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Carrie  By  cover art


By: Stephen King
Narrated by: Sissy Spacek, Margaret Atwood
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Editorial review

By Steve Porter, Audible Editor


It’s staggering to consider that Stephen King’s Carrie is 50 years old this month. Margaret Atwood reminded me, in a recent paean to the novel in The New York Times, how vital the book was, and still is. I read it when I was close in age to the characters in the story, when Carrie was the talk of the hallways in middle school. I wanted to show I was cool—and yet, I was worried it might be a bit too much to handle. (I kept hearing about the mysterious "shower scene.") I was not exactly wise for my years, but my curiosity got the best of me.

Just a few pages in, I was hooked. And to say it affected me is an understatement— Carrie shook me to my core. Of course, there was the story, practically dripping with forbidden topics. It had sex! And blood! And telekinesis! And violence! And yes, that shower scene lived up to the hype. Dang, could high school kids really be that mean and awful? Oh, what little I knew. And I have to note that, as an uber-closeted gay kid desperate to keep my true feelings hidden, Carrie’s plight spoke to me in ways no other protagonist had. The shame and loathing she felt about who she was, the lack of family or friends to confide in, the inklings of attraction for a boy who is completely out of her league, the sliver of hope that she will fit in … oh my god, the waves of recognition and empathy crashed over me, page after page.

But what unsettled me even more was the verisimilitude King brought to his storytelling. The places felt lived in, familiar, with details I could almost touch. The people felt real, with unique personalities, quirks, and flaws. They were bold and alive in a way I envied. And King kept tightening the tension with a riveting device, interrupting the narrative at regular intervals to jump into the past or the future, citing a snippet of a (real-sounding) news item or scholarly report about something dreadful that happened to these people. He lets us know this is not going to end well—characters we care about are not going to survive—but he paves a path we are powerless to avoid.

Continue reading Steve's review >

Publisher's summary

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • 50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION WITH A NEW INTRODUCTION BY MARGARET ATWOOD • Stephen King's legendary debut, the bestselling smash hit that put him on the map as one of America's favorite writers • In a world where bullies rule, one girl holds a secret power. Unpopular and tormented, Carrie White's life takes a terrifying turn when her hidden abilities become a weapon of horror.

"Stephen King’s first novel changed the trajectory of horror fiction forever. Fifty years later, authors say it’s still challenging and guiding the genre."—Esquire

“A master storyteller.”—The Los Angeles Times • “Guaranteed to chill you.”—The New York Times • "Gory and horrifying. . . . You can't put it down."—Chicago Tribune

Unpopular at school and subjected to her mother's religious fanaticism at home, Carrie White does not have it easy. But while she may be picked on by her classmates, she has a gift she's kept secret since she was a little girl: she can move things with her mind. Doors lock. Candles fall. Her ability has been both a power and a problem. And when she finds herself the recipient of a sudden act of kindness, Carrie feels like she's finally been given a chance to be normal. She hopes that the nightmare of her classmates' vicious taunts is over . . . but an unexpected and cruel prank turns her gift into a weapon of horror so destructive that the town may never recover.

©1974 Stephen King (P)2012 Random House Audio

Critic reviews

“Stephen King has built a literary genre of putting ordinary people in the most terrifying situations. . . . 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

“Shivering, shuddery, macabre evil!”—Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

“Eerie and haunting—sheer terror!”Publishers Weekly

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The folklore of just about every human culture is rife with stories that feature talking animals, shape-shifters, demons, witches, spirits, and more. Whether you arrive seeking horror, thrills, romance, or fantasy, there’s a title here for you. And with a slate of narrators that includes famous actors and award-winning voice artists, it’s impossible to go wrong with any of these picks.

Editor's Pick

The most fun horror listen of…ever, probably?
"Just like scrunchies and platform boots, Stephen King is hotter than ever again. Having never read (or even watched!) the classic that started it all, I recently cozied up with his 1973 novelette Carrie, knowing that it was about a high school outcast who gets her revenge at the prom, but otherwise going in completely blind. You guys, it taps into so many current trends that I can hardly count them all: magic! vengeance! female rage! menstruation!. And the best reason to listen to this Audible book ASAP is that it’s narrated by Sissy Spacek herself. Don’t sleep on this one!"
Rachel S., Audible Editor