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Desperation (Wheeler Compass) Hardcover – Large Print, 31 Dec 1997


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 761 pages
  • Publisher: Wheeler Publishing Inc; large type edition edition (31 Dec 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1568954204
  • ISBN-13: 978-1568954202
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 16.1 x 3.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (117 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 7,482,249 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Stephen King is the author of more than fifty books, all of them worldwide bestsellers. Among his most recent are the Dark Tower novels, Cell, From a Buick 8, Everything's Eventual, Hearts in Atlantis, The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon, and Bag of Bones. His acclaimed nonfiction book, On Writing, was also a bestseller. He is the recipient of the 2003 National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. He lives in Bangor, Maine, with his wife, novelist Tabitha King.

Product Description

Amazon Review

A notice to those who feel that Stephen King has lost his magic touch: Desperation is the genuine goods. The ensemble cast of ordinary Americans thrown together by chance, including a disgruntled alcoholic writer and a child who is wise beyond his years, may be a bit too familiar. But the nearly deserted Nevada mining town with an enormous haunted mine pit and an abandoned movie theatre where the survivors hang out makes for a striking battleground, and the grisly action rarely flags. Best of all, though, are the characters of Tak, the ancient body-hopping evil who emerges from the mine, and of "God"--whom the New York Times describes as "the edgiest creation in Desperation. Remote, isolated, ironic, shrouded behind disguises, perhaps ‘another legendary shadow,' this deity forms a sly foil, and an icy mirror, to Tak." --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

Genuinely masterful (Daily Telegraph)

A massive volume of terror crafted creepily (Daily Mail)

King again proves himself the premier literary barometer of our cultural clime...The terror is relentless...deeply moving and enthralling masterpiece (Publishers Weekly) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Crookedmouth HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 1 Nov 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A disparate collection of travellers are abducted by an insane cop and incarcerated in the jail of a small Nevada mining town in the middle of nowhere. It quickly becomes clear that the cop isn't just insane - he's posessed - and an ancient tunnel recently uncovered at the mine may hold the clue...

King's novels are rather variable in quality. I suspect that most careful and discerrning readers, even King's Constant Readers, will acknowledge that as true. I'll qualify the statement and state that I haven't yet read a single King that I *didn't* like but I *can* recognise their flaws. Perhaps that's the mark of a true fan (I'd like to think so)?

Now; I'm re-reading a lot of his old stuff and (slowly) coming up to date with his newer work so I can't claim to have a huge base across which to compare, but I think that Desperation has to be one of his better novels. It scores highly on a number of counts, the best probably being the atmosphere that King develops: the desperate, deserted, dusty desolation of the setting, the sense of rising foreboding as events build to a head, the terror and uncertainty evoked by the murderous cop, the helplessness of his victims and the sudden randomness of their deaths. This *feels* like a horror novel. The depiction of the mad cop is also masterful: he's not simply insane Tak, his problems go far deeper than that and his strange mannerisms and sayings convey his demonic posession rather well.

That said, King lets himself down somewhat with the dialogue he constructs for his other - less mental - protagonists and they frequently talk as if their lines had been scripted by a Hollywood B-movie dialogue coach; wordy and schmaltzily sincere.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By jonesellis@yahoo.com on 4 Aug 2001
Format: Paperback
This was the first Stephen King novel that I ever read (my parents thought that 11 was too young, but I ignored them) and it remains my absolute favourite. Although I have read countless other Stephen king wonders, such as CARRIE, 'SALEM'S LOT, ROSE MADDER and BAG OF BONES, the only one which I think even closley rivals DESPERATION is FIRESTARTER. In the derelict settlement of Desperation, the stage is set for a huge battle between Tak, a possessing demon, and God, or maybe just God's avatar, David. The menacing images of the coyote and the wolf, Tak's avatars, recur throughout the novel and I found the entire book from beginning to end entirely breathtaking.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By zarag15@hotmail.com on 31 Jan 2001
Format: Paperback
This book, although quite long, is truly addictive. The plot ids twisted, just when you think you know whats going to happen something truly unexpected happens. This book has many characters, you can`t help yourself being attracted to at least one of them. This book is not one of King`s scarier books, but don`t be put off by that it is truly brilliant. You will find yourself gripped to the thrilling storyline. I can`t say any more except read this book and I can give 100% gurantee you won`t regret it. It is just exceptionally dazzling. 10/10
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Simon George on 1 Nov 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm actually going to sway away from popular opinion on this one. Even though it’s by no means a bad book, it’s not great either.
Desperation is certainly more of a gore-fest rather than a psychological horror. The book begins with a couple driving through a desert. As the pass a sign, they notice a dead animal nailed to it, this is the first scare, then a cop pulls them over, and then BANG! You’re into the action immediately. The story certainly starts very quickly, no time building characters or the scene too much with this one, oh no, the horror is fast paced and I’m sure that almost everyone will find the first 100 pages impossible to put down. But this is the big problem. How do you sustain this kind of pace for 700 pages? Simply, you cant. This is very disappointing, as I thought the first part really was some of the most intense storytelling that I’ve read in a long while, unfortunately, you pay for this because the story really does begin to drag a bit from there on in.
If you like blood, guts, severed limbs, and basically just downright gore, gore and throw some more gore in, then you wont be disappointed with this. But if you looking for a more psychological horror, then I suggest maybe Bag of Bones also by King.
A good horror story that maybe drags on a little too long, and maybe the horror is too in your face (which in my opinion is much less scary most the time) for some, but don’t let it put you off. A good read nevertheless, maybe a slightly average story made better by a great author.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 24 July 1999
Format: Paperback
Desperation is quite simply an outstanding read. The way king draws several normal people, including two very young children to a haunted mining town is great. The book never once slows down and king does what he is excellent at : killing off the lead characters emotionlessly and reshaping the plot around their deaths, creating new lead characters. This is done here on several occasions. The most intriguing part of the story is young David Carver's relationship with God, something which the other charaters never quite understand, But King makes us do so. The only problem I have the book is that King never elaborates on the fact that Johnny Marinvile had lived a previos life - one where he was killed in Vietnam. King also scares us with vintage horror essentials : snakes, scorpions, dead bodies etc and he does this in a way which isn't over the top. Despite not matching to the levels of The Shining or even Misery, it is still an excellent read.
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