Stephen King – The Shining Audiobooktext
“It was at night that the wind started to howl around the west wing of the hotel. He especially hated nights – they were worse than anything.”
Danny Torrance may have had the Gift of awakening the dark forces lurking in the Overlook Hotel, but Stephen King has always had the Gift of awakening my old fears and throwing me chills with simple things or scenarios that, a priori , might seem hackneyed to us.
If I had left this major work of the King when I was younger, it was because I was afraid of being afraid … Yes, this book scared the hell out of me!
An isolated hotel, blocked for months in the snow, Jack Nicholson-Torrance, ax in hand, his mad psychopath’s head and voila …
“He walked over to the chopping board and grabbed the mallet handle. lifted and whirled it around. The mallet cut through the air with a threatening hiss. Jack Torrance smirked. ”
It was the publication of “Doctor Sleep” that prompted me to finally take “Shining” out of my stack in order to immerse myself in it. I admit that I still shiver from it and it’s not because of the snow or the cold. And I don’t think I was the only one to be scared while reading!
“He had the impression that his testicles were turning into two small wrinkled bags, full of crushed ice, and his guts into gelatin.”
The story, I knew it, roughly, but the detail was even more terrifying, scary … And the King, despite a fairly “simple” writing, has a real talent as a storyteller to tell us his story which leads us little little by little in horror, with an old hotel in the main characters. It’s time to count your giblets!
Let’s talk about this unusual character, to say the least … Built in 1907, the Overlook is a lavish Rocky Mountain hotel that has changed owners many times, having passed into the wrong hands. In short, it is a hotel which has a past to say the least “agitated” and especially particularly bloody: suicides and murders. When the previous guardian, he massacred his wife and two daughters …
Some exceptional people with the Don may find themselves, despite themselves, witnesses of this bloody past in the form of visions, apparitions, ghosts, .. This was the case for Dick Hallorann, cook and a maid. It will be the same for very young Danny “Prof” Torrance.
The woman lying in the tub was long dead. She was all swollen and purplish, and her stomach, bloated with gas and hemmed in ice, emerged from the frozen water like an island of livid flesh. She stared at Danny with glassy eyes, bulging like marbles.
An isolated hotel which seems endowed with an autonomous and fundamentally evil conscience … One had to think about writing it and the nightmare that the King had in 1974, in room 217 of a hotel where his family were the only customers, n is no stranger to it.
There’s no denying it, Stephen King knows how to terrify you only with scary atmospheres, old elevators, fire hoses and boxwood bushes representing animals.
During the novel, I felt chills of anguish with this damn hotel which had launched a real takeover bid on Jack, not knowing how to capture the spirit of Danny, who was resisting. Brrrr, yes, I was scared.
This book is a writing that hits the mark, suspense, anguish, highlights, an oppressive camera … all distilled drop by drop.
It was a good thing to wait so long to find out about this novel because it was only a short time since I learned that the King was addicted to alcohol when he wrote this book, as did his character, Jack. Torrance. This gives the story a far greater force than if it had been written by an author as sober as a sparrow.
The author knew very well what Jack could feel when he found himself without alcohol, trying somehow to get by; how well he knew the state of mind that his character could have when he gave in to the songs of the pure malt sirens.
If Stephen King hated Kubrick’s adaptation, it was because he reproached him for having neglected the themes of the disintegration of the family and alcoholism, which he treated in this book with great accuracy.
Another thing, if in the film, Jack Nicholson / Torrance gave in fairly quickly to the ambient psychopathy, quickly sinking to the dark side of the hotel, it is not the same in the book where the author takes the time to to sink into forfeiture. We see Jack change little by little and we tremble for his family.
This is what gives all the salt to the story: no rush! The Overlook slowly infiltrates Jack’s mind and veins, taking possession of him, little by little, but not 100% since Jack will still manage to have a few moments of lucidity, including a very important one to warn his son: the puppet had a burst of resistance …told
Since I have justyou about Jack, I will dwell on the other characters: it is a fact that some are more endearing than others and I have felt a particular tenderness for the little Danny, 5, who will have to face pitfalls for which he is not prepared, as well as his mother who must protect him and for the cook, Hallorann, who also has the Don.
If little Danny has the leading role (normal for a light child), if the Overlook Hotel has a central role, if the cook Dick Hallorann will be important, if Wendy, Danny’s mother plays her role of protector as best she can may, Jack Torrance is the centerpiece of the novel.
This is another point that I appreciated in “TheShining“: the evolution of Jack Torrance. Initially, it is only a pitiful drunkard, a pillar of the counter. A man of versatile character, changing his mind as alcohol vapors change under the direction of the wind. As always, it’s the same fight: he wants to stop drinking, but he wants to do it without any help, just by his own volition, which is almost impossible.
In short, not a character that you want to love. However, when King tells us about him, making us discover in the story what his life was, his youth, telling us about his lost ambitions, about his violent father, about the love he feels for his son, Danny, well my gaze changed and i started to empathize with him.
He is not guilty of everything … The hotel has taken possession of him and he is nothing more than a puppet in the hands of a puppeteer stronger than him.
Another point that I really liked: in the last pages, when everything is consumed and consumed, the author shows us that the Overlook can have an evil, diabolical influence, even on the purest people … to convince me, by doing so, that Jack did not have the capacity to resist and that he was only a puppet for the hotel.
Telepathy, the writer’s fight against the blank page, family, loneliness, the past, alcohol dependence … are themes which, in this novel, are exploited with rare accuracy.
Thanks, Stephen, for once again giving me a great, shivering story with strong characters! If one day I meet you, I could tell you that your literature has marked my life, along with that of Conan Doyle (but I am less likely to have the opportunity to meet him).
PS: I was so disturbed by this book that I published my review of “Shining” in “Doctor Sleep” … Oops !!!