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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Poetic horror
I'm really surprised this book has just three stars on Amazon. I think it's one of King's best. Lisey's Story for me was a poignant novel about love and obsession with fantasy elements subtle enough to enthrall. Throughout the plot King hints at a world just behind our own, and I felt this was an almost perfect example of magic realism, a genre I don't easily enjoy...
Published on 11 May 2012 by Jack Heslop

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Horrific
As the five-star reviewers indicate, different people take away different things from the story, so be sure to read other reviews before deciding whether or not to give this book a go.

***Doesn't contain spoilers***

The story has some merit. The main character of this book is Lisey, a widow of a bestselling horror author, Scott. The story narrates...
Published 4 months ago by Pen Name


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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Poetic horror, 11 May 2012
By 
Jack Heslop - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Lisey's Story (Paperback)
I'm really surprised this book has just three stars on Amazon. I think it's one of King's best. Lisey's Story for me was a poignant novel about love and obsession with fantasy elements subtle enough to enthrall. Throughout the plot King hints at a world just behind our own, and I felt this was an almost perfect example of magic realism, a genre I don't easily enjoy.
The title Lisey's Story is telling. As in Daphne DuMaurier's Rebecca the character who drives the plot, horror novelist Scott Landon, is dead, and the true hero is his widow Lisey, who must escape the legacy of her husband's art. He drew his inspiration literally from another world. One haunted by a terrifying entity. There's also a human antagonist in the shape of an obsessed fan seeking Scott's papers, who's effective because he isn't overused.
I guess one could argue that the book is too long. I think at one point it spends over ten pages, dotted with lengthy flashbacks, covering what can't be more than several seconds in the main story. But unlike other King stories the length didn't bother me because everything written in some way contributes to a better understanding of either the characters or the plot. Lisey and her sisters are well-rounded, realistic people. Scott seems like a profoundly tortured soul who just wanted to love his wife and saw writing as necessary bloodletting.
This in my opinion is one of King's most mature, poetic horror novels, putting him on a par with the greatest storytellers history has known.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Horrific, 25 Mar 2014
This review is from: Lisey's Story (Paperback)
As the five-star reviewers indicate, different people take away different things from the story, so be sure to read other reviews before deciding whether or not to give this book a go.

***Doesn't contain spoilers***

The story has some merit. The main character of this book is Lisey, a widow of a bestselling horror author, Scott. The story narrates her journey of dealing with his death, which includes her tidying up his domestic workplace which brings up a lot of memories. A character named Jim Dooley starts threatening her so she'll give up Scott's old manuscripts, and he adds the suspense of time running out. Lisey's sisters feel genuine, and we can empathize with the added difficulty Amanda's situation brings, forcing Lisey to juggle several issues and looking beyond her own troubles. Lisey and Scott shared their own language, as couples tend to do, and this adds to the realism... at first. At one point the story tackles domestic violence (as well as tortured souls and self-mutilation) from an interesting angle, and its metaphor for creativity sort of works.

Detracting from a pretty interesting set-up (how will she deal with her loss), are many overly used King-isms. The book's over-reliance on the secret language simply became too 'smucking' much for me. You don't need to be reminded every page. The conversations that Lisey has in her head don't seem in any way genuine. For instance, when she's just about reaching a traumatic memory she has blocked away, she will hear a voice saying "No Lisey, don't Lisey"... She has too many conversations in her head, in many different voices, and this is a King-ism that's increasingly bothering me.

Now, it's not just a love story. It's also supernatural, with another world called Boo'ya Moon (...) existing parallel to ours, where something called "the Long Boy, the thing with the endless piebald side" roams. This sentence about the Long Boy is also overused, and loses its strength rapidly (much like "The sparrows are coming" in The Dark Half). Again, some things sort of work in this book, like how two characters metaphorically retreat to their own world when their father becomes abusive, but the fact that the book relies on this being a physical place where they magically disappear to doesn't really work for me. The book is way too long for what happens and is disappointing, overall. Slow-burners are fine (e.g. The Dead Zone), but only if the story merits a slow build up. This one doesn't.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars WHO! WHAT! WHEN! WHERE!, 18 April 2013
This review is from: Lisey's Story (Hardcover)
This story jumps all over the place more times than a flea on a dog's back.For example this is the plot of three chapters in the book that run one after the other. Lisey and her sister Darla are in bedroom looking after there older sister Amanda who has a mental health problem and badly carved her self up and they are waiting to take her to greenbanks recovery hospital The next chapter they are in a cafe in Castle Rock drinking coffee and talking about Amanda and how putting Amanda in Greenbanks was the right thing.Then the next chapter Lisey and Darla are back at Greenbanks hospital talking about finding a hotel to stay in because it's a long way back to Castle Rock So you can see it's bit confusing I read just a third of this book and then I gave up because I got frustrated because there was no consistency within the story no a good Stephen King story
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20 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One of King's finest?, 16 Oct 2006
By 
Mr. Christopher Lancaster "clanca1234" - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Lisey's Story (Hardcover)
At first I had reservations about Lisey's story. Those others of King's books told from a female perspective (Gerald's Game, Dolores Claiborne, Rose Madder) are amongst my least favourite of his novels. Thus, I was prepared to be disappointed - and, initially, I was.

