Thursday, October 10, 2013

Doctor Sleep, by Stephen King

(hb; 2013: sequel to The Shining)

From the inside flap:

"On highways across America, a tribe of people called the True Knot travel in search of sustenance.  They look harmless - mostly old, lots of polyester, and married to their RVs.  But as Dan Torrance knows, and spunky twelve-year-old Abra Stone learns, the True Knot are quasi-immortal, living off the steam that children with the shining produce when they are slowly tortured to death.

"Haunted by the inhabitants of the Overlook Hotel, where he spent one horrific childhood year, Dan has been drifting for decades, desperate to shed his father's legacy of despair, alcoholism, and violence.  Finally, he settles in a New Hampshire town, an AA community that sustains him, and a job at a nursing home where his remnant shining power provides the crucial final comfort to the dying.  Aided by a prescient cat, he becomes 'Doctor Sleep.'

"Then Dan meets the evanescent Abra Stone, and it is her spectacular gift, the brightest shining ever seen, that reignites Dan's own demons and summons him to a battle for Abra's soul and survival. . ."


Doctor Sleep is an entertaining, gentler and worthwhile - if sometimes rambling - sequel to The Shining.  For the most part, I haven't been a fan of King's work for the past two decades, but this is - in some parts - a return to King's earlier, better-edited writing (seen in the novels 'Salem's Lot, The Shining, Cujo, The Dead Zone and the expurgated version of The Stand) that often drew me in with its warmth, its character-based from-the-gut horror and its humor.  (Speaking of which, sharp-eyed fans of Joe Hill may appreciate King's references to Charlie Manx from Hill's novel NOS4A2.)

Good read.  Check it out.

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