January Book of the Month: The Shining


tshiningThe Shining, Stephen King (1980)

Goodreads rating 4.04

Danny was only five years old but in the words of old Mr Halloran he was a ‘shiner’, aglow with psychic voltage. When his father became caretaker of the Overlook Hotel his visions grew frighteningly out of control. As winter closed in and blizzards cut them off, the hotel seemed to develop a life of its own. It was meant to be empty, but who was the lady in Room 217, and who were the masked guests going up and down in the elevator? And why did the hedges shaped like animals seem so alive? Somewhere, somehow there was an evil force in the hotel – and that too had begun to shine…

Oh man, The Shining.  It was my first real experience of Stephen King’s world of horror and I loved it.  I absolutely loved it and that really surprised me.

You may or may not know that story of The Shining; I didn’t, never having read a synopsis or even seen the film.  My only association being Jack Nicholson maniacally breaking down a door, and you know, that turned about not to be completely misleading.  Anyway.

The book is a bit slow to get going.  There seems to be a Hell of a lot of build up but now having finished the book, I can see that this was important, if also a little frustrating at the time.  But when it get’s going, boy, does it really get going.  The Hotel is kind of sentient and evil, or maybe it’s not, maybe it’s all in their heads.  And it’s so creepy!  Not as scary as I thought it would be, but oh, so creepy.  The animal topiaries creeping menacingly closer each time the characters turn around (a la Doctor Who‘s Weeping Angels)!  The scene with the dead woman in room 217!  Both of the scenes!  The image of a shape behind the shower curtain (one that wasn’t there a minute ago) will stay with me, I’m sure.  And the party goers!  The crazy, drunk party goers – all of them, trapped together through time.  And then there’s the psychosis.  Is any of this really happening?  But more than this, is the feeling of mounting dread that fills you as you turn the page as both you and Danny know that, sooner or later, Jack is going to snap and that Roque mallet is going to come swinging.



I just love it when you read a book that makes you excited to read the author’s other work.  I don’t know which Stephen King book I will read next, or if it will top The Shining, but I’m more than happy to find out.