The story is told as two narrative threads - firstly, in the present day, secondly as a series of memories from the heroine of the story - Lisey Landon, wife of the deceased author Scott Landon. Scott Landon who had troubles of his own - many of which seem to mirror King in real life.

Ultimately, however, one starts to care about the characters, and age and near-death has certainly not dulled King's ability to describe the minutiae of life in such absorbing detail. By the end of the story, the characters - and the portrayal of the twenty-five year marriage - between Scott and Lisey seemed real, and the feelings - although not the events - described could mirror any long marriage.

There are also enough references to others of Kings works to keep the hardened fan happy. Deputies Ridgewick and Clutterbuck from Needful Things make appearances, the Territories are never far away, and there's also mention of a little place called Shooters Knob, Tennessee.

If there is a downside - and why I haven't given five stars for this review - it is because there is nothing entirely new here. There are shades of Rose Madder, The Talisman and at least one of the stories in Four Past Midnight... but King, at his literary best, is still the best around. Despite his so-called retirement after his near-fatal accident, King seems as prolific as ever and, with other books apparently in the pipeline, I hope that they are as enjoyable as this.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 'Reality is Ralph', 25 Nov 2006
This review is from: Lisey's Story (Hardcover)
This book is full of amazing literary gems, more so than you'd usually expect from a SK work. However, what it boasts in its gilded language it lacks in pace. Granted it involves realistic, endearing charcters who become engraved upon our conscious mind, even hours after putting the book down, but Sk takes a sharp turn here toward that hazy concept of literary fiction; the concept he so vehemently believes is the art of ignoring the fundamental gift of a book; story. Although this book contains plots and a developing story, it does take a quite substantial amount of pages before we can actually become engaged and interested. Now in saying that I'm not comparing this with earlier works and rating it accordingly, as a lot of people are doing. I'm rating it based on the enjoyment I got from it, and I was torn between four and five stars. I gave it four in the end because of its slow start. All in all, a brilliant piece from one of the greatest storytellers known.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars There's no pleasing some people...., 13 Mar 2007
This review is from: Lisey's Story (Hardcover)
Having read some of the reviews below I don't really understand what these self-styled fans expect - Stephen King's earlier work is almost like that of a different author, but surely that's a compliment? People say things like "Stephen King's earlier work is better so read The Shining". That's a strange statement to make about an author whose career has spanned over thirty years - how odd it would be if he was still churning out work in the same style.

Everyone's approach evolves as they get older and I think that Stephen King's more recent and undeniably somewhat rambling novels such as Dreamcatcher and Insomnia are amongst the best he has written, particularly Dreamcatcher, which I often think about despite having read it years ago (the mark of a good book). Lisey's Story is in a similar vein. I don't like fantasy novels and I often feel a slight regret for Mr King's tendency to go wandering off into alternative universes but in this novel Booya Moon can almost be be viewed not as a real place but as a symbol for the safe place we have inside us, the reserve of inner strength that stops us from going mad in difficult situations and the protection that we provide for those closest to us. Someone on here stated that they wondered whether this novel was a thinly veiled apology to Tabitha King and on reading the book I felt it hard to believe that it wasn't at some level about the Kings relationship - to me that made it more interesting still. I suppose Stephen King has attracted his fair share of incunks through the years and it is interesting to acquire some understanding, although heavily diluted, into what he might make of it all. Interviewers always ask authors the hackneyed favourite "where do you get your ideas from?" In this case, I think Stephen King is giving us an answer (in fact I think that particular chestnut might even be in the book ).

And to those who criticised King's use of made up words - I can only assume none of you enjoyed A Clockwork Orange, either - you really just have to get over it. Nothing else for it. I didn't like the repetition of "smucking" and I wished he hadn't done it but that's the way the characters spoke. You might as well say you didn't like Lisey's haircut - every couple has their own sometimes nauseatingly intimate verbal short-hand - you were simply being introduced to theirs.

