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The Shining [Paperback]

Stephen King
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (343 customer reviews)

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Book Description

1 July 1982
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?

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Product details

  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Hodder Paperbacks; New edition edition (1 July 1982)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0450040186
  • ISBN-13: 978-0450040184
  • Product Dimensions: 17.4 x 11 x 3.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (343 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 190,532 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

Ghostly bursts of plaster dust. A low, rhythmic sound in the background: Red rum-RED RUM-red rum-RED RUM. A sense of something evil swirling inward on itself, like a whirlpool of black ectoplasmic energy. The experience of being inside the actual consciousness ("come out and take your medicine!") of a frightened little boy. Echoes of Shirley Jackson ("whatever walked there, walked alone"), of Poe's Masque of the Red Death and of creepy folk tales (Hansel and Gretel).

How do we love The Shining? Let us count the ways. In 1977, The Shining was the first widely read novel to confront alcoholism and child abuse in baby-boomer families--especially the way alcoholism, a will toward failure in one's work, and abusing one's kids are passed down from generation to generation. The heart of the book is not an evil hotel but a pair of father-son relationships: Jack and his father, Jack and his son. This was both daring and insightful for its time, long before "dysfunctional family" was a cliché.

The Shining was written in a frenzy. Stephen King imagined the whole novel in his head while sitting up all night in the dark, in the very Colorado hotel where the story takes place. He then transcribed it (that's how he puts it) in a burst of sustained energy. He could pull that off because, even at that early point in his career, King had figured out a successful way of structuring a popular novel. The speed of its composition gives the writing a powerful flow that sweeps you along past the awkward wording.

The Shining is one of those rare novels that can burn its images--such as Room 217--into your brain. Time alone will tell, but The Shining may well turn out to be one of the best horror novels ever written. By the way, you know that film starring Jack Nicholson? Stephen King says, "I have my days when I think I gave Kubrick a live grenade on which he heroically threw his body." --Fiona Webster


Obviously a masterpiece, probably the best supernatural novel in a hundred years (Peter Straub)

You had better not read it alone (Mirror)

As a storyteller, he is up there in the Dickens class (The Times)

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Jack Torrance thought: Officious little prick. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
56 of 58 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Seriously scary 1 Nov 2006
Browsing through "1001 Books you must read before you die" - it was something of a surprise to find The Shining listed, when so much of Stephen King's work is dismissed by critics. But what a revelation the book is, and I'm glad I read it. This really is superior horror material, crafted to keep the pages turning. Over-shadowed by the film (which King himself didn't like) - the novel is a deeper, scarier experience, a fine example of the skill of wonderful storytelling. In a specially written introduction for this edition of The Shining, King reveals this was the book that took him in a different direction - where the characters are all the more scary because their demons are real as well as imagined. Compelling.
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44 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant - I couldn't read fast enough 29 Nov 2007
By Nicola
It all started when I saw the music video 'The Kill' by 30 Seconds To Mars (on You Tube), realised it was based on The Shining and decided I had to have a read of the book itself to see what it was all about. How's that for joined up thinking!

Apparently Stephen King thought up the storyline for The Shining when he went on an impromptu holiday with his wife to a hotel in Colorado. The hotel was closing down for the season and King and his wife were the only two people there. The eerie surroundings and long empty corridors gave King the ideas for his book.

