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Четирите карабини изтрещяха. Звукът беше оглушителен. Ехото прокънтя чак в отсрещните възвишения.

Ъгловатата, неравно подстригана глава на Кърли в миг се превърна в кърваво желе от мозък и тъкани, наоколо се разхвърчаха парченца от черепа. Това, което остана от него, се претърколи на пътя като пощенски чувал.

“Вече сме 99 - помисли си ужасен Гарати. - Деветдесет и девет бутилки бира наредени на стената и ако само една от тях падне... о, Боже... о, Боже...

383 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1979

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About the author

Richard Bachman

54 books3,780 followers
This is a Stephen King pseudonym.

At the beginning of Stephen King's career, the general view among publishers was that an author was limited to one book per year, since publishing more would be unacceptable to the public. King therefore wanted to write under another name, in order to increase his publication without over-saturating the market for the King "brand". He convinced his publisher, Signet Books, to print these novels under a pseudonym.

In his introduction to The Bachman Books, King states that adopting the nom de plume Bachman was also an attempt to make sense out of his career and try to answer the question of whether his success was due to talent or luck. He says he deliberately released the Bachman novels with as little marketing presence as possible and did his best to "load the dice against" Bachman. King concludes that he has yet to find an answer to the "talent versus luck" question, as he felt he was outed as Bachman too early to know. The Bachman book Thinner (1984) sold 28,000 copies during its initial run—and then ten times as many when it was revealed that Bachman was, in fact, King.

The pseudonym King originally selected (Gus Pillsbury) is King's maternal grandfather's name, but at the last moment King changed it to Richard Bachman. Richard is a tribute to crime author Donald E. Westlake's long-running pseudonym Richard Stark. (The surname Stark was later used in King's novel The Dark Half, in which an author's malevolent pseudonym, "George Stark", comes to life.) Bachman was inspired by Bachman–Turner Overdrive, a rock and roll band King was listening to at the time his publisher asked him to choose a pseudonym on the spot.

King provided biographical details for Bachman, initially in the "about the author" blurbs in the early novels. Known "facts" about Bachman were that he was born in New York, served a four-year stint in the Coast Guard, which he then followed with ten years in the merchant marine. Bachman finally settled down in rural central New Hampshire, where he ran a medium-sized dairy farm, writing at night. His fifth novel was dedicated to his wife, Claudia Inez Bachman, who also received credit for the bogus author photo on the book jacket. Other "facts" about the author were revealed in publicity dispatches from Bachman's publishers: the Bachmans had one child, a boy, who died in an unfortunate, Stephen King-ish type accident at the age of six, when he fell through a well and drowned. In 1982, a brain tumour was discovered near the base of Bachman's brain; tricky surgery removed it. After Bachman's true identity was revealed, later publicity dispatches (and about the author blurbs) revealed that Bachman died suddenly in late 1985 of "cancer of the pseudonym, a rare form of schizonomia".

King dedicated Bachman's early books—Rage (1977), The Long Walk (1979), Roadwork (1981), and The Running Man (1982)—to people close to him. The link between King and his shadow writer was exposed after a Washington, D.C. bookstore clerk, Steve Brown, noted similarities between the writing styles of King and Bachman. Brown located publisher's records at the Library of Congress which included a document naming King as the author of one of Bachman's novels. Brown wrote to King's publishers with a copy of the documents he had uncovered, and asked them what to do. Two weeks later, King telephoned Brown personally and suggested he write an article about how he discovered the truth, allowing himself to be interviewed. King has taken full ownership of the Bachman name on numerous occasions, as with the republication of the first four Bachman titles as The Bachman Books: Four Early Novels by Stephen King in 1985. The introduction, titled "Why I Was Bachman," details the whole Bachman/King story.

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard...

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 11,232 reviews
Profile Image for Kay.
197 reviews373 followers
February 28, 2012
If this book does not make you feel physical pain, I don't know what will.

This isn't a book about killer clowns or haunted hotels. It's not a Hunger Games type of book, despite the "game show" element of the Long Walk, nor is it a world attached to any tower, Dark or not. This book is in-your-face and physical, while simultaneously never losing that dreamy, philosophic quality of existenstial fiction.

The premise of the book is very simple: Every year, 100 boys enter a contest called the Long Walk, and the winner gets all his heart desires. Each contestant has to maintain a pace of 4 miles per hour or more, or else he gets a warning. If the boy who gets the warning can keep walking 4 miles per hour or faster for the next hour, the warning is revoked. However, if the boy collects three warnings, the next time he slows down, he's shot in the head and out of the game.

I love this book, but it's really hard to communicate what I think it's trying to relate. As I'm writing this review, I'm desperately trying to organize my jumbled thoughts. The best I could do is to divide the book into two sections that broadly describe which parts of this book stood out to me the most: The Deeper Meaning (as I see it) & How it's Done and The People.

The Deeper Meaning (as I see it) & How It's Done

The physical aspect of the journey immediately comes to the spotlight. You think you can outwalk 99 boys? Well, despite the 100% chance of someone actually doing it, you're 99% going to be the one to die either from exhaustion or carelessness.

The story's downward spiral from the optimism of the first 10 hours to the torturous hell that is the last 10 hours is slow, relentless, and ultimately certain. Some of the boys' death were incredibly cringe worthy, not because their death was bizarre or fantastic, but because it's so damn relatable. I can't relate to a woman running away from her ghost-possessed husband as much as I can imagine my legs giving out after hours of walking in my own blood and pus.

But what's extraordinary about this novel is despite its physicality and its real grit, it's very spiritual and contemplative. Ultimately, this book questions what it means to live through the eyes of one boy (and 99 others) who are walking right into the arms of death.

As the boys break down physically, their minds deconstruct past the point of madness until they become lifeless, soulless automatons. I think it's at this point, when the boys are broken beyond exhaustion, that King really questions the value of life in the midst of such suffering, and how we push beyond sanity to sustain life. King doesn't point at authority or paternal figures to place blame on how extraordinary and torturous this desire to live can be. It's the walker who chooses to go on the Long Walk that, in the end, leads to death, no matter what we do.

And life isn't nice. It won't slow down for you. Got blisters on your feet? Tough. Can't climb that hill after walking +24 hours? You'd better. Got to take a shit? If it takes longer than three warnings, you're going to die with your pants around your ankles.

It seems, in this light, that life is much crueler than death.

The People

Ah, the other great part about this book--and what makes this book so amazing!

Unlike many of King's works, this book is not atmospheric. With the exception of comments about the weather and the terrain (obvious factors to consider when walking quite literally until death), the entire narrative is solely focused on the Long Walk itself and the people who are a part of it. I was hesitant to shelf this book under "dystopian" because I don't really know if it's a dystopia. All I know is that the Major, whoever he is, seems to be in charge (how much, I don't know) and the Long Walk is something celebrated by everyone who doesn't partake in it.

All we get to know is Garraty, the main character in the story, and the other boys he meets in the Long Walk. None of these characters are forgettable. Garraty, McVries, and even Barkovitch are some of the most developed, fleshed out characters that I've had the pleasure of reading. The boys' interactions, teetering between the desire for the other to die and genuine camaraderie, were incredibly complex and touching. Whenever I read about a gunshot, I desperately hoped that it wasn't one of the boys that I knew because they were so real and likeable.

Amid the hardship and torture, something about this book was very sincere, and despite what King may have intended, characters like McVries and Garraty made the journey extraordinarily...enjoyable, if not more emotionally painful.

