Finished: May 1, 2008
First Published: 1977
Jack Torrance thought: Officious little prick.
Reason for Reading: Next up for my Stephen King Chronological Project. Chunkster challenge
Comments: Jack Torrance is a man with personal demons. After spending a childhood full of abuse, he turns into an alcoholic and one night breaks the arm of his three year old son. He and his buddy, just as much a drunk as he, are driving home one night and hit a bike in the middle of the highway, they can find no body anywhere but the shock scares them both into sobriety. Jack still thirsts for a drink every day of his life and in a fit of anger he attacks a student at the school where he works as a teacher. As the book opens we find Jack newly fired from his job and now interviewing for the position of off-season caretaker at a hotel up in the mountains, The Overlook.
The Overlook has its own demons and is not so much a building as a being intent on increasing its power. The hotel finds a source in Jack's five year old son who has an incredibly strong psychic power which allows him to see events that will happen and to see things not of this world. Since it cannot get to the son on its own it goes through Jack instead and a living nightmare begins.
The Shining is one of King's most brilliant works. The rising tension of the novel is taut. What starts off as uneasiness as Jack slowly starts to loose his mind turns to blood chilling fright as he chases after his family with a mallet. There is also an uncomfortable feeling throughout where one is not quite sure whether there really is an evil presence or whether Jack has gone insane. This is also King's first book that relies heavily on his signature style of stream-of-consciousness writing where his character's thoughts interupt the narrative frequently.
A wonderful book on many levels and a classic of the horror genre. This book showcases King's style and is highly recommended and would make a great place to start for those who haven't read any King.