61 of 63 people found the following review helpful
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.
49 of 52 people found the following review helpful
on 29 November 2007
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!
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 11 January 2014
I avoided Stephen King for nearly forty years because, snobbishly, I believed him to be 'just' a horror writer. Despite the exhortations of three of my well read children, I stubbornly refused to read anything he had written. I finally gave in and read '11.22.63' and the result? Totally hooked. He is a man who can bring a character alive in just a few strokes of his pen, an author who can pin you to the back of your chair until you have finished. 'The Shining' is a remarkable book, totally stunning. There's horror, yes, but real vulnerable people faced with credible horrors, some of their own making, some in the creative mind of this man of great talent - The hotel, the snow, the lift, the hedge animals, little Danny with his psychic gift... read it as soon as you can. And if you haven't read Stephen King before, throw away your prejudices before you start.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 11 April 2006
Over a year ago on TV, I managed to stumble upon The Shining. The genre of horror has never been one of my particular favourites, but that film to me was not delibrately scary like most other horrors. What it did possess in my mind was a certain chill factor and a gripping story that made it an epic horror film.
As far as books are concerned, The Shining seemed like a good place to start as far as fiction. My sister has always been a fan of Stephen King, so I was intrigued to see what King was like as a storyteller.
Precisely it probably took me about a month to read, about a chapter every night or around that mark. The reason being is I did not want to lose my place as to where the story was going. Well, earlier tonight, I had finally finished reading it.
In my opinion, this is the best book I have read so far. The story was well layed out in 58 chapters in 5 seperate sections and thus is quite easy to follow. The words were quite difficult to understand, but they have hold the reader back from the concept of the tale.
In modest terms, I can not say whether I like the book or the film more as they both have their own appeal. Certainly the novel is much more scarier, with scenes that delve deeper into the supernatural and certainly some differences that Stanley Kubrick probably could not afford to film.
I felt the ending in the book was a lot more uplifting than the one on the film. I also found the violence was a lot more gruesome and King can certainly create vivid images that stick in your head.
Whether it is the best horror novel is up to you, but this certainly one of the best ones to have been written. Now we know the scariest thing is not a flesh eating monster.
20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on 27 October 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 book...it'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 217...is the part where things really start to get scary.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 30 November 2014
The story starts off with the 'Job Interview'. Here we are introduced to Jack Torrence, an aspiring author, who has applied for the position of a winter caretaker at the Overlook Hotel in the Colorado Rockies. He is interviewed by the Manager, Mr Stuart Ullman, who warns Jack that a previous caretaker developed 'cabin fever' and ended up murdering his family before killing himself. However, Jack is not put off by this or the fact that he, his wife and son Danny will be living in this sprawling, empty hotel during the harsh, winter months when they will, at times, be totally cut off from civilisation. Jack is a recovering alcoholic with anger issues and feels that the solitude will give him the time to write and to re-connect with his wife and child. As with most horror stories, things don't quite go to plan......
Stephen King is a master storyteller and this book contains some real top-notch writing. It won't be everyone's cup of tea because if you are not a fan of psychological horror stories then you may not completely buy into The Shining. That said, this really is a damn good read. Mr King does occasionally over-cook his narrative and is guilty of filling the pages with more descriptive passages that some folk may find to be strictly necessary. But eh, overall, I think this is a great work of fiction and I absolutely loved the time I spent with it. Now I'm ready for Doctor Sleep!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 8 July 2014
A bad temper puts Jack Torrence out of his teaching job. Lucky enough to secure the position of caretaker at the Overlook Hotel the family move there for the winter. As the snow isolates them from the rest of the world strange forces take hold.
As always, the book is better than the film. I watched the film first and whilst it was good, the book was hundreds of times better. Though not for everyone, I found the bad language in the book refreshing. It’s rare that you find something raw and visceral, since books so often dress up things in floral language.
One of the things I found most interesting was the portrayal of alcoholism. Jack thinks about alcohol all the time and it really shows how strong you have to be to resist it. The hotel preys on weakness and perhaps if it were not for this weakness the violence would not have happened. I don’t feel this important factor is shown clearly enough in the film.