This book is something that will always remain in my mind. Not only was the writing engaging and visceral, but it struck a chord deep within me. Some people may not enjoy the book. It's raw, painful, and depressing. But on the other hand, it challenges, breaks, and strips bare the human soul, and ultimately the sympathy such an act invokes is an intense experience.

5.0 stars and highly recommended!
Profile Image for Emily (Books with Emily Fox).
554 reviews60.5k followers
February 8, 2019
(4.5) Every time someone asks me which Stephen King book I would recommend, I mention this one. After reading quite a few of his books, it's still my favorite!

The downward spiral into madness and overall despair were very well written. Reading this book literally made my body ache.

I do wish there were a few more details about the world, how the long walk came about, etc.
The ending wasn't fully satisfying, as seem to be most endings for SK, but I enjoyed the book anyway.
Profile Image for Matthew.
1,219 reviews8,999 followers
May 31, 2019
Updated Review - Re-read May 2019

Have you ever been watching a movie in the middle of summer that takes place in the middle of a very cold winter? Even though it is 90 degrees outside you start to feel like you need to bundle up under a blanket. That happened to me with the movie The Day After Tomorrow. I had a similar response to The Long Walk. As I read, I could feel the exhaustion and I was waiting for my legs to cramp. When you can truly feel a book deep in your muscles and bones, you know it is a good one!

My audio re-read of The Long Walk in May of 2019 marks the 3rd or 4th time I have read it. It has always been one of my favorite dystopian novels and I have enjoyed it every single time. Long before the dystopian government in America (Panem) made Katniss battle it out in the Hunger Games, Ray Garraty was dragging his feet across the hot macadam of the backroads and turnpikes of Maine. All for what you ask? The honor of participating the the oppressive government's premier event, the entertainment of the people, and the always elusive fulfilment of all your heart's desires.

A few people that I recommended this to before didn't care for it, but it is definitely one of my top five favorite of King's - and my favorite of his Bachman books. Such great storytelling, character building, suspense, and dark narrative. I have just always been so awed by this book and how much it has pulled me in over and over again and won't let go!

Read this! But, you may want to avoid it if you are getting ready for a marathon or a big hike!


This is one of my favorite King books; Suspenseful, unique, and all too possible. It is one of the few books that I have read more than once. Highly recommended for someone looking for a good place to start with King.
Profile Image for Mario the lone bookwolf.
805 reviews3,861 followers
August 30, 2020
These shoes are made for death walks and that´s where the characters go just one of these pairs of shoes is gonna walk home living too.

The true darkness comes with the historic real life examples that come to mind while and after reading this work, as it was, is, and will be a trend to kill people with death marches as special kind of psychological torture, as the victims have to watch their friends and family being killed one after another by the guards or sport fans next to the death race track.

Following the sick rules of war and human mentality, it´s a perfect method to show both the enemy and the own population who is boss, as the immense suffering and agony of the moribund are the easiest and cheapest marketing for ones´ dictatorship. Citizens will shiver and don´t dare to protest, enemy soldiers will be demotivated before even entering the country, just perfect.

With future medicine or even just normal, good medical support for the victims it could become an endless circle of pain to show who owns the country, continent, and finally the world, not to forget the irony of giving the best cures and drugs to people who are determined to die, wasting it that way, and very probably not giving free general health insurance to the own population adds another layer of perversion and a very real innuendo to the mix.

It could be used for the marketing of different products, sponsors for the victims, and a huge tourism and entertainment industry around it too, with different routes all through the evil world dominating empire, with different topics, logos, single sponsors, including all kind of Hunger Games elements, varying difficulty levels, terrains, climate zones, rules how victims can or can´t kill another or the audience and guards, if the audience can freely or for high fees take part in the fun, different groups of victims selected by age, gender, or race, for instance just young white men for groups who are into that, etc. The options, both for propaganda and deterrent, are manifold.

Did I mention casting shows or the good old fashioned random selection with stylish, music video like, bada bing, reality TV satirizing elements? Not sure how much of it is already out there in the newer fantasy and young adult genre, as I am sticking on the classic Sci-Fi and fantasy authors ( I am old) I am used to read, like the blood on the festering soles of the feet of the road runners, beep, beep.

King said about one of his novels, I am not sure if it´s this one or The running man he wrote under the pseudonym Richard Bachmann too, that he wrote it in 2 or 3 weeks (if it was already part of the dawn process of his cocaine multi drug use phase that would explain it) and the astonishing thing is that one doesn´t notice that fact, as it´s perfect, easy going entertainment others may need years to write or even never be able to write it. And he is just like „Hold my beer“, coming back soon later, „There´s your novel.“ style.

I am a bit missing the metaplot, big scene, worldbuilding element in many of Kings´ new works, where there is paranormal activity always spooking around, but nothing compared to his older novels or the Dark towers series, which is a shame, as he was brilliant at creating big pictures in combination with the amazing characters too.

Tropes show how literature is conceptualized and created and which mixture of elements makes works and genres unique:
Profile Image for Johann (jobis89).
674 reviews4,302 followers
August 21, 2018
"They walked through the rainy dark like gaunt ghosts, and Garraty didn't like to look at them. They were the walking dead."

On the first day of May each year, one hundred boys will take part in "The Long Walk". Breaking the rules results in warnings. More than three warnings and you'll get your ticket and you're out of the race.

I've felt for quite a while now that my top 10 Kings are pretty solid - before reading this I had about 13 or 14 left to read and none of them really seem like possible contenders (apart from maybe The Green Mile). In particular, I never thought a goddamn Bachman book would break the top 10 (we have a rocky relationship me and Bachman). And yet here we are! The Long Walk didn't just break into the top 10, but the top 5!

From the outset I thought The Long Walk would just be another dystopian novel (I say "another" quite loosely as surely this was one of the first?), but boy was I wrong. Below the surface, this book touches upon so many different themes and topics, like mortality, identity, friendship, and countless others. If you've followed my King journey you'll know that I'm a huge fan of the books in which King tackles death, grief, loss and mortality. That's kinda my wheelhouse. All of these rank in my top 10: Pet Sematary, Duma Key, Lisey's Story, Bag of Bones… and stories like The Woman in the Room and The Last Rung on the Ladder (both of these appear in Night Shift, which is also on the list). The Long Walk is heavy on both mortality and death.

King started writing this when he was eighteen. EIGHTEEN. And yet this will surpass many of the books I read in my lifetime. I'm not sure how much editing was done between his first draft and when it was actually released, but either way, this is a fascinating idea for a book. Only King could make the story of one hundred boys walking down a road so fucking nail-biting and engrossing. It is dripping with tension and dread. My heart would be racing in my chest - when some of those boys stumbled I would be screaming "GET UP" in my head!

So many King books have had an impact on me, but this has been one of the most impressive. When I wasn't reading it, I was thinking about it or talking about it. I almost wanted to stop strangers in the street and tell them all about the amazing book I was reading. I had to settle for telling my boyfriend all about it instead - but even then he was kinda like "So?" *shrugs*… and that's the thing. The plot sounds interesting, yes, but it's the immersive experience you have when reading this one that really sticks with you. It's the characters you get to know. It's the looming black cloud of death that hangs over these boys. I cried on countless occasions during this read - death is a very real fear for me, and when I think of what these boys must have been going through, it got to be too much at times.

As for the characters themselves, King has written them all in such a way that they're very individual, with their own personalities and traits. McVries in particular stands out for me. You get the impression he may not have been the best person in the world before this experience, but he becomes a really decent guy throughout the walk, he becomes someone for our main protagonist, Garraty, to lean on. I love McVries <3 and Stebbins too!

