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A Stir of Echoes
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A Stir of Echoes

3.88 of 5 stars 3.88  ·  rating details  ·  6,624 ratings  ·  302 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

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Delee
I want you to pretend you're in a theater, an enormous theater. You're sitting near the front....

 photo e50ac15c-5cc8-44f8-81e1-4400a70ca2b9_zpse1d3dac3.jpg

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

 photo 7de28f9e-ebd7-4ead-bd72-73b078c86d39_zps63e8b3b6.jpg

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, looking, loooooking at that
...more
Trudi
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
...more
Maciek
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
...more
Becky
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
...more
Mark
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
...more
Bill  Kerwin

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
...more
Dan Schwent
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.
Lou
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
...more
Megan
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
Bill
Apr 26, 2013 Bill rated it 3 of 5 stars
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
...more
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
...more
Mark
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
Pamela
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
...more
Debra
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.
Laura
Meh....it 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!
Jeremy
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.
Meghann Galbichka
This book was creep-a-riffic. I haven't read a book that has actually scared me in a long time, and this one did. Richard Matheson was a fantastic writer.
Michael
Eine in Inhalt und Aufbau klassische Vintage-SciFi-Horror-Story. Einige Längen in der Mitte des Romans hätte Matheson vielleicht kürzen können, aber nach meiner Einschätzung liegt die Stärke des Romans ohnehin nicht im Plot. Eigentlich ist der Roman mehr ein erstaunter Ausruf, den Matheson an den Leser richtet:
Stelle dir vor, es wäre möglich! Es wäre möglich, dass jemand als Medium Blicke in die Zukunft werfen kann, dass jemand Gedanken oder wenigstens Gedankenfetzen anderer Menschen auffangen
...more
Carmaletta Hilton
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dan
Jun 25, 2009 Dan rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Fans of Stephen King
A Stir of Echoes was the first book by Richard Matheson I have read. Being a fan of the movie, I thought I'd give the book a try, since it fit the criteria of a reading challenge selection I am participating in. While the 1999 movie adaption was very loosely based off of the book, I still found it an immensely enjoyable read. The differences are vast; from location, to the names of characters, to even some secondary plot details, there is a notable difference between the two. Some who have seen ...more
Andrea Blythe
During a party one night, Tom Wallace agrees to be hypnotized. But what was supposed to just be a party trick, actually opens a door in his mind, granting him telepathic abilities. He begins to see into the dark, frightening corners of his neighbors otherwise outwardly safe and orderly lives. As his headaches grow along with his perception and his behavior becomes more erratic, his new gifts begin to threaten the stability of his own family, while some darker secret lies just beneath the surface ...more
Fernando
Para ser justos se merece 2 estrellas y media. La historia es buena, pero no me gusta el desarrollo. La tensión entre el personaje principal y su mujer no está bien fundamentada y la dinámica entre ellos no es del todo creíble. En varios momentos del libro el protagonista teme que su mujer piense que está loco y él mismo duda de su salud mental, pero es algo que te cuentan sin transmitírtelo. No compartes los miedos del personaje ni te pones en su lugar. Vi la adaptación al cine hace años y me e ...more
Debbie
This book isn't a traditional horror novel but it does have a ghost and some horrifying moments.[return][return]Tom Wallace gets hypnotized one night and in the aftermath finds himself open to unexplained psychic phenomena. He has become something of a medium; receiving visits from a ghost and experiencing moments of predictive ability. He ultimately becomes fixated on learning why the ghost is visiting him. Along the way he has to deal with his wife's fear of him and concerns that this new abil ...more
Paul
A Stir of Echoes is not Matheson’s best work by far, but it is a quick and entertaining read. I managed to start and finish it on a three hour plane ride; there’s nothing deep and powerful about it, but also nothing to slog you down. The premise is simple enough: a man allows himself to be hypnotized by his brother-in-law and a post-hypnotic suggestion gives him psychic powers that essentially boil down to premonitions and the ability to communicate with something that may or may not be a ghost ...more
JS Found
A Stir of Echoes is like a supernatural version of Richard Yates' Revolutionary Road, or a paranormal Mad Men or Breaking Bad. I don't mean the married couple are unhappy like in the Yates book--they're very happy, loving each other deeply and loving the child they have and the baby on the way. But Matheson is writing about suburban angst, and if its not the hero's and his wife's, it's about the other people who live right next door. Though in the psychic and telekinetic powers he gives to his h ...more
Steven
A Stir of Echoes by Richard Matheson was interesting to listen to on the way to and from work. This book reminded me of Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment, though there was a lot more punishment in the listening. There is so much pointless meandering, psychological wishy-washing that it is frequently ridiculous.

That said, the story line was interesting. How does a relatively normal human being behave when he abruptly becomes a telepathic medium? What about those people that are close to him, say
...more
Alondra
Jun 14, 2012 Alondra rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Matheson fans
Another Matheson classic. Different than the movie and better. Nice little twists and turns to keep the pages turning as well.

Makes you wonder what is happening in your own neighborhood. What secrets may come? Are we all so innocent?

I wondered why the wife had so much fear of this. I understand that no one wants their minds read, but to lose faith so quickly. For better AND worse; regardless of outstanding circumstances. Yes, she was pregnant; and no force is stronger than a mothers love in pr
...more
David Jordan
An early effort by Matheson (published in 1958) and fairly pedestrian in prose style, but it raises some interesting questions. What if we could read other people's true thoughts and emotions, the ones that snake around behind the faces of relatives, neighbors, co-workers? Would that be a good thing? Tom Wallace thinks maybe so when he becomes telepathic after being hypnotized at a party. But the more he sees inside other minds, the more frightened and miserable he grows as he finds himself deal ...more
Corey
Richard Matheson is not a great prose stylist (though he is much better than his acolytes Stephen King and Dean Koontz) but he tells a mean story, and without all the fussiness that Mr. King over-complicates his stories with. This is not as good as Matheson's best book, 'The Incredible Shrinking Man,' but it is swift and fun (and differs greatly from the movie made from it).
Alexandra
Not thrilled with this one. I remember the movie to be a lot scarier. The book is a lot different from the movie though. So even if you see the movie first, you won't really be spoiled.

A Stir of Echoes was published in 1958, which makes it a little dated and quaint. i.e; the baby-sitter only charged 50 cents an hour, the married couples were in their early twenties with babies on the way and the husbands working at the local aircraft plant to support their stay at home wives, the neighbors borro
...more
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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
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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.” 14 likes
“Everyone has a secret place in his mind. Otherwise relationships would be impossible.” 1 likes
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