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Different Seasons [Paperback]

Stephen King
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (90 customer reviews)

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Book Description

1 Nov 2007
Each of the four stories, markedly different in tone and subject, present a journey: Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption (Hope Springs Eternal) is a tale of an innocent man who devises an exciting escape from prison; The Apt Pupil (Summer of Corruption) is the story of a golden schoolboy and an old man with a hideous past who join in a dreadful union; in The Body (Fall from Innocence), four young boys venture into the woods and find life, death and the end of innocence and The Breathing Method (A Winter's Tale) is a macabre story told in a strange club of a woman determined to give birth...no matter what.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 688 pages
  • Publisher: Hodder Paperbacks (1 Nov 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0340952601
  • ISBN-13: 978-0340952603
  • Product Dimensions: 11.2 x 17.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (90 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 272,618 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

Different Seasons is a collection of four novellas, markedly different in tone and subject, each on the theme of a journey. The first is a rich, satisfying, non-horrific tale about an innocent man who carefully nurtures hope and devises a wily scheme to escape from prison. The second concerns a boy who discards his innocence by enticing an old man to travel with him into a reawakening of long-buried evil. In the third story, a writer looks back on the trek he took with three friends on the brink of adolescence to find another boy's corpse. The trip becomes a character-rich rite of passage from youth to maturity.

These first three novellas have been made into well-received movies: Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption into Frank Darabont's 1994 The Shawshank Redemption, Apt Pupil into Bryan Singer's 1998 film Apt Pupil, and The Body into Rob Reiner's Stand by Me (1986).

The final novella, Breathing Lessons is a horror yarn told by a doctor, about a patient whose indomitable spirit keeps her baby alive under extraordinary circumstances. It's the tightest, most polished tale in the collection. --Fiona Webster --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.


One of the great storytellers of our time (Guardian)

A writer of excellence (The Sunday Times)

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More intelligent than horror 11 Dec 1999
It's stephen King, and another collection of "horror" stories. But if you're looking for unsightly festering wounds, and big bad creepy things: Avoid. If on the other hand you're looking for a more complex psycholigical novel(s), based on character rather than "ickiness" factor you've just found yourself an armchair partner.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Masterful 4 Jan 2009
Any writer would give their eye teeth for for just one of these story ideas. It's a mark of King's genius that he can almost throw them away as short novellas (though he does churn them out a little too often these days).

When I casually remark to non-Constant Readers that 'Stand by Me' and 'Shawshank Redemption' are Stephen King stories, I enjoy seeing their looks of surprise. In some people minds, he's been stuck in a horror category with hacks like James Herbert. This collection firmly dispels that notion as he investigates adolescence, corrupting evil and the triumph of the human spirit and rounds it off with a creepy fireside tale.

Of course horror is present here, but it's of the non-supernatural variety. The apparent feelgood tale of teenage camaderie centres around the very boyish desire to see a real dead body - only to confronted and changed forever by the ordinariness of death. Meanwhile, another teenager's morbid curiousity about Nazi death camps sees him change from perfect (if slightly arrogant) student into a monster as he discovers a war criminal lives locally.

Most people will pick this up for 'Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption'. I'd read this before I'd seen the film, so I'm not sure what it must be like for people who do the reverse. However, reason the film is successful is that it sticks to the plot and brings the characters to life.

The final story, 'The Breathing Method' is almost overlooked because it follows three tales where King is at the absolute peak of his dark powers. Whilst not quite as compelling as its predecessors, it's still a damn fine read.

The next time you hear somebody sneering at you for reading cheap trash like Stephen King, just hand them a copy of this. If they're still sneering after that, it's their loss.
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5.0 out of 5 stars King is a GENIUS 29 July 2003
I decided to buy this book because I saw the film 'Apt Pupil' (Bryan Singer) on TV and thought it was a really good film. At first, I was only really bothered about reading the Apt Pupil novella and that is the one I flipped to straight away when I recieved the book from Amazon. From the first page I was hooked and finished reading it in a about a week. I couldn't put it down, every night during that week I stayed awake until the early hours of the morning (but it was worth it). This novella is EVEN BETTER than the film (which is also extremely good in its own right)! I expected the novella to have almost exactly the same plot as the film, but boy was I in for a surprise.
Events in the film would have probably been more surprising if it stayed closer to the book. Apparently, there was a film version of Apt Pupil made in the late 80's but production stopped and the film was never released. I would like to see this version (or what there is of it) out of interest, to see if it is even closer to the book than Bryan Singer's version.