It's a brutal read, it's heartbreaking, there are certain scenes you'll simply never forget - but ultimately, it's worth it. It also gave me one of the worst book hangovers I've ever had, I'm so thankful for podcasts and people online who will allow me to dwell in this story that King created for a little while longer. It's emotionally exhausting and physically draining, but its monumental impact will stay with me forever.

5 stars.
Profile Image for Petrik.
688 reviews46.1k followers
March 24, 2018
To think something so dark and depressing could come out of a premise so simple.

I'll keep this brief, Richard Bachman (a pseudonym of Stephen King) has made something short and great here. The premise of the book is annually, 100 teenagers entered a competition called "The Long Walk" where they have to walk literally non-stop until only one person remaining. The winner gets to have anything they want. It's a very simple premise and it somehow made Hunger Games looks like Disneyland. The slow descent into madness and insanity are clearly shown step by step, the changes in the characters from when they began were shown gradually.

This is truly a dark tale, sometimes even depressing. The author's prose was great and descriptive. The fatigue, the pain, and the gradual changes in the characters can be felt from the writing. Not gonna lie, at one point, I felt my feet get tired from reading. It's a very compelling story, I finished reading this in one day.

The minor cons I had on the book was even though this is a really short book, there are still some parts that I felt goes on a bit longer than necessary during the first half of the book. Also, the ending was too abrupt and a bit too ambiguous. There are a lot of great fan theories on the ending though, so if you feel disappointed by it, I think one of this theory can put more closure on the reader.

Overall, I highly recommend this for anyone who's looking for a short, dark, engrossing, and a bit philosophical book.

You can find this and the rest of my Adult Epic/High Fantasy & Sci-Fi reviews at BookNest
Profile Image for Kemper.
1,390 reviews6,977 followers
December 30, 2016
I kind of blame Stephen King for reality television.

That’s not fair because he certainly wasn't the first person to do stories about murderous games done as entertainment, and it’s not like he produced Survivor or Big Brother. However, two of the books he did under the Richard Bachman pen name before being outed are about death contests done to distract the masses in dystopian societies. So whenever I see an ad for those kinds of shows I can’t help but think that the people who make that trash read those books but saw them as great TV concepts rather than horrifying visions of the future.

The scenario here is that 100 teenage boys volunteer to be part of an annual event called The Long Walk. The rules are simple. You start walking and keep up a speed of 4 miles per hour. If you fall below that pace you get a few warnings. If you don’t get back up to speed immediately, you get shot. Easier than checkers, right? Here’s the real rub: You absolutely cannot stop. All 100 boys walk until 99 of them are killed. Last one still teetering around on whatever is left of their feet then wins the ultimate prize.

On the surface you could say that this concept that could seem silly or absurd. Why would anyone volunteer for this? Answering that question turns out to be one of the best parts of the book as King moves the walkers through stages while things get progressively worse for them on the road. What King tapped into here is that realization that deep down we all think we’re special, that things will always work out for us, and this is especially true when we’re teens with no real ideas about consequences and our own mortality.

While the story focuses on one character it really becomes about all of the walkers, and we get to know them through their conversations and how they deal with the death that is literally nipping at their heels. Eventually the grim reality of their situation sets in, and we also view how the boys react to realizing the true horror they signed up for. We also learn a bit about the world they live in, and it’s an interesting minor aspect established in a few stray bits that this is essentially some kind of alternate history where World War II played out somewhat differently.

I’d read this several times back in the ‘80s and ‘90s, but hadn’t picked it up in the 21st century so it felt like there’s a dated element to the way that Long Walk functions. The boys essentially just show up in whatever clothes they have and they start walking with little fanfare. It almost seems like a contest at a county fair instead of something that captures the nation’s attention. There’s some explanation given about how they don’t want crowds or TV cameras around as distractions at the start until the walkers get settled into the routine.

However, that doesn’t seem to fit with the idea that the event is being orchestrated as a distraction and weird kind of motivational tool. If the story were told now there would be a lot more about the media coverage, and the whole thing would probably have a corporate sponsor. Plus, the walkers would have matching shoes and uniforms designed to look cool and keep them walking longer. They’d also probably have a more sophisticated method than soldiers with rifles and stopwatches dispatching the lollygaggers, too. This doesn’t hurt the story at all, though. Instead it gives the whole thing a kind of dated charm like watching a movie from the ‘70s where everyone is smoking and people have to wait by the phone.

One more note about Stephen King: The man really needs to have a spoiler warning branded on his forehead. I had to stop following him on Twitter after he spoiled major events on both Game of Thrones and Stranger Things. My friend Trudi had part of The Killer Inside Me ruined for her by King's introduction in which he described several key twists. I was listening to an audible version of this that had an intro from him talking about why he did the whole Richard Bachman thing. In it, he casually gives away the end of The Running Man novel. Fortunately for me I'd already read that one, but Uncle Stevie clearly just doesn't get the concept and why it pisses people off.

Overall, The Long Walk held up to my memories of it as one of the better King books as well as having a chilling idea at the heart of it. Sure, some might say that the idea of contest that dehumanizes people for entertainment to make things easier for a fascist ruler is far-fetched. On the other hand, this TV show will be premiering a few days after a certain orange pile of human shaped garbage takes power.


It’s a Richard Bachman world, people. Get ready to walk. Or maybe run.
Profile Image for Baba.
3,620 reviews993 followers
June 8, 2021
First time read as a stand alone. This book haunts me- it's an exceptionally horrifying read, that focuses on the 100 teenage boys competing in the Long Walk endurance race, where there can only be one winner - the sole survivor!

Remarkably written (written before Carrie!) way back in the late 1960s, Richard Bachman AKA Stephen King was so prescient about the ends reality TV would/could lead to! 10 out of 12, a thumping Five Star Read
Profile Image for Dan.
17 reviews18 followers
August 20, 2007
The Long Walk is simply exhausting to read. I found myself keep drifting in and out of sleep, needing to eat, drink, and use the bathroom. But most of all, my feet ached a little more after each page. This is not because the book was bad and that I was losing attention, it was simply because I was so involved in the story. I was walking WITH them.The premise is simple and I'm sure if you're reading this review you're aware of what its about. The fact that the story is so simple, allows for it to become deeper on so many different levels.

At the end of the book I found myself questioning everything, not because the ending left me unfulfilled but because it made me realise so much about life.

The Long Walk is depressing, exhausting and brutal. But ultimately it is a beautiful story that makes you aware how great it is to be alive.

At this time of writing this review (1st August 2007), the rights to making a film have been bought by Frank Darabont, director of the Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile. I read The Long Walk as part of the Richard Bachman compilation of 4 novels, Rage, The Long Walk, Roadwork and The Running Man.
Profile Image for Amora.
197 reviews153 followers
May 24, 2020
Wow, what a brutal novel! This was my very first Stephen King novel that I picked up during my time in high school but I never got around to finishing it. Now, years later, I decided to pick it up and actually finish and boy was this novel wild. Who knew that you can have such an engaging story with such a simple plot?

Fun fact: this novel inspired a sports event similar to the one in the novel in Sweden with the only difference being you don’t get a bullet to the head for losing. That and you also get 20 minutes of bathroom time.
Profile Image for Trudi.
615 reviews1,456 followers
August 5, 2019
“They're animals, all right. But why are you so goddam sure that makes us human beings?”

“They walked through the rainy dark like gaunt ghosts, and Garraty didn't like to look at them. They were the walking dead.”
How much do I love this book? There are too many ways to count actually, which is why no matter how many re-reads I've done of it (and there have been many over the years), The Long Walk has always left me too intimidated to review it. I managed a brief blurb of something when I listened to the audiobook a few years back, but never a "real review". So heaven help me, here's my real review.

