Been asked to reread The Shining for the Hodderscape review project. This is ahead of publication of Doctor Sleep, a sequel of sorts.
As this is a reread of a classic of the genre, I'm going to assume you know the story...
First read the Shining 25 years ago. Feel that I may have reread since, but not for at least 10 yrs.
I expect memories of the book have been obliterated by the film.
It's a while since I've read any King novel. His prose style is denser than I remember.
Chapter 1. An immediate sense of foreboding. I remember very little of the opening chapters. Probably thanks to the film, my memories are mostly from the Overlook itself.
For instance I failed to remember that Jack had a history of alcoholism and violence. I thought it was the isolation and the spirits of the house that did for him. I imagine 15 yr old me was so unable to relate to Jack's frailties that they just bounced off
Great Characterisation and voice with Watson.
Danny - Mind reading and 'Ha Loo Sin Nation'; a touch of clairvoyance. I hadn't realised the similarities between this and other early King novels, such as the Dead Zone.
Danny - born with a caul. Traditionally lucky?
I really had not remembered how much part one sets up the events that will follow.
The introduction of Mr Halloran, and his explanation of the shining. The sinister overtones of the hotel are laid out by Halloran
I think all mothers shine a little you, know at, least until their kids grow up enough to watch out for themselves.
The irregular burst of the typewriter, like machine gun fire.
The wasps are wonderfully evocative. Our general dislike of them played upon, but with an underlying feeling that they are innocent victims too.
Jack Torrence stings when he's angry.
Several references to the wiping of the mouth. With increased frequency.
This inhuman place makes human monsters
Reference to Where the a Wild Things are. Homage to Sendak or something a little deeper. 'Let the wild rumpus begin'.
JFK reference in newspaper clippings. Probably reading backwards to something that isn't there, but was this reference the germ of the idea for 11.22.63?
I don't remember the scrapbook at all. Which is perhaps not surprising, as overall the chapter with all newspaper clippings is a bit dull. I felt the tension drain away. It does however catalogue the hotel's misfortune lending credence to the idea that it's cursed.
Again the wiping of the mouth.
Jack hides the scrapbook guiltily. Interesting parallels to hiding his drinking.
The is an interesting symmetry between Danny and Jack's behaviour, when doing something wrong. Both deny to themselves any wrong doing, (Jack setting the timer forward, Danny taking the key) before casually admitting that they had all along.
'Of course' two innocuous words used to great effect.
The self sabotaging phone call us interesting, but I was disappointed King felt the need to explicitly point it out.
Their quarters were filled with counterfeit sleep. is a brilliant line.
Page 231 and it snows. Hadn't realised it would take so long.
Jack slowly turning into his own father. Despite having 'cut all the father out of him'.
Interesting observations about the creative process and children. They do sap your creative energies!
Great switch of blame from Jack to Wendy as they try to ascertain the provenance of Danny's bruises. Which then has Wendy questioning whether she is turning into her mother.
It seemed that he might be able to find peace here. At last. If they would only let him
Reading this as a grown up (stay at home) father of three boys, I have a lot more sympathy for Jack's position than I thought I might.
Again I feel a sympathy for Jack, that I don't remember from my first read. On the surface, he's obviously descending towards the homicidal maniac we know he will become, but at this point, leaving aside what we know, what has actually happened?
This is Jack's last opportunity to redirect his life. He wants to write, craves the solitude the Overlook should give him. He has the chance to prove he can do something without stuffing up.
Now his son is having vivid dreams, hallucinations even. Clearly Danny is in distress, but adults do not generally alter their plans for a child's imagination. As the reader we know Jack should get the hell out of there, but I understand his the conflict going on inside of him.
He wants the best for Danny, but trying to jet ski down the mountainside is fraught with danger, and his prospects inside the town with no possessions or money are far from certain. And then what? Once winter is over is just left with broken promises and failed dreams.
The picture of Jesus. A great metaphor for Jack's position and perhaps most of life - you see what you want to see.
Was it possible to be glad to have done something and still be so ashamed of that something that you tried not to think of it?
A great encapsulation of the young age of Danny and how bewildering it must be to read an adult's thoughts.
I remember writing an essay on King's books at the age of 15. I was struck by his use of italics and parentheses to portray internal monologue. I quite liked it at the time, but now it feels clunky.
Like many King novels, I think the Shining is too long. Perhaps because I know what's going to happen, but I just want Jack to pick up the mallet and get on with it!
As the book draws towards its finale, the supernatural elements overwhelm the subtler shades of the book. The idea of cabin fever, overwhelming a fragile mind is compelling, but an evil house controlling it, less so.
As I draw towards the end I realise I have no idea who services. Also that I was right, the film has almost obliterated nearly all memory of the book.
Flicking forward, I realise ALL WORK AND NO PLAY... is exclusive to the film, which I'm astonished by.
I have constructed false memories of seeing that on the page. This is perhaps the scariest part of the reread, what other bits of my life have I imagined?
The final redemption of Jack is wonderfully handled and very sad. Also a revelation to me!
Probably made all the more poignant by my being a father.