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A Stir of Echoes

3.89  ·  Rating Details ·  9,240 Ratings  ·  444 Reviews
Tom Wallace lived an ordinary life, until a chance event awakened psychic abilities he never knew he possessed. Now he's hearing the private thoughts of the people around him-and learning shocking secrets he never wanted to know. But as Tom's existence becomes a waking nightmare, even greater jolts are in store as he becomes the unwilling recipient of a compelling message ...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published July 1st 2004 by Tor Books (first published 1958)
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Community Reviews

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I want you to pretend you're in a theater, an enormous theater. You're sitting near the front....

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It is completely black inside. the walls are dark velvet, the floors are covered with dark velvet rugs. It's black inside, absolutely black...

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Except for one thing. In the whooooole pitch-black theater there's only one thing you can see. The letters on the screen. S-L-E-E-P. You're very comfortable. Veeeery comfortable. You are just sitting there and looking at the screen, lo
Bill  Kerwin
Aug 21, 2009 Bill Kerwin rated it liked it

An enjoyable novel about a man hypnotized at a party who then begins to exhibit psychic powers--including the recurrent appearances of a woman who may or may not be a ghost.

Matheson--author of I am Legend, numerous classic creepy short stories and many of the best Twilight Zone episodes--has written better things, but this still kept my interest.

I am a fan of the movie with Kevin Bacon, and was surprised by how much different the atmosphere and setting is in this, the original. The movie is se
Richard Matheson (1926 - 2013)

Thanks for the stories.

Before I say anything about this classic bit of horror, I want to put a plug in for the film adaptation. Stir of Echoes starring Kevin Bacon is a truly terrifying ghost story. I always felt it didn't get the attention it deserved because The Sixth Sense was released earlier the same year and stole all the thunder (for the record, I think Stir of Echoes is the better movie). If you haven't seen it I highly recommend that you do. You won't even
Dec 13, 2011 Lyn rated it liked it
Richard Matheson has quickly become one of my favorites, he is a master of his genre.

This is about psychic powers and telepathy and all rolled up into a classic ghost story. Published in 1958, it is refreshing to read a minimalistic work in an age of sensationalism and graphic detail. It is obvious how influential he has been to generations of writers after him, I think Stephen King must have put this book down and kept it close before writing The Dead Zone.

Brilliantly done. Quite a bit different from the amazing movie, with Kevin Bacon. Still, completely enjoyable, as it is a solid murder mystery with supernatural overtones that fair very well, even though it was written originally in 1958.
The audiobook was narrated very, very well by Scott Brick.
Jul 03, 2013 Mark rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dammit, Matheson, what the hell was that?? That has to be one of the all-time worst cop-out endings. You're better than that, man.

See, Matheson and I have history. This is the first novel of his I've read, but still, we have history. Matheson was my very first favorite author. And he was without my even knowing it. I grew up on Twilight Zone, the repeats and the 80s movie and redo, and my Mom, goodness love her, was cool enough to say, "You would love this," when I was no more than six. We watc
First publishes in 1958, A Stir of Echoes is Richard Matheson's third major work, the first two being the classic I Am Legend which guaranteed his literary immmortality, and The Incredible Shrinking Man, the classic horror novel with a man racing against literally increasing odds.

The basic plot crux is very simple and the storyline doesn't deviate much from it: Tom Wallace agrees to undergo a hypnosis, as he believes he won't be affected by it. As it usually turns out in novels of the uncanny th
I love reading Richard Matheson's stories. Even if the story itself isn't quite to my taste, and not everything he writes is, the writing is so enjoyable to read. I don't know what it is about it that makes it so, but it's just so accessible and straightforward and unassuming, and it just hooks me right from the start. I love it.

I've seen the movie based on this book, before I knew it was a book, and before I'd ever read anything of Matheson's, and I enjoyed the movie. That's really the best wa
Dan Schwent
Feb 06, 2008 Dan Schwent rated it really liked it
Shelves: matheson
Matheson rarely fails to impress. Stir of Echoes is one of his novels that grabs you in the first couple of pages and holds your attention. All meat, no filler.
Dec 16, 2015 Sandy rated it really liked it
Richard Matheson is an author who never seems to let me down. The first two novels that I read by the man, "I Am Legend" (1954) and "The Shrinking Man" (1956), are superb and highly original sci-fi creations, and both have been memorably filmed. (I seem to be in the distinct minority in preferring the 1964 U.S.-Italian coproduction "The Last Man on Earth," starring Vincent Price, over 1971's "The Omega Man," featuring Charlton Heston, although neither quite does justice to the "I Am Legend" orig ...more
Apr 15, 2013 Bill rated it liked it
Shelves: horror
This was pretty good. A very quick read about a guy who, after becoming hypnotized at a party, begins to experince some paranormal abilities.