According to King, he wrote The Long Walk while in college in 1966-67 and it became one of those "drawer novels" that got put away to gather dust when he couldn't get it published. King wasn't a household name yet of course. First, he had to publish Carrie in 1974. Then Salem's Lot in 1975. Followed by The Shining in 1976. In three short years King became a household name. So much so that he got the idea to become Richard Bachman.

King decided he would use this pseudonym to resurrect a few of those dusty "drawer novels" and rescue them from obscurity. He believed they were good (for me, two of them are better than good, they are outstanding -- The Long Walk and The Running Man -- according to King written in a 72 hour fugue in 1971). But King wanted to know readers thought the books were good because they were good, not just because his name was on the front cover in giant letters. His publisher at the time also didn't want to flood the market with more King books when he was already churning them out one a year.* Hence, Bachman was born.

*(these were the days before James Patterson decided it was okay to publish 20 books a year and only write one of them yourself).

The Long Walk is easily, hands-down my favorite Bachman book, but it also ranks as one of my favorite King books period. Top 5 without even blinking an eye. It's lean and mean, with a white hot intensity to it. What I love about The Long Walk is what I love about King's early short stories collected in Night Shift: There is a rawness in these stories that reflects the drive and hunger of a young man consumed with his craft. For me The Long Walk has always burned bright as if King wrote it in a fever. There's a purity in these pages, a naked desire to tell the tale that still gives me chills every single time I pick up the damn book and read that opening sentence: "An old blue Ford pulled into the guarded parking lot that morning, looking like a small, tired dog after a hard run."

Clumsy? Sure. A bit of an awkward simile? Absolutely. But what a hook. And the hook only digs itself in deeper as each page is turned. Until finishing becomes a matter of have to, any choice or free will stripped away. It's one of those books that grabs you by the short hairs and doesn't let go until it's finished with you.

Before the dystopian craze spawned by The Hunger Games trilogy, before the rise of reality TV with shows like Survivor, King imagined an alternate history American landscape where an annual walking competition would become the nation's obsession. One hundred boys between the ages 16-18 start out walking, and continue to walk at 4mph until there's only one remaining -- the winner. Boys falling below speed for any reason get a Warning. Three Warnings get you your Ticket, taking you out of the race. Permanently. It's walk or die. And as someone who's done her fair share of walking, the idea of that much walking without ever stopping makes my feet and back ache just thinking about it.

But King will make you do more than think about it, he will make you walk that road with those boys, to experience every twinge of discomfort, to feel the rising pain and suffocating fear, to suffer with the boys in sweat, and cold, and hunger, and confusion, as they walk towards Death and consider their own mortality. You will hear the sharp cracks of the carbine rifles and your heart will jump and skip beats.

One theme that King has revisited over the years is writing about the human body under brutalizing physical duress, at the body in extremis and what humans are hardwired to do to survive and go on living another day. Excruciating physical peril undeniably comes with a psychological component and no one writes that better than King. We see it in books like Misery, Gerald's Game and the short story "Survivor Type". King uncovers all the nitty-gritty minutia of human physical suffering and asks the question: How far is any one person willing to go to keep on taking his or her next breath? Stephen King knows pretty damn far. Just ask Paul Sheldon or Ray Garraty. Or the castaway in "Survivor Type" -- him most of all. King also knows that the human body has an amazing capacity for trauma. It can withstand a lot -- so much so that the mind often breaks first.

Each chapter heading of The Long Walk quotes a line from a game show host, but the one that really sticks out (and presumably gave King his idea in the first place) is this one by Chuck Barris, creator of the The Gong Show -- "The ultimate game show would be one where the losing contestant would be killed." And isn't that the truth? Certainly, the Romans knew this as they cheered for Gladiators to be mauled to death by wild animals (or other Gladiators). Just ask the French who cheered and jeered as thousands were led to their deaths by guillotine. There is an insatiable blood lust that lingers in humans that I don't think we'll ever shake completely, no matter how "civilized" we think we've become.

Violence as entertainment is part of the norm, so I have no problems believing that under the right (terrifying) conditions, death as entertainment could become just as normalized. Outwit, Oulast, Outplay on Survivor suddenly takes on a whole new meaning.

One of the things I've always loved about this book is how King handles the audience as spectators, complicit in this cold-blooded murder of its young boys. When the novel first starts, the spectators are individuals, with faces and genders and ages. As the story progresses, spectators increase in number to "the crowd", loud and cheering, holding signs. By the novel's climax, spectators filled with blood lust have morphed into a raging body of Crowd (with a capital C). It is an amorphous and frightening entity that moves and seethes with singular purpose obsessed with the spectacle, and baying for blood like a hound on the scent. It's chilling because there's such a ring of truth to all of it. Were it to ever happen, this is how it would happen. When King is writing at his best, the devil is always in the details.

Another aspect of the story that has always engaged me is the boys’ compulsion to join the Walk and be complicit in their own execution. I've always wanted to ask King if he meant this story to be an allegory for young boys signing up to die in Vietnam (considering he wrote it as Vietnam was heating up and on the nightly news). I think naivety and ignorance got a lot of the boys to The Walk, including Garraty. I think young people (especially young men) believe themselves to be invincible, that death is not something that can happen to them no matter the odds or circumstances. I'm sure no boy went to Vietnam thinking he would come home in a body bag, though many of them did.

If it's not obvious by now, I could talk about this book until the sun burns itself out, or the zombies rise up. And I haven't even touched upon its possible links to the Dark Tower! Which I will do now under a spoiler tag. If you haven't yet, read this book. If you have a reluctant teen reader in your life, give them this book. If it's been a long time since you've read this book, don't you think it's time to read it again?

The Long Walk and possible links to the DT Universe:

Profile Image for Calista.
4,077 reviews31.3k followers
January 28, 2020
I loved this story when I read it. It was compelling. It's one of two novellas that was written by Richard Bachman that I like. This one gets it right.

It's brutal, but it was a foreshadowing of where our culture was heading. Not that we do things to the death yet, but these extreme competitions or reality shows are like this. I didn't have it in my GR and now I do.
Profile Image for Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin.
3,538 reviews9,968 followers
August 10, 2021
4.5 Stars ⭐️ Buddy read with my dear friend, Vickie! 💕

This book killed my plantar fasciitis!

Chapter 8 has this old children’s rhyme we used to sing

"Three-six-nine, the goose drank wine
The monkey chewed tobacco on the streetcar line
The line broke
The monkey got choked
And they all went to Heaven in a little rowboat….
—Children’s rhyme

This book was not what I was expecting and it broke my damn heart. I still don’t know the reason behind all of this craziness!

I loved the majority of these boys and damn it to hell, someone explain that ending!!

Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾

Profile Image for Lyn.
1,883 reviews16.6k followers
October 16, 2017
Direct and relentless, like the best of Poe’s work.

Edgar Allan Poe’s work was characterized by one simple concept and a brutal and undeviating delivery. The “Cask of Amontillado” was an inevitable march to the bricking up of the victim. “The Tell-Tale Heart” was unescapable towards its conclusion. Foreshadowing and an inexorable conclusion marked the horrific legend of the “Fall of the House of Usher”.

Like Poe, King took a devilishly simple idea and delivered one of his strongest works, but lean and muscular in its vibrancy.

The Long Walk was one of King’s earliest writings, put together long before its 1979 publication. The word on the Bachman pseudonym was that early publishers did not want him putting out too many at a time so he created the alter ego to be able to sell more books. Interestingly, King noted that the books he had slated for publication under the Bachman name took a different, darker tone. Such a statement from Stephen King is marked with ominous forebodings.