'Apt Pupil' is about an undetected Nazi war crimnal (Kurt Dussander AKA Arthur Denker) living in an American suburb. A school boy called Todd Bowden who has a morbid fascination with WW2 Nazism discovers Arthur Denker's true identity. Todd Bowden blackmails Dussander, telling him that he will keep quiet about his true identity in exchange for 'stories' about the atrocities committed in the concentraion camps during WW2. Atrocities that he himself committed, Todd wants to hear these accounts first-hand. From this, a relationship develops that plunges deep into the recesses of human evilness and which produces disasterous consequences.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Like finding an old friend 16 Mar 2000
I first read this book when I was at school studying for my finals. It struck me then that Stephen King is much much more than a magnificent horror writer, he is also a sensitive writer with a knack for observation.
I have, of course, read the book again since then and I must confess that it's impact on me has grown in the intervening years. Whilst before, I could find a great deal of entertainment in the stories, I can now appreciate them on a deeper level. There is a sense of empathy that is kindled by the characters in the tales. Although I am not in jail like Andy Dufresne, i often feel trapped in certain siuations and can often be overwhelmed with the feeling that each day will be exactly like the last.
If I was looking for a favourite among the four novellas contained in the book, I would plump for The breathing Method. It is a polished, expertly written tale of triumph over adversity and animates perfectly the strength of will that we mere mortals can sometimes display.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
For all those who doubt the fact that Stephen King is one of the all-time great masters at the craft of writing, there is Different Seasons. If nothing else, the doubters should at least acknowledge King's important contribution to reviving the lost art of the novella. King has always said he would write, whether he ever sold a single book - and I think that is completely true. He didn't write these four novellas with publication in mind; each one was written immediately after the completion of a best-selling novel - and each one just sort of sat there after it was finished. What, after all, can a modern author really do with manuscripts too long to be short stories and too short to be novels? Eventually, the idea came to King to just publish them together, with a title that speaks to the fact that these are not the author's usual blood-dripping, creepy-crawling horror stories. In doing so, he not only gave us four of his most captivating works of fiction, he showed a whole new generation of readers the vast, inherent power of the novella.
Three of these four novellas are even better-known than many of King's best-selling novels - due in no small part to the movie adaptations that followed in their wake. It all started with the film Stand By Me - which was not marketed as an adaptation of a Stephen King work of fiction. This was a smart move, considering some of the weak adaptations of earlier King novels. I can only guess how many impressed moviegoers were shocked to learn that Stand By Me was adapted from King's novella The Body. It's a story of four boys who set off to see a dead body, that of another kid hit by a train; their adventure makes for an extraordinary coming-of-age story.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Really good
Published 9 days ago by Gemma
5.0 out of 5 stars Great
Brilliant set of short stories. First one (Dolans cadillac) is the best
Published 23 days ago by Callum
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book
I bought this book primarily for the Shawshank Redemption but found that I loved all the stories and wasn't aware that other stories featured were also made into films - Apt Pupil... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Janine Sattar
5.0 out of 5 stars Classy quartet
Four great reads. Each story holds its own weight and I found that all of them were highly compelling. I particularly liked Apt pupil. Marvellous story-telling.
Published 1 month ago by Frank drebin
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great product, great delivery, very good
Published 1 month ago by Elaine Aaronricks
4.0 out of 5 stars Seen the films? Now read the original novellas
I read this again for my book club, having originally owned the book a few years ago. I was interested to find out how the stories matched up to the films. Read more
Published 3 months ago by H M Reynolds
5.0 out of 5 stars Great
Anything by Stephen King deserves 5*s
Great read as always detailed and full of suspence.
A good old page turner
Published 4 months ago by LazyDays
5.0 out of 5 stars He's a great writer
This was Stephen King at his best. No accident that two of these novellas went on to be highly acclaimed films
Published 5 months ago by suetay
5.0 out of 5 stars Stephen King is my all time favourite author.
Stephen King is my all time favourite author, thought it took me a long time to find the story that Shawshank is based on, and I was not disappointed!
Published 6 months ago by Catherine Neilson
5.0 out of 5 stars 'king great read!
I've been meaning to read this book for years. I was not disappointed. This is King at his very best.
Published 6 months ago by MR
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