Matheson can tell a story, that's for sure, and since this one is told mostly via dialogue and first person narrative, you're finished before you know it.
I don't really have a whole lot more to say about it because
a) I'm really busy, and
b) yeah, it's Matheson, so if you like him you'll like this.

So, a short review for a 200 pager. I liked it. Recommende
Jason Parent
Jul 15, 2013 Jason Parent rated it it was amazing
This is one of my faves. Thinking about a re-read.
Nov 24, 2010 Lou rated it it was amazing
A evening with friends and loved ones having fun playing games could take a turn for the worse, one person ends up in un-treaded waters and a countdown commence as the fabric around you peels away bit by bit.
Knowing more than the average man can be a deadly weapon a torment if you have precognition's of something bad and it turns out exactly as you envisioned. Well that the predicament for one man in this story.
As they say ignorance is bliss.
Matheson is a master when it comes to gripping you and
Richard Matheson filled A Stir of Echoes with so much potential, but ultimately the book never delivered. There is a lot of creepy and introspective paranormal stuff. And an interesting cast of characters. Where Matheson failed is by focusing on the abnormal happenings surrounding main character Tom, and not going into quite as much detail with the other characters. When everything is said and done, this story really isn't about Tom, but throughout much of the book, we are led to believe it is. ...more
Sep 24, 2015 George rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror
Μ'έναν εντελώς τυχαίο τρόπο (αγγελία σε ομάδα στο Facebook), έπεσε στα χέρια μου αυτό το κλασικό βιβλίο τρόμου, ενός από τους καλύτερους συγγραφείς του είδους και αγαπημένου του Στίβεν Κινγκ. Αυτό είναι το τρίτο βιβλίο του Ρίτσαρντ Μάθεσον που διαβάζω, μετά τα εξαιρετικά "Ζωντανός θρύλος" και "Το στοίχειωμα", και αυτό με την σειρά του μου άφησε πολύ καλές εντυπώσεις.

Ο αφηγητής της ιστορίας μας, Τομ Γουάλας, ευτυχισμένος οικογενειάρχης και εργαζόμενος, ένα βράδυ υπνωτίστηκε από τον αδερφό της γυν
Lady of the Lake
I'm thinking that in 1958 when this book was originally published this was very creepy amd very scary. However in 2010 when we have the amount of HORROR thrown at us in the media, film and the written word today, it was much less so. However, it does give a nice Thrill and something
To think about! I certainly would never let anyone hypnotize me at a casual party to liven things up!! The human mind is not to be messed with by amatures! This was a super fast read at 224 pages but those
pages did p
Troy Blackford
Oct 16, 2015 Troy Blackford rated it it was amazing
A masterful work of telekinetic and supernatural horror from one of the top masters in the field, the late Richard Matheson. This 1958, tight-as-a-drum novel is, like most of Matheson's work, taut and right to the point, able to be read in a single feverish sitting. Equal parts mystery, suspense novel, and outright horror, its occasionally slightly jarring 1958's setting doesn't obliterate the feeling that this story is a timeless one, only adds a few touches of sociology to a great tale. Absolu ...more
Kathy Worrell  ツ
Oct 14, 2015 Kathy Worrell ツ rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
Audiobook read by Scott Brick

Scott Brick gets 5 stars for narration. He reads this novel so well, it seems like he becomes the characters. (I might be scared if I was his wife.)

I enjoy a good, spooky, novel and A Stir of Echoes was just that.....spoo-ooo-ky!

I did have a "scooby-doo moment" near the end of the story. I think I heard:

"I would have gotten away with it, too, if it wasn't for you meddling kids."