Set in an alternate history, near future dystopian society ruled by an autocratic leader called “The Major”, 100 contestants, all young men, begin a walk in Maine. The rules are simple: walk and maintain a pace or the walker is given a warning. Thirty seconds later, he is given a second warning. Thirty seconds later he is given a third warning. If he has not returned to his pace after this last warning – he is shot. They keep walking until only one is left.

The Hunger Games was published in 2008. This idea of young people being ritualistically killed in a game like setting has been a popular concept for some time and in many genres. In an oblique way, readers could also compare this to William Goldings’ masterful 1954 novel Lord of the Flies. King is on to a primal notion. Young people dying for an obscure and artificial context could be a metaphor for war, or for any obsequious and unquestioning submission to government power.

King also creates a nebulous and faceless character of The Crowd. Lining the road throughout the miles and days of the walk are hundreds, thousands, of well-wishers and fans. King depicts a culture where the Long Walk is the national pass time, where contestants are cheered and honored, like gladiators in Rome. This faceless personification is reminiscent of David Lean’s excellent portrayal of the same phenomena in his 1948 film Oliver Twist.

Most of the dialogue in the novel is made between the walkers. As they walk, and die, and grow fatigued, and die, and continue walking, their conversations reveal a microcosm of life and of philosophy and of what is important to each of them in this final journey for all but one.

Shocking in its ruthless exactitude, provocative in its composition, this very early work displays King’s vast talent.

Profile Image for Dan Schwent.
3,005 reviews10.6k followers
December 9, 2013
Every year, 100 boys take part in a nightmarish pilgrimage called The Long Walk, the winner receiving The Prize and a ton of cash. Ray Garraty is one of the contestants. Will he win The Prize or be one of the ninety-nine dead boys on the road?

Wow. And I thought the six mile hike I went on in October was rough. Imagine walking non-stop, day and night, and getting shot if you stop too long? That's the horror of The Long Walk.

The Long Walk takes place in a slightly different reality, where Germany had a nuclear reactor in Santiago in 1953, and where the Major runs a spectacle ever year, The Long Walk. The Long Walk seems like an ancestor of The Hunger Games in some ways, although the Long Walk seems to be voluntary.

Unlike the Hunger Games, this book is pretty brutal. Imagine having to go to the bathroom in front of a crowd of spectators while continuously walking. And never being able to sleep. And seeing people gunned down in front of you after they've been warned three times. Like I said, pretty brutal.

As usual, Stephen King crafts an interesting cast. Garraty, McVries, Stebbins, Barkovitch, Scramm, the list is pretty long for a short book. Part of the brutality is that you don't know whose ticket is going to get punched next.

I really wanted to give this a five but I couldn't. My lone problem with this one was the dialogue. So many of the boys sounded like they were in their twenties or thirties rather than being teenagers. Usually, I find King's dialogue a lot more realistic but it pulled me out of the story a few times.

4.5 out of 5. I'm going to track down more of these Bachman books of King's now.
Profile Image for Joe Valdez.
499 reviews857 followers
March 8, 2020
The first published novel by Stephen King was Carrie in 1974, but the first he wrote was The Long Walk, begun his freshman year at the University of Maine in 1966 and sneaked onto the mass paperback market in 1979 under the pseudonym of "Richard Bachman." Outed at the apex of his fame, King had this novella and three others he'd released under his alias republished in 1985 as The Bachman Books. Like much of King's early work, The Long Walk lacks finishing, as if the story was filed by a reporter racing against a deadline, but is compulsively readable and appropriately nihilistic for a young man writing as the U.S. war machine began chewing up and spitting out boys in Southeast Asia.

Set in an unspecified future, the story introduces 16-year-old Ray Garraty, a local boy from Pownal whose mother drops him off at a guarded parking lot near the Maine/Canada border in the early morning hours of May 1. Garraty joins ninety-nine other boys assembling to participate in an annual event known as the Walk. He quickly befriends a walker named Peter McVries, who later tells Garraty that he joined the contest in a post-breakup funk. Their group expands to include Art Baker, a Louisiana boy from a family of morticians and Hank Olson, who's cocky and full of information about the Walk.

The object of the Walk is to maintain a pace of 4 miles an hour. Walkers who fall under that speed or stop walking for more than 30 seconds are given a verbal warning, which they can repeal by walking one hour without another warning. Three warnings results in "buying a ticket." As the event gets under way, it becomes clear to the reader that "buying a ticket" means death by hail of gunfire from the soldiers who monitor the event from aboard halftracks, and a revered national figure known as The Major who often joins the event to supervise. The Walk continues until there is only one walker alive. The reward is The Prize, anything that walker wants for the rest of his life.

"I have no idea what I'll want if I do win this," McVries said. "There's nothing I really need. I mean, I don't have a sick old mother sitting at home or a father on a kidney machine, or anything. I don't even have a little brother dying gamely of leukemia." He laughed and unstrapped his canteen.

"You've got a point there," Garraty agreed.

"You mean I
don't have a point there. The whole thing is pointless."

"You don't really mean that," Garraty said confidently. "If you had to do it all over again--"

"Yeah, yeah, I'd still do it, but--"

"Hey!" The boy ahead of them, Pearson, pointed. "Sidewalks!"

They were finally coming into the town proper. Handsome houses set back from the road looked down at them from the vantage of ascending green lawns. The lawns were crowded with people, waving and cheering. It seemed to Garraty that almost all of them were sitting down. Sitting on the ground, on lawn chairs like the old men back at the gas station, sitting on picnic tables. Even sitting on swings and porch gliders. He felt a touch of jealous anger.

Go ahead and wave your asses off. I'll be damned if I'll wave back anymore. Hint 13. Conserve energy whenever possible.

But finally he decided he was being foolish. People might decide he was getting snotty. He was, after all, "Maine's Own." He decided he would wave to all the people with GARRATY signs. And to all the pretty girls.

Other contestants slip in and out of Garraty's circle. Stebbins is a skinny boy wearing a bright green sweater and purple pants who keeps to himself but seems to have the most information on how to survive the Walk. Barkovitch is a loudmouth ostracized by the others after he instigates a fight with another walker that results in that boy buying a ticket. Scramm is much more likable despite being the Vegas favorite to win the Walk due to his athletic stamina but draws the bemusement of his peers when he reveals that he has a young wife at home. Spectators come from all over the nation to watch from the roadside.

Garraty is determined to stay in the walk to reach his hometown, where his girlfriend Jan and his mother will be waiting to cheer him on. Thirsty walkers can ask the soldiers for a fresh canteen of water, but once they eat the lunches they started with and finish the concentrates they're provided, go without food. Only four boys are shot in the first eight and a half hours and as darkness falls, most of the contestants figure out how to half-walk and half-doze. One of the boys develops an unfortunate case of diarrhea. A steep grade in the road 12 hours into the Walk earns three boys a ticket. Soles of shoes come off. Then walkers start to lose their minds.

"I can't walk much further," Olson croaked. His face was a white blur in the darkness. No one answered him.

The darkness. Goddam the darkness. It seemed to Garraty they had been buried alive in it. Immured in it. Dawn was a century away. Many of them would never see the dawn. Or the sun. They were buried six feet deep in the darkness. All they needed was the monotonous chanting of the priest, his voice muffled but not entirely obscured by the new-packed darkness, above which the mourners stood. The mourners were not even aware that they were
here, they werealive, they were screaming, and scratching and clawing at the coffin-lid darkness, the air was flaking and rusting away, the air was turning into poison gas, hope fading until hope itself was a darkness, and above all of it the nodding, chapel-bell voice of the priest and the impatient, shuffling feet of mourners anxious to be off into the warm May sunshine. Then, overmastering that, the sighing, shuffling chorus of the bugs and beetles, squirming their way through the earth, come for the feast.

