Karl Ruben's Reviews > The Long Walk

The Long Walk by Stephen King
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Mar 02, 2009

it was amazing
bookshelves: reviewed
Read from February 24 to 28, 2009

It didn't strike me quite as hard as the first Bachman book, Rage did, but The Long Walk is still a blinder of a book, containing much of the same kind of pure, distilled adolescent energy its predecessor was brimming with. In a way, it's the mirror image of the previous book I read, but whereas The Plague was more or less detached in the way it portrayed people constantly on the brink of death, TLW never lets you forget that it's a story about young men walking, walking, walking to their doom. Thankfully, King effortless way of telling this story kept its relentless pace from becoming so harrowing that I had to put the book down. I wouldn't call this horror in the classical sense, but if I'm not remembering John Clute's attempts to redefine the requirements or signs of the horror genre wrongly, I think it would fit his criteria. That is, TLW uses a extraordinary setting and plot to scare or jolt the reader out of their normal viewpoint on life - or in this case, death. You're supposed to be unnerved by the fact that the horror makes you see that the world (or an aspect of it) isn't what you previously thought it was. And The Long Walk certainly did that for me.
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Comments (showing 1-50 of 66) (66 new)


Noah Mcclintock Excellent review, Karl.


Karl Ruben Thank you, Noah!


Noah Mcclintock Your welcome, Karl.


Noah Mcclintock The Long Walk is a great book. Probably my favorite of the Bachman books.


Karl Ruben It's pretty great, yeah. I'm still going to go for Rage, because of the visceral experience of it, but they're two sides of the same coin, really. Too bad they've both been marginalised in King's bibliography; that Rage is out of print seems to me a gross misjudgment on King's part (it's his prerogative, of course).


Noah Mcclintock I thought all of the Bachman books were good. It is quite unfortunate that he allowed Rage to go out of print. My favorite is either The Long Walk or Thinner.


Karl Ruben I've not read Thinner yet, but what I love about the first four is how focused they are. Not many authors would manage to retain the breathless quality of a tight short story or novella at novel length, but King does it again and again with the Bachman books.


Noah Mcclintock You have that right. Thinner was the Bachman book that seemed more like a Stephen King book and that's how his cover was blown by a store clerk who noticed similarities in their writing styles. I actually thought Thinner was different then his other books because it moved faster and the character development wasn't focused on. Instead it focused on the plot.


Karl Ruben That's really interesting about Thinner blowing Bachman's cover. I definitely need to get to that one soon!


message 10: by Noah (new) - rated it 5 stars

Noah Mcclintock Stephen King was actually planning on having his book Misery be a Bachman book but after that store clerk blew his cover he just published it under his own name.


message 11: by Noah (new) - rated it 5 stars

Noah Mcclintock Very good book by the way.


Karl Ruben I don't doubt it; it's safely ensconced in my ever-growing pile of books-to-read. I'll get to it. Someday.


message 13: by Noah (new) - rated it 5 stars

Noah Mcclintock Thinner was a very good book in my opinion.


message 14: by Noah (new) - rated it 5 stars

Noah Mcclintock The movie of Thinner was really dumb.


Karl Ruben I'm not surprised. Even though there definitely are some good ones, isn't King kinda infamous for all the crappy adaptations of his work?


message 16: by Noah (new) - rated it 5 stars

Noah Mcclintock The Shining, The Stand and Cat's Eye are probably the only good adaptations of his books I've seen. All the other ones I've seen were forgettable.


message 17: by Noah (new) - rated it 5 stars

Noah Mcclintock Oh and Pet Sematary. I thought that was a decent Stephen King movie.


Karl Ruben I definitely agree on The Shining, and I have vague memories of catching an episode of The Stand mini and liking it (though I mainly remember having a crush on Laura San Giacomo). The other two I haven't seen, though I do remember being scared just by reading the back cover of Pet Sematary at the video store.

