The Stand (The Complete and Uncut Edition) Paperback – 2 May 1991
|New from||Used from|
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
Customers who bought this item also bought
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
In 1978, science fiction writer Spider Robinson wrote a scathing review of The Stand in which he exhorted his readers to grab strangers in bookshops and beg them not to buy it.
The Stand is like that. You either love it or hate it, but you can't ignore it. Stephen King's most popular book, according to polls of his fans, is an end-of-the-world scenario: a rapidly mutating flu virus is accidentally released from a U.S. military facility and wipes out 99 and 44/100 percent of the world's population, thus setting the stage for an apocalyptic confrontation between Good and Evil.
"I love to burn things up," King says. "It's the werewolf in me, I guess.... The Stand was particularly fulfilling, because there I got a chance to scrub the whole human race, and man, it was fun! ... Much of the compulsive, driven feeling I had while I worked on The Stand came from the vicarious thrill of imagining an entire entrenched social order destroyed in one stroke."
There is much to admire in The Stand: the vivid thumbnail sketches with which King populates a whole landscape with dozens of believable characters; the deep sense of nostalgia for things left behind; the way it subverts our sense of reality by showing us a world we find familiar, then flipping it over to reveal the darkness underneath. Anyone who wants to know, or claims to know, the heart of the American experience needs to read this book. --Fiona Webster
A writer of excellence...King is one of the most fertile storytellers of the modern novel (The Sunday Times)
His work...plumbs, with unnerving accuracy, the hopes and fears of an entire nation (Observer)
As a storyteller, he is up there in the Dickens class (The Times)
Customers also shopped for
598 customer reviews
Review this product
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
The book tells the story of the end of the human race as we know it, brought about by a deadly flu strain, developed by the US military. The social science is a bit simplistic but the quality of the storytelling and character development are both excellent.
So I wondered if the book would still have that effect upon me if I re-read it in electronic form all these years later. It did. I was quickly gripped. The characters are just beautifully real. The plot is interesting, with twists a-plenty. I again ended up becoming almost addicted to the book, so much so that I finished it in four or five days, as I did the first time 20 years ago. I can't think of any other book which has had that type of effect on me.
This is the best fictional book that I've ever read, and I'm now going to read three more Stephen King books (one another re-read (Tommyknockers) which I also really liked first time, one a film that I've seen without reading the book (Dreamcatcher) and one which is totally new to me (11.22.63)).
The author has drawn up an impressive ensemble cast for this epic work with the good folk led by a good ol' boy from East Texas, a feckless musician, a naive young mother-to-be, an aging academic and a deaf-mute drifter, all guided by seemingly messianic 108 year old woman. The dark side is mob of mostly not so bad types but under the thumb of a demonic terror who haunts the dreams of the survivors, aided by a reluctantly cannibalistic thief and murderer and an insane arsonist with an eye for the spectacular. Somewhere in between there are people disaffected with their lot and shift between the two sides. As such it's a story of hope, betrayal, friendship, love, loss and jealousy against the backdrop of seemingly deserted world where anything can happen as everything is just lying around waiting to be picked up, including food, booze, resources, houses, cars, toys, guns, atom bombs, etc. It's really rather good.
Stephen King effectively gives his cast the chance to wipe the slate clean and some characters do exactly seek to do that, but they tend to be the ones who turn to the dark side, whereas the ones who carry the past with them and acknowledge their failings and seek to atone for them are the ones who try to do the right thing. The male characters are better drawn than the female ones on the whole and I have to say that the female characters were a bit of a drag at times, but for the most part the characters are the real heart of this book. The empty sandbox world with seemingly familiar things in it presents as being threatening and full of dread and uncertainty. It also dawns on the reader that there's a lot of bad stuff out there which could do enormous harm in the wrong hands and I found myself jumping ahead as to what the "bad side" might be up to and you can immediately see how cold war paranoia is so addictive and unsettling.
The Stand is not a flawless novel by any means. The ease with which the overwhelming majority of the survivors seem to get over the loss of loved ones and society in general is a tad too easy, the female characters are fairly weak, outside of America nothing is mentioned of the outside world, there are only a very small number of children mentioned, etc. The story is also dated in that it was written pre-internet and modern social networking so the big plague cover-up would be harder to achieve now. That said, it remains a truly great story that involves the reader on an emotional and spiritual level as well as making for a mighty fine adventure story. If you only read one Stephen King book then let this be the one, so read it! M-O-O-N, that spells read it, laws yes!