I could go crazy, Garraty thought. I could go right the fuck off my rocker.

My first reaction, as I found myself up late totally absorbed in the storytelling, is that The Long Walk is a tremendous work of white-knuckled suspense. There's not a boring page in it. King has a natural ability to make his characters instantly relatable as human beings. Their thoughts and fears are a real boy's thoughts and fears, not characters acting out a plot. He also has a gift for throwing his reader into the cogs of whatever nightmare he's constructed, one from which there's no escape. The world is reduced to very stark terms. Stop walking, you die. Leave the road, you die.

There were no warnings. Percy had forfeited his right to them when his right foot passed over the verge of the shoulder. Percy had left the road, and the soldiers had known all along. Old Percy What's-His-Name hadn't been fooling anybody. There was one sharp, clean report, and Garraty jerked his eyes from Percy to the soldier standing on the back deck of the halftrack. The soldier was a sculpture in clean, angular lines, the rifle nestled into the hollow of his shoulder, his head half-cocked along the barrel.

Then his head swiveled back to Percy again. Percy was a real show, wasn't he? Percy was standing with both his feet on the weedy border of the pine forest now. He was as frozen and has sculpted as the man who had shot him. The two of them together would have been a subject for Michaelangelo, Garraty thought. Percy stood utterly still under a blue springtime sky. One hand was pressed to his chest, like a poet about to speak. His eyes were wide, and somehow ecstatic.

A bright seepage of blood ran through his fingers, shining in the sunlight. Old Percy What's-Your-Name. Hey Percy, your mother's calling. Hey Percy, does your mother know you're out? Hey Percy, what kind of silly sissy name is that, Percy. Percy, aren't you cute? Percy transformed into a bright, sunlit Adonis counterpointed by the savage, duncolored huntsman. And one, two, three coin-shaped splatters of blood fell on Percy's travel-dusty black shoes, and all of it happened in a space of only three seconds. Garraty did not even take two full steps and he was not warned, and oh Percy, what
is your mother going to say? Do you, tell me, do you really have the nerve to die?

I saw this story as a parable for Vietnam through and through, with the sheer pointlessness of what the boys had signed up for not dawning on them until it was too late. There's a recurrent desire in many of the young men to take on the world, to sign up and join a cause bigger than themselves or the towns they come from. The bonds they form in the foxhole felt like a war story. My criticism of The Long Walk is that there's too much talking to make this a believable war story, given the grueling nature of the walk once it gets going. I don't know if an internalized version of this story would've been any better, though, considering how gripping the final product turned out.

Length: 84,610 words
Profile Image for carol..
1,576 reviews8,232 followers
February 7, 2017
I thought about doing some clever riff on this, maybe describing how it feels to swim 500 yards in a competition (so stuck in my head), or, in light of events this week, how it feels to have a migraine on and off for the last four days. I felt like I could tap into the structure of the telling rather easily, but honestly, it sounded tedious to write.

And that's about where I am with "The Long Walk." Technically, it is written well although it goes to obvious lengths in the beginning to conceal the consequences of the Walk. Written from the perspective of a rather naive teenager, it basically taps into a window of teen life. Garraty's thoughts range back and forth through his history, speculates momentarily on the future, but mostly concentrates on getting through the present with the group of young men he finds are accompanying him.

It's a microcosm of a whole life within the story, so I can understand why some people think it's genius. Honestly, though, I was mostly bored, partially because it centered around so much of what I had already read, themes done rather ad nauseaum by King himself, along with Robert McCannon. I get it guys, I really do. The magical time you got to feel a girl's underwear as you had your hand around her butt. That time you wanted to ostracize the funny-looking skinny kid but didn't, and the time you saw the All-American football boy brought low. The time your mom was overprotective, but you wanted to protect her, and what it was like when your dad wasn't there. How it felt to come up against uncaring authority.

Yeah, yeah, parallels and allusions.

The most interesting thing about this was the 1996 Introduction by Stephen King in which he shares his feelings about his Bachman alter ego and what it was like to have it exposed. Bachman was his chance to play with negative outcomes, the darker, depressing side of humanity. It's pretty clear when you contrast the experience behind this to "Stand By Me," a more hopeful interpretation of older boys on a walk meeting Death. I felt like I would have enjoyed this more when I was fifteen, but I'm reasonably sure I read it then, back when I was in a King phase. He's just not my type.
Profile Image for Karla.
1,075 reviews244 followers
February 7, 2023
Re listened February 2023

story 4 stars**
Audio 4.5 stars
Narrated by Kerby Heyborne

My first audio by this Mr. Heyborne and I enjoyed it. I found his voice pleasant with a perfect tone since mostly all characters were young boys. I especially liked his southern accent.

This book is a stephen king oldie first published in 1979, and it might be of one the oldest I’ve read by him so far. In “The Long Walk” one hundred boys choose to participate in a 450 mile walking marathon where they have to maintain a 4 miles per hour otherwise they get 3 warnings after that there are deadly consequences. There’s only one winner. The prize is to get anything you ever want for the rest of your life. my first thought while reading this was I’d really like to see this one as a movie. My second thought was this is the marathon from hell. And by the end I wanted to ask that character was it worth it?

I found this story gruesome and very descriptive but surprisingly with so much heart too. I got caught up in the characters background and the reason why some of them made the decision to participate in this deadly marathon. This book was definitely more than just about physical endurance but also psychological. Another brilliant book by Mr. king can’t wait for the next one. ❤️
Profile Image for Alex.andthebooks.
326 reviews1,971 followers
June 18, 2022

Ta książka naprawdę do mnie przemówiła — miała kilka momentów cringowego, mizoginistycznego pitolenia, ale to King. Jego oceniam w innej skali XD
Profile Image for Jason.
137 reviews2,349 followers
November 11, 2013
The Long Walk is a book by an elusive author named Richard Bachman—whom no one has ever met—about a bunch of kids being slaughtered in a near-future (or alternate reality) dystopian America. Which, been there, done that, right? Can’t unknown authors write about something that wouldn’t be covered again decades later? The lack of foresight here is really disappointing.

There are differences, though, between The Hunger Games and this book, particularly in that the kids in The Long Walk are mowed down by military officials rather than by each other, and that participation in this deadly event is strictly voluntary (whereas in The Hunger Games, there is little “choice” in the matter). And while I don’t think it is a bad thing necessarily for some of these teenagers to get their just desserts—seriously, have you met a teenager?—the voluntary aspect of this event is something that I had trouble with. Because we’re not just talking a few hundred mentally disturbed kids who cannot comprehend the meaning of a 99% mortality rate. We’re talking tens of thousands of kids across the country who seem to want to be chosen for competition, and whose family and friends seem even to encourage their participation. I am not sure how dystopian this dystopia is, other than that it appears to include a military-run government, but it certainly doesn’t leave one with the impression that laying low and avoiding the event entirely should be all that difficult to do, so what’s with all these idiots wanting to get themselves killed?