The book is really well written. I love the way a character will say something and then King writes what they are really/subconsicously thinking in italics underneath. It gives you a lot more insight into what's happening. The characters are instantly believable and you can really feel for them - to me that's always the sign of a good book. You get so engrossed in the story, you forget everything else while you're reading. I'd thoroughly recommend this book. Enjoy!
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Forget the film. 4 Aug 2001
By A Customer
Stanley Kubrick's The Shining is easily one of the greatest horror movies of the 20th century. I love that film with a passion but the book is something all together different. Much of the story was not used for the film so a lot will come as a suprise. For those of you who don't know the plot Jack Torrence gets himself a caretaker job in the Overlook Hotel. He takes his wife Wendy and son Danny to stay up there throughout the harsh winter. Over the course of their stay they are terrorised by the ghosts of former residents at the Overlook caused by the special gift Danny has. He shines, which basically means he is psychic, can tell whats going to happen before it happens and can see things others cannot. This book is absolutely brilliant. I recommend it to anyone who is a fan of horror because it won't ever get this good again.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best of the best 27 Oct 2003
In all the books I've read in my time, 'The Shining' has to be rated as the best. The combination of Stephen King's literary superiority and horrifying imagination produce a scarily good result.
In The Shining we follow Jack Torrance who takes over as caretaker of the Overlook hotel for the winter, where only he and his family will stay as blizzards enclose the hotel. But his son, Danny is having strange visions, and the hotel itself is eerily odd.
From the story we learn about Danny, and his nightmarish visions, but the novel begins to get really scary when his father Jack, who doesn't have any psychic ability, starts seeing things too. I used to read this book at night before going to sleep, and after I'd put down the book and turned out the light, my heart would continue to pound in my chest...such is the quality of the suspense and horror.
But don't be fooled by the movie version with Jack Nicholson. Despite Nicholson's fantastic performance as Torrance, the movie is a gross miscarriage of the book, and omits 70% of the book's story. The famous 'Here's Johnny' line isn't even in the's just in the film.
Above all else, you must read this book, even if you've seen the film. But be warned...once you have reached the part where Torrance enters room the part where things really start to get scary.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow, loved the film, love the book more! 19 Aug 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I've been a fan of the film for many years now and it was only very recently that I read the book. It's brilliant! I loved getting the back story of the characters, finding out how it is that Jack goes crazy and also the original ending. I've got to say I was never much of a fan of Danny in the film, but the book character you really find yourself sympathising with, you also find out the full extent of his "shine". The film glossed over a lot of key points, which I felt the book really filled out and explained. So if you've seen the film read it! And if you've never seen the film, start with this first!
Great book all round!
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
Twenty-seven years after its publication, The Shining remains a visceral, gripping read that showcases Stephen King's unfathomable powers to hypnotize and terrify readers, a power King had in abundance in the early stages of his career. Coming on the heels of Carrie and 'Salem's Lot, The Shining truly established King as a modern master of horror and an unequalled purveyor of a literary mirror into pop culture. If you've only seen the original movie starring Jack Nicholson, you really owe it to yourself to read the novel; Stanley Kubrick made a fine and scary movie, but he did not capture the essence of King's story, and his dramatization followed a different path than what you find in the original vision brought to life through the words of King. The more recent miniseries was more faithful to the novel, but it doesn't take an Einstein to figure out that a made-for-TV dramatization is limited in terms of what it can get away with in a number of important areas. Simply put, The Shining stands just behind Shirley Jackson's The House on Haunted Hill as one of the best "haunted house" novels ever written.
The plot should be quite familiar to one and all by this point. The Torrance family embarks on a months-long retreat into complete isolation when Jack Torrance signs on to be the winter custodian of the Overlook Hotel in Colorado. Jack takes some personal demons with him to a hotel chock-full of malevolent, ghostly spirits; he is a recovering alcoholic who, in the last couple of years, lost his job and broke his little boy's arm in a state of drunken fury. He thinks the months alone with his wife and son will allow him to find peace - and to finally finish the play he has been working on.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Just finished it again
I had forgot how much I loved this book.... looking forward to Doctor Sleep now :-)
He does create amazing stories
Published 2 days ago by Philip Newson
4.0 out of 5 stars The Shining Book
More intense than the film. Not finished the book yet but do far so good. Find this to be a scary and gripping read.
Published 6 days ago by Yvonne Weakley
5.0 out of 5 stars gripping from beginning to end
Couldn't put it down. Can't wait to read the new sequel. I only wish there were more hours in a day.
Published 8 days ago by vk
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
A great book that I would recommend to everyone. It may take a while to get started, but once it gets going, its a spine chilling masterpiece.
Published 15 days ago by MR DARREN EADE
5.0 out of 5 stars The Shining
Having read this book many years ago, I wanted to revisit before I go on to Dr Sleep. very glad I did, I've found a better understanding of Jack Torrence and having took away the... Read more
Published 19 days ago by mlu
3.0 out of 5 stars OK but not as good as I was expecting
I haven’t seen the film and I wanted to read the book as it’s hailed as being a brilliant horror novel. Read more
Published 19 days ago by Mrs. S. Payne
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow
I think that this is a fantastic novel by Stephen King about fear, despair, love, hatred, and insanity. I also recommend the sequel, Doctor Sleep.
Published 21 days ago by Timothy P. Daly
4.0 out of 5 stars great read
Good read, couldn't put it down, bit of a boring ending though, but all in all worth it. Would recommend this book
Published 22 days ago by Beckie Paget
4.0 out of 5 stars Really good
The book was a little slow to start off with, but it gets so much better, a great read, would recommend.
Published 23 days ago by Melanie Taylor
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic Stephen King
A classic Stephen King novel that hasn't lost its magic since I first read it more than ten years back. Excited to be starting the follow-up shortly.
Published 24 days ago by DanG
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