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The Shining (The Shining, #1)
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Book Discussions > The Shining - Stephen King (October Book Selection)

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Richard | 47 comments Mod
Released in 1977 "The Shining" remains one of Stephen King's most popular books to date, being adapted in 1980 by Stanley Kubrick into an equally popular film aswell as a more faithful and King approved TV adaptation in 1997 and even now a sequel "Dr. Sleep" is in the works, as the enduring popularity of this book continues.

But what is it about this book which has ensured that it has continued to live on? Is it down to the popularity of its adaptations or is it due to the themes it covers such as alcoholism and the pressures of parenthood still being so relevant to a modern reader?

Also are the things cut out of Kubrick's adaptation such as the secret mob history of the "Overlook Hotel" Jack finds in the boiler room and man eating topiary animals in the garden, really as important to the story as King would have you believe or does the plot work better from the view point of the isolation of the hotel and taunting ghosts being jack's breaking point with these things removed?

The floor is now yours to discuss and add any questions / opinions of your own.


Steph Mulrine (smulrine) | 10 comments As a complete new reader of 'The Shining' I suppose I find it difficult to square its longevity. But I think that the fear that is evoked it pretty timeless and universal. More than that King is an excellent story teller and there are very few moments that make it feel dated or 'of a time'.

Part of the fascination for me, which I feel the Kubrick adaptation completely misses is the complexity of Danny. His awareness that he has power and access beyond his years and capability to interpret was extremely powerful. It was one of the elements of closure that I felt I was seeking. And it is also the sole reason I will be quite excited for the sequel next year!


Robert Mitchell | 5 comments I agree with Steph’s assessment that Stephen King evokes “universal” fears. When you think about it, life is scary. Normal, everyday life. If we dwell on all of the things in normal, everyday life that are scary, we soon won’t leave our house. And then we won’t leave our room. Before long, we’re hiding under the bed. That’s one of the many reasons Stephen King is so effective at horror: he lays a foundation of pedestrian fears: tall ladders, wasps, hurting our kids, failure, betrayal, nightmares, DIVORCE, addiction, humiliation, the unknown, the dark. Then, when we’re good and rattled, he throws us a paranormal curveball or two: “Did Daddy have an accident?” By the time he unleashes the bloated bathtub ghosts and rampaging topiaries, we’ve got no chance.

King magnifies this horror by comparing it to the good we find in The Shining, especially the two most blameless characters, Danny Torrance and Dick Hallorann. Danny and Dick not only require us to care about the story’s outcome, they expose the depth of the Overlook Hotel’s evil and the breadth of the other characters’ imperfections. The fact that most readers will admit that Wendy and Jack’s petty, dysfunctional thoughts and impulses are our own, makes us feel all the more vulnerable to the Overlook’s sinister influence.


Steph Mulrine (smulrine) | 10 comments Robert has hit the nail on the head and explained more eloquently than myself the layers of fear. What I think is really well done is the creeping sense that builds throughout. So when the paranormal happenings start you aren't left feeling that it is unbelieveable. I'm not sure whether that is partly to do with knowing the plot of the book, or knowing what King can be like, before reading the book. I also feel that he writes it in such a way that acknowledges and then eliminates the doubt through the slow realisation of Jack and Wendy that Danny (and the Overlook hotel) that their scepticism is ill-placed.

Good old Hallorann. I really worried for him. He's a good egg.


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