But still, the book is pretty good overall. It draws interesting conclusions about survival and what drives us to surpass that which we believe to be the limits of our physical capabilities (mind over matter) and it also addresses a point that I have always been able to relate to particularly, which is that it doesn’t take much more than a simple conversation sometimes to connect with another person, and in the case of The Long Walk, that connection can come to mean the difference between life and death for its characters. At the end of it all, though, it is a book that was hard to put down, and it makes one wonder why the author—whoever he is—has not been more prolific and has never broken free from relative obscurity.
Profile Image for Misty Marie Harms.
559 reviews416 followers
December 28, 2021
One hundred boys must keep a steady pace of four miles per hour without ever stopping with the winner being awarded “The Prize”—anything he wants for the rest of his life. We are walking with Ray Garraty, one of boys participating. The rules are strict. No outside help. No slowing down. You are given three warning, then you pay with your life. Winning is simple be the last boy standing...well still walking. As we walk with Ray we meet the other boys, witness their deaths, and dig hard to find the strength to remain walking. This is my favorite short story by King. His ways with words drops you right on the road with the boys. You feel their pain, their sadness, and their courage.

Profile Image for Celeste.
933 reviews2,387 followers
January 29, 2018
Full review now posted!

Before The Hunger Games, there was The Long Walk. Except this was way, way more disturbing.

There are going to be spoilers ahead for the overarching plot, though not specifics regarding individual characters. I can’t think of any other way to review this book, so consider yourself warned.

Imagine a version of America that is completely obsessed with an annual “game” known as the Long Walk. In this new national pastime, teenage boys from all around the nation put their names into a lottery in hopes of being selected for the Walk. One hundred boys are selected each year to march in the Long Walk, and the last one walking gets the Prize, or anything his heart desires for the rest of his life. And the entire nation watches and places bets on the outcome. People adore the Long Walk, and the Walkers. Doesn’t sound that bad, right?

Well, if a Walker slows below four miles per hour, he gets a warning. If he doesn’t speed up within 30 seconds, he gets another. His third warning is his last, and if he doesn’t pick up the pace after that last warning, he “buys his ticket.” Unfortunately for the boys, that ticket is a bullet. Losing the Walk means losing your life. And there are no breaks during the walk. None. Once you start walking, you walk until you win or you die.

Do you know what the most disturbing part is? No boy goes into the Walk blind. Every single boy that signs up to join the walk knows exactly what to expect. They know that they’ll die if they lose. And yet they volunteer anyway. That’s right, every single participant is a volunteer. No one is ever forced to join the Walk.

Why on earth would anyone willingly sign up for a game that leaves 99 out of its 100 participants dead? Well, teenagers tend to believe they’re invincible, that they’ll live forever. Most of them honestly believe that they’ll win. However, many of them have an ulterior motive; for reasons beyond their conscious grasp, they want to die. This way, they either get their wish or live in the lap of luxury for the rest of their lives.

What made this so disturbing for me was the fact that every single participant and spectator understood the rules. No one was surprised by the deaths. The spectators howling their approval from the sidelines and fighting over bloody shoes as mementos was incredibly disturbing. I felt like one of those morbid spectators, as I couldn’t tear my focus away from the Walkers; it was like watching a train wreck. However, in my opinion the most macabre element of the story was the foreknowledge of the Walkers themselves, and the fact that they chose their fate.

This was an insanely dark story, perhaps one of the darkest I’ve ever read. King was right when he said that Bachman was his rainy day alter ego in the introduction to this book. While I still felt that the story was decidedly King in style, the tone was darker and more cynical and hopeless than we usually get from the King of horror. The Long Walk is without a doubt compelling, but its plausibility will keep you up at night.

Original review can be found at Booknest.
Profile Image for Kayla Dawn.
291 reviews904 followers
May 12, 2018
Stephen Kings Schreibstil ist unglaublich. Irgendwie ist in diesem Buch ja nichts geschehen , bis auf das ein paar Jungs ununterbrochen laufen und trotzdem hab ich sowohl gelacht, als auch geweint! King ist einfach gut darin, Charaktere zu erschaffen und sie dem Leser nahe zu bringen, selbst wenn man sie unsympathisch findet, fiebert man mit. Hut ab :)
Profile Image for BookHunter محمد.
1,433 reviews3,352 followers
December 30, 2022

مشينا كتير تعبنا كتير
مشينا لوحدينا بعدنا
عرفنا الخوف ف عز النور
وبقينا نخاف من حبايبنا

ضيعنا أحلي سنين
وازاى هنقدر يوم نرجع
ده احنا يادوب عايشين
والدنيا دوامه بتخدع
في الأول من مايو من كل عام بعد عشرات الأعوام من الأن تنطلق المسيرة الطويلة. يتم الاقتراع على مائة شاب كلهم بلغ الثامنة عشرة سنة. في سباق للمشي يبدأ عند نقطة معينة و لا ينتهي إلا بفائز واحد هو من يواصل المشي للنهاية دون توقف للنوم أو الراحة أو أي نشاط أخر و بسرعة لا تقل عن ست كيلومترات و نصف كيلومتر في الساعة.
قد يبدو الأمر بسيطا و ساذجا و لكن دهشتنا سترتفع عندما نعلم أن كل متسابق له ثلاث إنذارات فقط و بعدها يشتري بطاقة خروجه من المسابقة. المدهش أن الخروج من المسابقة يعني الموت برصاص الجنود المصاحبين لفتيان المسيرة المتسابقين بقيادة الرائد الغامض الذي بيده مفاتيح كل شيء.
لماذا أول مايو؟ عيد العمال في الدول الاشتراكية مع أن عيد العمال الأمريكي في الأول من سبتمبر. هل لأن الدولة تحولت إلى شمولية أم للميول الاشتراكية لستيفن كينج التي تملأ ثنايا رواياته؟
احتجت لبعض الوقت لكي أفهم الأمر. لكن الأمور أصبحت أسرع بعد أن تخطيت هذا الحاجز الذهني. سِر أو مت. هذا هو مغزى هذه القصة. المسألة بهذه البساطة.
إنها مسيرة الحياة لا شك في ذلك. فنحن على الطريق منذ سن الثامنة عشر. سن المسئولية. بعدها تتعاقب علينا الإنذارات حتى نسقط صرعى في النهاية مهما مشينا.
يدفعنا كينج للتدبر في حياتنا. بداية من المسيرة إلى الجائزة إلى ستابنز الإبن غير الشرعي للرائد الذي يضحي به أبيه لإشعال المسابقة.
هذا كذب. قال ماكفريز بصوت مرتعش. لا يوجد فائز. لا جائزة.
لماذا نحن هنا؟
الكل لا يعرف لماذا هو هنا. لماذا شارك في المسيرة و ما الهدف في النهاية.
لا تكن مغفلا يا راي. المسيرة الطويلة ليست ��لا جريمة قتل.
ما هي مواصفات الفائز بمسيرة الحياة؟
إنه وغد. و ربما هذا السباق يحتاج إلى وغد ليفوز فيه.
هل من معنى لكل هذا أم هو مجرد هراء؟
بدأت أرى شيئا في المسألة يا بيت. هناك نمط. ليست كل الأمور بلا معنى.
هل الأمر ممتع لأنه تافه أم تافه لأنه ممتع أم الأمران معا؟
السبب الذي يجعل كل هذا رهيبا جدا. هو أنه أمر تافه. أتعلم؟ لقد بعنا أنفسنا و قايضنا أرواحنا بتفاهات. اسمع. لا تأخذ الأمر على محمل الجد. إنه حقا ..أمر تافه.
بعد كل ذلك لا يستطيع أحد أن يفهم رغبة البشر في الحياة و كلهم في ذلك سواء. فمهما كنت شقيا أو سعيدا فأنت تتمسك بأهدابها و تسعى أبدا للبقاء.
لكن بوجود هكذا طريق طويل للسير عليه ... لا تزال تريد أن تعيش. و هذا هو حال معظم الأخرين. سيموتون ببطء. سيموتون الواحد تلو الأخر. قد أموت أنا أيضا. لكنني أشعر الأن كما لو أنه يمكنني السير حتى الوصول إلى نيو أورلينز قبل أن أسقط على ركبتي لكي يفرح أؤلئك المعتوهون الجالسون في عربتهم السخيفة.

