightening story of the demons of the Overlook Hotel. He is one of the most talented storytellers out there, and I spent a good deal of time sitting in my driveway to listen to the end of a chapter before turning the car off and going inside my house.
Campbell Scott put me off at first as a narrator - I thought him to be a little too monotone at first, it was lolling me into a zone, not good when one is driving. But I stuck with him and he did brilliantly acting out the different characters, particularly the violent angry ones and I felt my pulse quicken during those parts.
I know it's said over and over again that the book is always better than the movie, but it's especially true in this case. Please treat yourself to this story, now one of my favorites by King.
I first read The Shining when I was *way* too young. I still remember hiding it in my bedroom so my parents wouldn't find it. The book had a serious impact on how I view stories and, if I'm being honest, the world. I don't know whether that is a good or a bad thing, but it's merely the truth. Such is the impact of books. To be fair I was reading many novels entirely too early, but that was the result of serious parents who felt a literate education was tremendously important to mental growth.
When I saw the movie at an appropriate age I was appalled; 'this isn't The Shining' I remember,' I thought. And it wasn't. It was a masterpiece all its own, but certainly not the book.
Upon listening once more (I'm in my early 30s now), I clearly picked up nuances that were deeply hidden from my preteen brain. Instead of an external horror story (which is how I always perceived it, 'The Overlook made him do it'), I began to view it as an internal horror story. While yes, there are extensive external influences, the forces of The Overlook feed on the internal conflict and torment of its residents.
It's been 6 or 7 months since I finished this listen and I now view it as both an internal and external horror story. The book is operating on numerous levels; memory, addiction, marital strife, pressures to succeed yet failing, the vestigial beast in humanity, history, etc... all viewed through the alternating lenses of the tormented and the innocent (internal horror). The sins of the Father wreaking havoc on the life of the child. Add to this the paranormal (external) horrors of The Overlook and you get an even deeper discussion and story. Of course, the impact on Danny with his Shine... that's where the book really hits a home run. Horror viewed through innocent eyes is the most terrifying of all.
It's really just a brilliant book and has impacted my life tremendously. If you haven't read it, spend the credit. Scott does a fantastic job of the narration.
Highest marks. A classic of 20th century fiction and a keystone of the horror genre.
The Shining - Review
As to the performance: it certainly wasn't monotone. The voices are all immaculate and extremely consistent; with a smooth delivery of the constant insertion and switching of inner voice to spoken voice that keeps the listener immersed and dramatizes the story amazingly well. What people are confusing "monotone" with, I think, at the beginning of the story is a wonderful and delicate subtlety.
As the madness sets in the dramatization becomes a very intense and accurate portrayal of the characters. I really don't understand how anyone can consider this narrator to be anything other than perfectly cast.
The statement that comes to my mind is: "A pure performance."
As to the story itself: there was a point at the beginning in which I distinctly remember thinking: this certainly isn't King's best work. It certainly started a little slow and a little dull; not what I'd expected from a Stephen King masterpiece. That was part one. Part two picked up well enough. After that the story continued to get better and better until the fifth part, the climax which I couldn't "put down" until I'd finished the story.
Having grown up with Kubrick's Shining I was interested in how the book would be. Now I see why Stephen King wasn't happy with the film. I found that it showed Jack Torrance as a loving caring father, missing from Kubricks adaptation. Wendy's strength is shown and Danny's love for his parents.It was great, thats all I can say. Read it, you won't be sorry!
Born and raised in the Charlestown section of Boston. Irish-American, music (punk rock), crime & history, or anything having to do with those are my favorite subjects.
The Shining was a book I had always wanted to read, having heard how different it was from the movie. I wasn't sure if that was good or bad because that was a classic horror movie. So many quotable scenes & lines.
However, after listening to this book on Audible, I found it to be much better! It is completely different, but in a GREAT way!
It not only has plot twists & scenes not in the movie, but also the characters are studied in much more detail and we see & feel what they do. It drags you in & makes you feel like you are snowed in at The Overlook.
I wish they could do a movie that was true to the book but also, with the great acting & scenes that were such a major part of the film.
In ending, this was a great piece of writing that explores many more subjects that are beyond a simple "horror" story.
Beautifully narrated and wonderfully horrific! Stephen King's best work, beautifully written and enormously engaging.
Jack Torrance, as Stephen King demonically demonstrates his slow demise...His slow disintegration of his mind and his perceptions of the evil which is lurking in the hotel are mind blowing!
Jack Torrance entering the "empty" lounge for the "fish and goose" soiree. As the Overlook Hotel is closed for the winter, and Jack and his wife and son are the only people in the hotel, the appearance of "Lloyd", the bartender, is the harbinger of the horror that is to unfold for Jack.
Since there were essentially only 4 main characters in the book, Jack Torrance would be the most interesting. He had little grasp on reality and his understanding of what was real and what wasn't, was very intriguing. Asking him about what he thought of the evil forces which were forcing him to kill his wife and child would be most interesting.
I wasn't sure if I should buy the book since I had already watched the movie but Dr. Sleep was out on the streets and I was concern that I wouldn't understand it all.
It was a big surprise because the book and the movie are different, but I love them both.
If you are too much into details like me, or you prefer to know why certain things happen, you will love the book. If you prefer to use your imagination and create the story on your own stick to the movie (believe me, the book has details about the background of the Overlook hotel and Mr. Jack Torrance)
For example, why the river of blood? Why Jack goes mad? What happened in the overlook before? In the book S.K. gives you a better idea of what is happening. Yes of course you kind of know the overall plot but believe me, it changes from time to time.
The narrator does a fine job, he keeps it exactly at the point between just telling you the story and a hint of the feeling of the moment. I personally prefer this style, too much feeling add too much of the narrator perspective of the story, and too little will not add that extra punch
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!"
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