Have you seen Misery or The Shawshank Redemption?
The first episode of Under the Dome was extremely promising, but it became very dreadful very fast after that.


message 19: by Noah (new) - rated it 5 stars

Noah Mcclintock I forgot about The Shawshank Redemption. That was another one of the better Steohen King adaptations. That and The Green Mile.


message 20: by Noah (new) - rated it 5 stars

Noah Mcclintock I need to see Misery sometime.


message 21: by Noah (new) - rated it 5 stars

Noah Mcclintock I also need to see 1408.


message 22: by Noah (new) - rated it 5 stars

Noah Mcclintock Steohen King. Wow I totally mispeld Stephen King's name!


message 23: by Noah (new) - rated it 5 stars

Noah Mcclintock Crap! I can't ivan spell misspell!


message 24: by Noah (new) - rated it 5 stars

Noah Mcclintock I need abetter computer. All these typos!


Karl Ruben Sure, Noah. Blame the computer. ;)

In tangential news, I bought a book very favourably blurbed by King the other day; The Three by Sarah Lotz. Really looking forward to it, heard it's pretty amazing.


message 26: by Noah (new) - rated it 5 stars

Noah Mcclintock Looks interesting I might check it out sometime.


message 27: by Noah (new) - rated it 5 stars

Noah Mcclintock Where did King acknowledge this book anyway? Did he write a review for it somewhere?


Karl Ruben He has a cover blurb on the UK (?) trade paperback edition.


message 29: by Noah (new) - rated it 5 stars

Noah Mcclintock What did his review say?


message 31: by Noah (new) - rated it 5 stars

Noah Mcclintock Thanks for the link. Might have to read the book sometime.


message 32: by Noah (new) - rated it 5 stars

Noah Mcclintock Have you read it yet?


Karl Ruben Sadly no. I've been away for a couple of months, and I didn't bring any physical books with me on the trip. Now I'm back and looking right at my tower of unread books, I might just pick that one from the pile. Thanks for reminding me!


message 34: by Noah (new) - rated it 5 stars

Noah Mcclintock Your welcome. How many books do you still have to read?


Karl Ruben This many. It's a bit obscene, but it's the sort of thing that tends to happen when I get out of the habit of reading, but not of buying.


message 36: by Noah (new) - rated it 5 stars

Noah Mcclintock That's a lot of books. I only have 6 to read. But my To-Read shelf on this site is just out of control!


message 37: by Noah (new) - rated it 5 stars

Noah Mcclintock How many books is that anyway?


Karl Ruben I counted 97.


message 39: by Noah (new) - rated it 5 stars

Noah Mcclintock That's more than the number of books I own.


message 40: by Noah (new) - rated it 5 stars

Noah Mcclintock That's more than the number of books I own.


Karl Ruben And a considerable portion (a third? fourth?) of the books I own.


message 42: by Noah (new) - rated it 5 stars

Noah Mcclintock How long does it take to read that many books?


Karl Ruben Someone should really make me a bet to read all of them in year or something. Two a week isn't insurmountable for me (I read from 40 to 50 pages an hour, depending on the book), but it would take some dedication, that's for sure. You a slow or fast reader?


message 44: by Noah (new) - rated it 5 stars

Noah Mcclintock I'm not really that fast at reading. It depends on the book.


message 45: by Noah (new) - rated it 5 stars

Noah Mcclintock So if you read one book every two weeks it would take you over 4 years to read all of those. And that's why it's always a good idea to bring a book on a long car trip.


Karl Ruben That's a slightly depressing bit of math. I should really step up my reading.


message 47: by Noah (new) - rated it 5 stars

Noah Mcclintock Two weeks is usually how long it takes me to read a book. Unless its a book like The Stand. Then it takes three or four weeks.


message 48: by Noah (new) - rated it 5 stars

Noah Mcclintock How many books do you have left to read now?


message 49: by Noah (new) - rated it 5 stars

Noah Mcclintock How many books do you have left to read?


message 50: by Karl Ruben (last edited Nov 24, 2014 11:17AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Karl Ruben To my eternal shame, I believe the pile has actually grown. I blame school.


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