قل لي إلى أين المسير. في ظلمة الدرب العسير. طالت لياليه بنا. و العمر لو تدري قصير.
البعض يظن أنها حلوة خضرة و البعض يحاول هزيمتها و الفوز بلذاتها و الكل يراها عفنة لا تساوي جناح بعوضة و في الوقت نفسه في ذلك يتنافس المتنافسون.
لا يمكنك أن تهزمها. لا يمكنك أن تهزم عفونتها.

فهل الحل كما قال على طاليباب خليها تتحرق.
سيبها تنزف سبع صفايح دم - لكل يوم اتكونت مجرة وكل ذرة اكسجين اتشم - سيبها تقطع الوريد سيبها تقطّر لأخر نقطة سم
خليها تتحرق .. اكتم نفسها تتخنق - اربط لسانها مفيش ولا صرخة تتنطق

هذه القصة لمجرد أن أحداثها تجري في عالم غير موجود أبدا لا يعني أنها قصة خرافية.
نظل نسعي في الحياة منذ أن نولد و نعرف في النهاية أن نهاية هذه المسيرة الطويلة هي الموت. و الموت فقط
أمضيت وقتا طويلا أفكر في الأمر. كلهم لم يفكروا فيه. بل فعلوه فقط. كما لو أنه أمر طبيعي. و هو طبيعي. إنه بطريقة أو بأخرى. أكثر أمر طبيعي في العالم.

بقالنا سنين ف نفس الليل
والحزن مغير ملامحنا
بنبكى مرار بحرقه ونار
والدمع بينزل يجرحنا

ضيعنا احلى سنين
وازاى هنقدر يوم نرجع
ده احنا يادوب عايشين
والدنيا دوامه بتخدع
لينك أغنية محمد فؤاد مشينا كتير .
لينك أغنية علي طالباب عن مضاجعة الواقع .
لينك أغنية عبدالحليم حافظ ماشي الطريق .
لينك أغنية عبدالحليم حافظ يا مالكا قلبي .
Profile Image for Valliya Rennell.
378 reviews234 followers
August 14, 2020
3 stars

“Any game looks straight if everyone is being cheated at once.”

This book will definitely age well for me. It will stay with me for a while and keep me up at night. The ending was fantastic... though most of it was just "good". Ray Garraty is to take part in an annual national event called the Long Walk, where 100 boys are chosen to participate in a walk where if they stop walking, they are shot. Only one boy survives. This book is a psychological-thriller filled with commentary on entertainment media, life, and desensitisation.

I'm not gonna lie, I am terrified. All the philosophical musings of the Walkers about life, death, love etc. has left me with a lot to think about. The strongest part of the novel is how the themes are conveyed. A lot of it is shown through the conversations that the Walkers have and these conversations are constantly being called back and reinterpreted, so you never stop thinking about them. The things discussed are also shown in the different ways that Garraty starts to perceive reality, his pain, and his motivations. I think that for these reasons, if I were an English teacher in High School, I'd give this as a mandatory read. The Long Walk is enjoyable, there is a lot to discuss, and it forces you to actually think and make your own opinion.

All that being said, there were moments that I struggled to keep going because it is a singular concept that we are going through. The concept is executed well, but it does get tiring after a while to hear about pain being described in a 100th different way. This "slog" mostly occured in the middle because I thought the ending was great and the beginning was really good.

As a person who is getting more and more acquainted with King's works, I think that this is a great starting spot for new fans. It shows King's scary side without the supernatural element. It shows us humans at our worst.

Profile Image for Kerri.
989 reviews370 followers
June 6, 2021
My third reading of this, and I think it gets more harrowing each time. It's incredibly compelling and a difficult story to move on from. It was one of the first Stephen King books I read, and I find myself thinking of it often - it really burrows it's way into your mind.
Profile Image for Bradley.
Author 5 books4,109 followers
December 10, 2017
It's really fascinating to go back and read books you thought you really understood as a kid, and diving into Bachman nee King writing a disturbing dystopian YA really fits the bill for the whole mind-blowing thing. :)

Yeah. Dystopian YA SF.

He gives credit right in the book and all types of other places for cribbing from Shirley Jackson, especially the whole Lottery vibe, but what modern readers will probably latch onto is just how much the Hunger Games is cribbed off of King. :) (Also Battle Royalle, but let's get serious here. 1979 horrorshow master over the Japanese title that comes out just a few years before Hunger Games sounds a little more plausible.)

I could almost see the president pontificating, too, but there was nothing quite like that. Just the excitement and homey feel of a few states' worth of country and town folk gawking on the side of the road as they thrill to the idea that they might see a shotgun blast to a teenager's head if they falter on their very long walk.

It's pretty sick. It's all too plausible, too. We've got a whole nation full of psychopaths supporting each other and holding up a grand ideal of killing off 99 out of a hundred kids from sheer exhaustion, wounds, or even Charley Horses. You slow down, you die. Make it a marathon for five days. Have cheering girls and having to take a dump for a crowd as you walk. Get to know your own mortality. Figure out that a con is no less a con if everyone's being conned at the same time.

Honestly, I loved this book more now than I did then. I thought it was properly horrific and shocking and all, making me think more about boot camp and war preparedness in general and the insanity surrounding it... but this time I enjoyed the idea of pretending it might be a modern mature video game we could play as either the walkers or the dire guards with rifles that kept pace with the kids and gave them three warnings, three minutes, before the bullet entered the skull.

I was just thinking how much headshots would count. It's all about the headshots. And killing tons of kids, of course. It would be a real mind trip to play that game. Rather sick, too. But I think it might be a very popular one for the angry high-schooler crowd. :)

Too cool, regardless. The novel seems to start slow and very mild, but like the proverbial frog in the pot, we all get boiled alive. :) Great stuff.
Profile Image for Brett C.
805 reviews181 followers
May 2, 2021
I had a difficult time enjoying this one. It started out good but then it fizzled out for me. The story could have been shorter by 100 pages and paced along slowly. After Stephen King filled in the plot, the rules of the 'walk', and began to introduce the characters the story lagged. I have enjoyed other Stephen King stories tremendously but this one fell short. Thanks!
Profile Image for Coos Burton.
787 reviews1,339 followers
July 11, 2016
Este fue el primer libro de King que leo en varios meses, en definitiva ya lo extrañaba. Este libro se posiciona entre mis favoritos sin lugar a duda, principalmente por su crueldad, por la crudeza de los hechos. Estamos hablando de una marcha en la que los jóvenes marchadores tienen prohibido detenerse, y cada vez que alguien lo hace, o disminuye bruscamente su ritmo, recibe un aviso. Luego del tercer aviso, las cosas se ponen seriamente oscuras, y reciben su "pase", el equivalente a una muerte segura.
Es una de las novelas más duras del autor, hay momentos muy deprimentes en esta historia, principalmente llegando al final debo confesar que me hizo lagrimear un poco. Ya desde el comienzo del libro vemos como el protagonista intenta disipar un poco las preocupaciones de su madre, quien lo alcanza a la marcha intentando persuadirlo de que abandone la idea por completo. Garraty, con firmeza y determinación, mantiene en pie su aventura descabellada y se suma a la larga marcha.
Es increíble lo que me costaba leer ciertas situaciones, al ser una de las novelas más realistas del autor, y al mismo tiempo más inhumanas, despiadadas. Es una historia altamente recomendada, que posiblemente la esté releyendo en algún momento de mi vida.
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