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Different Seasons [Paperback]

Stephen King
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (83 customer reviews)

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Paperback, 1 Nov 2007 --  
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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 (83 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 30,311 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 out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

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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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
Format:Paperback
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
Format:Paperback
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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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
By Daniel Jolley HALL OF FAME TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
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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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Novellas 26 July 2006
By S J Buck TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
If you are in any doubt about the quality of these stories, consider the fact that 3 out of the 4 have been made into films.

Stephen King is known as a horror writer, but these three show that the man is one of the worlds best story tellers. They are not horror stories.

Shawshank as most people will know is a prison story. Some of this is harrowing and upsetting (such that they couldn't show it in the film), but it is essential for the development of the main character and I never thought it was gratutious.

The Body is a story about growing up and Apt Pupil is about a man with black past and his relationship with a young lad. Both are excellent and compelling reading.

The 4th story, which is as good as the other 3, is gripping and original, and a real page turner. This is more of a traditional King horror story, so if you buy Different Seasons you don't miss out completely on the horror front.

Of course what this book amply demonstrates is Kings marvellous story telling abilities, whether he is writing horror or not.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A spectrum of emotions in four short stories... 14 Aug 2001
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I picked this book up a couple of years ago with the intention of using my own imagination to re-structure two of my favourite films, Shawshank Redemption and Stand by me. However, on finishing the anthology, I was struck by, as a first time King reader, the man's extraordinary gift of involving his audience, both spiritually and emotionally. Shawshank proved better than its celluloid counterpart, with a greater sense of character evoked in both Andy and Red. The Breathing Method proved a revelation, a tightly maintained and chilling tale. Admittedly I found Apt Pupil a little long winded, I felt that the story lacked the same superior character driven element as the other tales. For me the real triumph was The Body. As someone who has lost a dear friend, I'm not ashamed to admit that I cried when reading King's description of Chris's death, as it's poignancy and sensitivity was beautifully crafted and handled. Buy this book now...
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
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 19 days 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 1 month 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 2 months ago by MR
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant.
This really is just so awesome. One of Stephen King's greatest. I love each and every story in it. Definitely buy if you're a huge fan of King's work.
Published 2 months ago by Michelle
5.0 out of 5 stars hard to put down.
Fiction is not my genre, and I bought this solely for the Shawshank story and an impending holiday. There are four stories all of which are equally as good. Read more
Published 2 months ago by M. Cummings
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant read
I wanted to read the story of one of my favourite films and discovered it was only available with these others. A fine mix and all Stephen King thrillers though short and sweet. Read more
Published 2 months ago by susan inglis
4.0 out of 5 stars My First King Novel
This was the first book written by Stephen King that I had read and boy what a read. It was mainly for the "Shawshank Redemption" aspect that I bought the book, but all of... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Anna Shea
3.0 out of 5 stars Some are good, some not so good
some great short stories and some mediocre stories, and some weird ones too, but a good read never the less!
Published 4 months ago by Sarah Darby
5.0 out of 5 stars Its for Mum
Its a birthday present for my mother. She has read it before and loves Stephan King. so it is a good buy and cheap!
Published 4 months ago by lose weight
2.0 out of 5 stars Not very impressed
I like Stephen King and I believe he is one of the few authors able to write both novels and short stories in the horror arena. Read more
Published 5 months ago by A. Marchesini
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