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Dolores Claiborne - Stephen King [Paperback]

Stephen King
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)

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Book Description

13 Feb 2006
Suspected of murdering the crippled widow for whom she worked as a housekeeper and companion, Dolores Claiborne has a story to tell. But it isn't the one the police are expecting to hear. It's a little darker, a little stranger - and a lot more horrifying.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Coronet (13 Feb 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0340923245
  • ISBN-13: 978-0340923245
  • Product Dimensions: 17.2 x 11 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,217,706 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

More of a mystery than a horror novel, Dolores Claiborne contains only the briefest glances at the supernatural. The novel presents Stephen King as a writer experimenting with style and narrative, time and perspective. Fans looking for a skin-crawling, page-turning fright or an undead bloodbath will be disappointed, but a patient reader willing to savour King's leisurely study of character and island life will find many rewards. And all of this is not to say that the book is without suspense.

The story unfolds in one continuous chapter, told in the first person by the cranky, 65-year-old housekeeper, Dolores, who is explaining to police officers and a stenographer how and why she killed her husband, Joe, 30 years ago. At the same time, in her rambling monologue, she insists that she did not kill her longtime employer, Vera Donovan--notwithstanding what the residents of Little Tall Island may be whispering. Joe was a drinker, and, as Dolores gradually argues, he deserved to die for the horrifying crimes he committed against his family. But Vera, despite her cantankerous disposition as a lady governing her decaying estate with her precise rules about even the most mundane household chore ("Six pins! Remember to use six pins! Don't you let the wind blow my good sheets down to the corner of the yard!"), was a good woman--or at least not an evil one. She was the woman who hired the young Dolores and kept her on even after Dolores got pregnant again. Dolores cleaned and cared for her even as the old matron faded into senility.

Dolores Claiborne is a rich novel that recalls the regionalist writing of the turn of the century. It is a fine place for a sceptical newcomer--put off by King's reputation for outright terror--to start. And for fans, it is a book that offers new insights into an author who's an old favourite. --Patrick O'Kelley --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.


... the climax of Dolores's confession ... is one of his most accomplished and macabre set-pieces, a homicidal-rhapsody-in-bluechh ... Its message touches a nerve that has been raw since man first walked on two legs. (The Sunday Times)

A svelte and compelling masterpiece ... It is not just a powerful book, it is a beautiful book ... Only a novelist of the very first rank could combine comedy and tragedy so judiciously ... It is an exciting change of gear and a very fine book has resulted. (Sunday Telegraph)

An incredibly gifted writer, whose writing, like Truman Capote's, is so fluid that you often forget that you're reading. (Guardian) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bravo! 2 Oct 1999
By A Customer
As a King fan of too many years, I have no qualms in saying this is my favourite King book so far. It feels like a long, short-story if you get me. It has more of the feeling of the excellent 'The Body' than of 'The Stand' where the main tale is all, and there are no sub-plots.
It is told in an unusual way that is at first hard to get into. But once you have, you can really feel the character of Delores as the story develops. Her pain and suffering are your pain and suffering. You want her to come out of this well. And does she? Well, read it. You won't be disappointed.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
It's Stephen King again! Or is it? When Dolores Claiborne was first published, {and a few years later, when another King novel, ROSE MADDER appeared} speculation was rife that in fact the book had not been scribed by the author of THE STAND and IT, but actually by Tabitha King, his author wife. Hmmm. Let's see...

DOLORES CLAIBORNE is the story of the eponymous woman from Little Tall Island, Maine, and is told [almost] entirely in the first person, by Dolores herself. She is telling the story of her life to the police chief after the mysterious death of her elderly and eccentric employer, Vera Donovan; a death where foul play is involved and Dolores is the chief suspect. Talk on the island has been rife about Delores; several years ago her husband also died in mysterious circumstances, and there have been malicious rumours and whispers about her ever since. But now is the time for Dolores to tell her story; of her married life with her alcoholic abusive husband, and how he began to sexually molest their young daughter, and of what happened on the night he died. Delores' tale is also the story of her employer, Vera Donovan, and Dolores' back-breaking filthy and degrading years working for this stark, wanton and perhaps a little crazy old woman, and also of the events leading up to her death. Throughout the novel, also, Delores often goes off track a little, and her little diversions and asides are equally as entertaining as the main plot.