Something like that, anyway.
Jun 25, 2013 Mark rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
Tom Wallace is an office-worker everyman, newly moved into a rented house on Tulley Street in Hawthorne with his heavily-pregnant wife Anne and their young son Richard. The Sentas’ live on one side - they own Tom’s house - and aren’t particularly nice, whilst Elsie and Ron on the other side are perhaps a little too over-familiar. Across the road live Frank and Elizabeth Wanamaker - he’s an arse of a man, especially to his heavily pregnant wife. At the start of the book, Anne’s brother Phil comes ...more
Oct 14, 2016 Fiona rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library-books
Interesting story. Even more interesting to know that Matheson inspired Stephen King. It's quite well written, and has a Dean Koontz/Richard Laymon feel to it. Creepy story about what happens when a man starts having visions of the future, and of a terrifying female presence in his house. Soon his life, work and marriage is on the line.
Jul 09, 2008 Jeremy rated it it was ok
See the movie that is loosely based on the book (starring Kevin Bacon). It is much edgier and more effective than the book. Even if you like Matheson (which I do...I think...), this book comes across as being quaint (written in the '50s) and predictable.
Sep 30, 2013 Laura rated it it was ok was ok, but not great. The more I think about this book, the less I liked it. It was pretty boring, and the whole Dorothy/kidnapping thing was weird. Why wouldn't they call the police? I don't see the hype over this book. I would like to see the movie though!
Rebecca McNutt
May 20, 2015 Rebecca McNutt rated it really liked it
Very similar to the Tales from the Darkside episode "The Enormous Radio", in which some secrets are better left in the dark. Definitely a chilling and unforgettable little story that every horror fan should read, I highly recommend it.
Stephen Arvidson
Richard Matheson, author of such well-known titles as I Am Legend and The Incredible Shrinking Man, is a masterful storyteller and his mad skillz are on full display in this 1958 suspense piece titled A Stir of Echoes, which takes its name from the “Chambers of Imagery,” a haunting poem by Archibald MacLeish— “A music and an eerie faint carouse, And stir of echoes down the creaking floor.”

27-year-old Tom Wallace is an everyday blue-collar family man with a wife, a son, and another baby on the wa
Nov 06, 2016 William rated it it was amazing
The perfect suburban ghost story. Matheson always did have a way with blending the mundane job of living a working life with the supernatural forces that might swirl just beyond perception and will rush in given a chance. His work was consistently at the top of the field and A STIR OF ECHOES is no exception.

It's the simplest of simple plots. A working man gets hypnotized, hypnotist accidently opens the man's mind to the great beyond, and man starts to experience the wider world of the weird beyo
Matheson is the true heir to Poe and Woolrich; hard to think of any writer that does paranoia better. After all, he wrote 16 episodes of The Twilight Zone, plus he adapted his short story "Duel" into the screenplay for the Steven Speilberg movie. Stir of Echoes is one of my favorite movies but it really bears little resemblance to Matheson's novel on which it was based. Sadly, I think the screenplay and movie were better. The novel, though, is still quite good. Its main defect is that too much o ...more
Mar 08, 2011 Pamela rated it really liked it
If you think you know all there is to know about this because you've seen the movie, think again. Compared to the book, the movie is nothing more than a bit of fluff. (Or, as I heard one person say: Comparing the movie to the book is like comparing taking a sip of tap water to downing an entire bottle of whiskey in one go.)

Matheson doesn't just give us a peek into Tom Wallace's mind, he invites us in then slams and locks the door after us.

Trust me--inside Wallace's mind is not a very nice place
Mar 28, 2011 Debra rated it really liked it
Stephen King recommended author and book.

Book noted as "important to the genre we have been discussing" from Danse Macabre, published in 1981. Author discussed in chapter 9.

8/8/12 A very good page-turner by this notable author. Quite suspenseful and intense. Definitely a must for horror/supernatural fiction fans.
Bri Fidelity
Takes a couple of turns for the ludicrous in the final act, and the portrayal of women I'm not even going to think about because this is my mother's book and I'd just have to buy her another copy if this one ends up in the bin or in the litterbox or hanging from a tree.

But three stars for the good bits.
May 08, 2012 Nate rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
I love me some Matheson, and A Stir of Echoes did not disappoint. Matheson has a style all his own, with clever tropes and expert turns of phrase. The narration by Scott Brick was excellent and ideally suited to the story. I would recommend to any fans of Matheson.
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Born in Allendale, New Jersey to Norwegian immigrant parents, Matheson was raised in Brooklyn and graduated from Brooklyn Technical High School in 1943. He then entered the military and spent World War II as an infantry soldier. In 1949 he earned his bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and moved to California in 1951. He married in 1952 and has four children, three of w ...more
More about Richard Matheson...

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“Everyone has something to hide. And if they couldn't hide it the world would be in a lot worse mess than it is.” 19 likes
“Everyone has a secret place in his mind. Otherwise relationships would be impossible.” 3 likes
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