I am not at all a fan of the supernatural genre. I like my realism and in terms of horror I’m not scared at all by ghost stories or things that go bump in the night. Stephen King does something remarkable, not only did I not completely hate it but it’s taught to me to be a little more open to other genres. I’m looking forward to reading more of his work.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 13 October 2014
After finally getting round to reading The Shining, I can’t believe it has taken me so long! A lot has been made about this being one of the scariest books ever, I remember the “Friends” episode in particular where Joey has put it in the freezer because he is so scared, so I think I’d put it off when I was younger and read lots of his other books because I thought it would be too scary. Can’t believe I waited so long now! I guess the scare factor in books is relative to the people reading it because although I found parts of it quite sinister and I was desperately hoping the characters would be okay, I didn’t find it so scary I had to stop reading or anything.
The characterisation in “The Shining” is brilliant. We see glimpses of Jack Torrance’s past and this builds a picture of this quite normal man who is struggling with Alcoholism and the memories of his violent father. I think this makes his descent into madness at the hands of The Overlook hotel all the more chilling. At the start of the book he is desperate to make a fresh start, get his play finished and keep away from alcohol. This is a stark contrast to the Jack Torrance we meet at the end of the book.
When we first meet Wendy Torrance she comes across as a fairly weak woman who has gone from being dominated by her Mother to being dominated by her husband. She loves her son desperately but still stays with Jack after he breaks Danny’s arm in an alcohol fuelled rage. By the end of the book she is ready to fight to keep her son safe, whatever the hotel throws at them.
I found Danny Torrance to be a really interesting character; as such I’m looking forward to starting “Doctor Sleep” to find out what has happened to him since “The Shining”. He is highly psychic and it seems that the psychic phenomena that had already been going on at The Overlook is sent into overdrive by Danny’s presence. At only 6 years old in “The Shining” it will be interesting to see how these events have shaped his adult life and how he has dealt with everything that happen, if at all. There is also the spectre of alcoholism and the fact that it is often a hereditary condition. Will Danny also be struggling with alcohol dependence like his Father and Grandfather before him?
I really enjoyed “The Shining” and would definitely recommend it to anyone who likes the thriller/horror genre. I wouldn’t say it’s a straight out horror, there isn’t lots in the way of blood and gore, its more the sinister build up that make the book as creepy as it is.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
The Shining is the fourth novel by popular American author, Stephen King. Unemployed professor of literature and recovering alcoholic, Jack Torrance takes a job as winter caretaker of the Overlook Hotel in the mountains of Colorado. His wife, Wendy is hopeful he can conquer his demons during their half year in the mountains and get on with his writing. His five year old son, Daniel, is plagued by pre-cognitive visions that seem to be facilitated by his imaginary friend, Tony; they are often pleasant but sometimes uncomfortable and occasionally downright terrifying. When the family arrives at the Overlook, the cook, Dick Hallorann takes Daniel aside and tells him he “shines”, and gives him some welcome reassurance and advice. The Overlook hotel has links to underworld characters and has been the scene of murders, suicides and gangland-style executions. Danny senses in the Overlook a certain malevolence, a certain power, and feels the presence of past victims. After some months of almost idyllic existence, the hotel and the Torrance family are cut off from the town of Sidewinder by heavy snowfalls and impassable roads. And then the hotel begins to exert its influence on Jack and his family. Or is it just an alcoholic succumbing to cabin fever? King expertly portrays alcoholism and the descent into psychosis, and gives the reader characters of some complexity who find themselves rushing headlong into a heart-stopping climax. With Danny’s narration, King uses wordplay to highlight the ambiguity of spoken English. Readers who have seen the 1980 Kubrick movie (which departs markedly from the book and disappointed King) will picture Jack Nicholson as Torrance (despite his lack of blonde hair). King once again proves he is a master story-teller, as readers who make the effort to reread this as a prequel to Doctor Sleep will discover afresh. A bestseller that is a brilliant read.
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on 4 August 2001
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.