I think that the main reason that critics and commentators were quick to suggest that King's wife had written DELORES CLAIBORNE are quite clear; the voice of Delores, a mildly elderly woman, is clear and vibrant and very individual, and her thoughts and feelings captured very well.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars VERY HUMAN. Charming, yet, thrilling 23 Feb 1999
By A Customer
A few more stars are needed to rate this book, five are not enough. This book is one of the most compelling I have read. If you think all King can give you is gruesom and out of this world think again and give it a try. It is a very touching story that dances between abuse, molestation, betrayal, FRIENDSHIP and LOVE. Shows the extremes a mother can go for her children even if they do not know it, it is LOVE what she is giving without expecting anything as reward. Also, it give us the true value of friendship even when it is between to strange humans as are Dolores and Vera. It takes humans to extremes that we all could get too before we realize it. When you think you have figure it all, surprise you have not. It keeps you thinking and wondering for a while after you are done reading. Trully a master piece.
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4.0 out of 5 stars pushing boundries 24 April 2009
Usually stephen king likes to do something different with his books, and dolores claiborne is no different. Be prepared to read from one cover to the other without a break.

I dont want to spoil the plot, so i wont say much. What i will tell you is that this book is one big long monologue by the character named by title. She is giving a statement to the police concerning a suspicious death, and to explain things she has to tell her life story, or at least the interesting parts of it. The book deals with the very grittiness of human nature, as usual for stephen king, and when you get into it it feels like you could be in the room with her.

What this book isnt is a horror or fantasy tale. There are no dark tower links and no randall flagg. This is all human nature. A good book and well worth reading.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Engrossing from the start... 10 May 2002
By A Customer
This novel is fantastic! After over a decade of reading Stephen King in sporadic bursts I finally decided to read the entire back catalogue back-to-back. Delores Claiborne never appealed to me before, as I prefer something with at least a brushing of the supernatural, but I thought I'd read it out of a desire for completeness. It turned out to be a pleasant surprise!

As I'm sure many Stephen King readers are aware, his books can sometimes take a couple of hundred pages to draw you into the story, before getting to 'the meat' of the tale. However, after 3 pages of Delores I couldn't put it down. One of the reasons for this is the fantastic narrative style employed, which introduces the lead character as much by her mannerisms of speech as anything else.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A great book 25 Jan 2009
First Steven King novel i ever read, as i found it in the charity shop for very cheap, i was expecting something supernatural, even though there wasn't i loved it. As soon as the story begins you have sympathy with Dolores and her children, and you hate her cruel, selfish pathetic drunk of a husband. Most of it is not very horrific but there are a few pages in the middle that are absolutely spine-chilling. Very satisfying and exciting book. Buy............
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
interesting read. no chapters.
Published 3 days ago by Chizoba Ogbonnaya
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Published 1 month ago by Siza1234
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, but...
Loved the movie (the brilliant Kathy Bates & Co.,) The book is great, too - but then I'm a HUGE King fan! Read more
Published 1 month ago by Meretseger
5.0 out of 5 stars An unusual book from Stephen
Very different from his usual books but fascinating to read - I wondered whether it would remain as Dolores' testimony all the way through - and it did! Read more
Published 3 months ago by Avid Reader
4.0 out of 5 stars Great story
Nice story well told, evokes lots of images of east coast USA island life and how its changed over the years. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Mr A J Crossland
4.0 out of 5 stars WOOF WOOF
I liked this book a lot, a great storyline and for me a surprising ending. I wanted to try and kick Cujos butt.
Published 4 months ago by dopper
5.0 out of 5 stars Emotional
This is Stephen King but maybe not as we know him and as we imagine his books to me. He makes a little detour into the psychological genre here (but there is still of course a... Read more
Published 6 months ago by The Pegster
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best
This a fabulous book. Heartbreaking story about the life of two strong and wonderful women. A must read. My favourite of Kings.
Published 12 months ago by Ann
4.0 out of 5 stars Dolores Claiborne
A Very good and enjoyable read. It is not over complicated and is great for a relaxing read before bed
Published 12 months ago by MR B M BAKER
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent story
Dolores Claiborne is not a typical piece of SK work but it is a very good read.

The story of Dolores is told (by her) to three police officers and it covers the entire... Read more
Published 14 months ago by Amazon Customer
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