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20 June 2015

The Shining
Stephen King
Publication Date

Description from Amazon

Danny is only five years old, but he is a 'shiner', aglow with psychic voltage. When his father becomes caretaker of an old hotel, his visions grow out of control. Cut off by blizzards, the hotel seems to develop an evil force, and who are the mysterious guests in the supposedly empty hotel?

My Thoughts / Review

I would regard King as my favourite author and I had never read The Shining? Don't know why, just the way it happens and I never seem to have bought this book. Maybe because I came to King later in life. 

This is on of King's early works, published in 1977 and King's 3rd published novel, after Carrie and Salem's Lot. The book is regarded as on of his classics and within the first few pages it becomes clear why. King's success formula was born. A plot surrounding the supernatural and very strong characters, mostly involving a writer. It was here that King also first engaged with the topic of alcoholism and domestic abuse which shall become a reoccurring theme in his books.

But the real strength for me lies in the characters, as so often with King's books. This book has 4 main characters: the 3 members of the Torrance family (father Jack, mother Wendy and son Danny) and cook Dick Hallorann. Each of them will become unforgettable. He also effortlessly weaves the backstory in - another one of King's strengths.

It is well known that King did not like the movie made with the same title and famously starring Jack Nicholson. If you have seen the movie before reading the book (like me), it will be impossible to read without seeing the faces of Nicholson and ...
There are differences in the book and the movie. The ending is a bit different, and the whole scene with Wendy finding the book manuscript of endless "all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy".  is not in the book at all. The movie is now a horror film classic in it's own right, and though the few special effects are clearly 1970's, the film manages to create a very tense atmosphere and I felt it was a great adaptation of this book. 

In summary, both book and movie are a must for any King fan.