I would liken this to Gerald's Game (another woman in peril novel although this is less "crunchy" (as one other reviewer put it)) with a dose of the more fantastical elements of Dreamcatcher (hiding inside your own mind from an external threat) and a scattering of Bag of Bones (dead spouse as main character) to boot. The novel isn't perfect, it had some pacing issues, the characterisation (other than of Scott and Lisey) was a bit dicey and it lacked some of the intensity of the other works mentioned, but it was by turns moving, creepy and informative. If you really do enjoy the works of Stephen King and not just the stereotypical gory black-and-red cover paperbacks about child murderers like It and the perenially recommended The Shining then I would recommend it. If you are after "A Horror Novel" then this probably isn't the one for you.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Utter rubbish, 6 Jun 2010
This review is from: Lisey's Story (Paperback)
Having read most of Stephen King's books had hoped and expected to enjoy this but to be honest it's complete and utter tosh. If any unknown writer had written this drivel, I reckon every publisher would have rejected it. As I've never given up on a book, persevered until the bitter end in the hope it would get better - unfortunately it didn't. All I can say you'll either like it ??? or hate it and if after 50 pages you aren't impressed, take my advice and find something better to do.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Whatever happened to editing, 1 Oct 2007
This review is from: Lisey's Story (Paperback)
Editors are supposed to liaise with their authors and tell them the good and the bad. In this book, the word 'smucking' appears on every other page. Boring, irritating, repetitious. So was there no editor involved? Or was it simply a case of an author being too big for his editor's boots? A pity, because King is a terrific genre writer and this lack of empathy with a reader mars that reputation. I just couldn't take any more 'smuck' and dropped the book in the bin.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Time Is Immaterial, 25 Nov 2006
With more than 40 books to his credit, Stepehen King appears to have no problem churning out the words, despite having famously said four years ago that he planned to retire.

"It's like surfers and the seventh wave," he said in an August interview. "You ride six waves that are O.K, and then the seventh one is really great. But with every seventh wave, you mess up the ride, so really it's only every 49th wave that's really a great, great wave and I felt that way with `Lisey.'" Without much knowledge about the surfer world, this is a risky metaphor and the book isn't really very, very great but the reader will enjoy a very good book. Who could ask for more?

In this minimally bloody but disturbing and sorrowful love story set in rural Maine. Lisey's husband, author Scott Landon, has been dead for two years at the book's start, but his presence is felt on every page.

Since her husband Scott's sudden death, professors and collectors mad to lay their hands on his unpublished manuscripts and letters, have besieged Lisey Landon. The last of them, initially ingratiating, wound up threatening her. That decided her to prepare Scott's papers for donation to an appropriate archive. In the midst of doing that, she gets an answering machine message, then a telephone call and a written note, as well as a dead cat in the mailbox. Fortunately, she's been hearing Scott's voice lately and it leads her back to a place, another dimension, that he'd told her about but that she'd forgotten. The boy Scott and his long-dead brother went there to escape their sometimes psychopathic father to heal from many wounds.

At its heart, this is a book about a marriage and the journey through grief that a widow makes after the death of her husband. King makes bold, brilliant use of his satanic storytelling gift, his angelic ear for language, and, above all, his incomparable ability to find the epic in the ordinary. In his hands, the long, passionate union of Scott and Lisey Landon becomes a fantastic kingdom, with its own dark and stirring chronicle of heroes and monsters, its tragedies, griefs, and glories.

Because he was writing in a woman's voice, King asked Nan Graham, the editor in chief at Scribner, to edit the book instead of Chuck Verrill, King's longstanding personal editor. Graham said she helped with pacing and honing the title character. "Lisey became a little more complex and compelling," she said. And it worked.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great work from King, 26 Oct 2006
This review is from: Lisey's Story (Hardcover)
2006 has been a great year for masters of the supernatural horror genre, but until now the master of them all hasn't put in a worthwhile appearance. Well that's all changed and how!
After a mildly disappointing recent effort by his own standards with this years earlier novel "The Cell" King was being overshadowed by the likes of Scott Smith, James Herbert and Cormac McCarthy. But now he's back to show everyone who exactly who does it best. Lisey's Story has a great many of the attributes a true fan of SK would associate with his work. There's the character Scott Landon who just happens to be an author for starters!
Anyway the story follows Lisey who was the great love of Scott Landon's life before his passing two years before the book begins. Well with Scott six feet under and Lisey all alone and mourning, along comes one of King's truly evil characters in the shape of Jimmy Dooley. Anxious to get his hands on Scott's unpublished works, this man will stop at nothing. King has brought wonderful dialogue, tension, suspense and all of the trademarks from his best work to the table in Lisey's Story. Essentially a fairly uncomplex storyline, the book's strength lies as always in the immense investment the author puts into his characters. Lisey's sister Amanda talking to her in the voice of her dead husband is a delightful intricacy for example. Every single one of the characters (no matter how minor they may seem at first) is multi-layered. Every line of dialogue is carefully fashioned, and every narrative paints a picture the reader can't fail to visualise in their minds eye. There have been many of Stephen King's books of late that have been referred to as a return to form. Personally I don't think he ever really lost it. If every book is a return to form then surely the form was never lost in the first place? The competition might be getting stronger, but no one is quite ready to knock the master from his rightful place atop the mountain of horror and suspense. At 528 pages there is enough here to keep a reader occupied and enthralled for a fair few hours, days or weeks depending on whether you want to rush it or savour it. One thing's for sure though. No matter how long it takes to read, it's worth every penny.
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Lisey's Story
Lisey's Story by Stephen King (Paperback - 4 Aug 2011)
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