Dark Half Hardcover – Oct 4 1989
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In 1985, 39-year-old Stephen King announced in public that his pseudonymous alter ego, Richard Bachman, was dead. (Never mind that he revived him years later to write The Regulators.) At the beginning of The Dark Half (1989), 39-year-old writer Thad Beaumont announces in public that his own pseudonym, George Stark, is dead.
Now, King didn't want to jettison the Bachman novel, titled Machine Dreams, that was he working on. So he incorporated it in The Dark Half as the crime oeuvre of George Stark, whose recurring hero/alter ego is an evil character named Alexis Machine.
Thad Beaumont's pseudonym is not so docile as Stephen King's, though, and George Stark bursts forth into reality. At that point, two stories kick into gear: a mystery-detective story about the crime spree of George Stark (or is it Alexis Machine?) and a horror story about Beaumont's struggle to catch up with his doppelganger and kill him dead.
This is not the first time that Stephen King has written a dark allegory about the fiction writer's situation. As the New York Times writes, "Misery (1987) is a parable in chiller form of the popular writer's relation to his audience, which holds him prisoner and dictates what he writes, on pain of death. The Dark Half is a parable in chiller form of the popular writer's relation to his creative genius, the vampire within him, the part of him that only awakes to raise Cain when he writes, the fratricidal twin who occupies 'the womblike dungeon' of his imagination." --Fiona Webster --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.
From Publishers Weekly
The protagonist of King's top-notch new novel is literary novelist Thad Beaumont, whose greatest success has come with three gory thrillers written under the pseudonym George Stark. (King himself wrote five novels under the pseudonym Richard Bachman.) When a blackmailer threatens to reveal Stark's identity (planning his scheme, he finds a new use for PW 's "People" page), Beaumont and his literary agent decide to foil the plan and capitalize on Stark's "demise." But Stark, who of course was never alive, will not stay dead either. Beaumont's alter ego (for Stark is obviously more than just a pen name) seeks revenge against all those involved in killing him off, and his murderous rampage, gory and gripping, systematically reduces the ranks of his enemies to Thad, his wife and two children. Stark's aim--to force Beaumont to write another Stark novel--is basically a variation on King's Misery , in which a deranged fan held a writer captive until he wrote another novel featuring the heroine whose life he had terminated in his previous book. But this new King thriller is so wondrously frightening that mesmerized readers won't be able fault the master for reusing a premise that puts both Misery and The Dark Half among the best of his voluminous work. 1,500,000 first printing; $500,000 ad/promo; BOMC main selection.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Top Customer Reviews
In many ways, 'The Dark Half' is King at his most personal, and his most revealing. As any of his "Constant Readers" know, he wrote under the pseudonym of Richard Bachman for many years. Richard Bachman, very much like Thad Beaumont's Dark Half, was in many ways, Stephen King's Dark Half, where the world was in a state of pessimism, and the endings were never happy. So, in many ways, Stephen King's alternate personality is the direct inspiration for this book, Richard Bachman being in direct relation to George Stark, a pessimistic alternate personality of Thad Beaumont. The Dark Half has gone on to become one of Stephen King's most admired novels of the 80's, right along novels such as IT, The Talisman, and Misery.It is one of his most memorable, telling the reader a grisly fact they will never forget: 1 Out of Every 10 Women have twins, but one of them sucks up the other In Utero. At its time of release, The Dark Half debuted at #1 on the New York Times List, and showed Stephen King's popularity was fully intact, and gave him his Ninth Bestseller. The Dark Half was also made into a movie, and it still stands as one of the best. Read on for my review of The Dark Half-
Thad Beaumont, Husband of Liz Beaumont, and Father of Two Twins(Liz and Wendy), appears appears to be normal to the outside world, a humble Writing Professor and a Novelist(Popular with critics, but poorly selling), living his life alone with his family in Ludlow without a care in the world. But he has a secret, that few people know about, and that secret is that he is George Stark, Bestselling Author of Dark Grisly Thrillers, Thad Beaumont's Alternate Personality, or in this case, his Dark Half.Read more ›
In Stephen King's The Dark Half the main conflict is between a writer named Thad Beaumont and his alter ego, which Beaumont has used as his pen name to get other books published. King has had personal experience in writing under a pen name. That name was Richard Bachman. King wrote five novels under this name including Rage, The Long Walk, Roadwork, The Running Man, and Thinner. Little was known about Bachman except were he came from and what other work he had done, which is also the case with Beaumont and his alter ego George Stark. When both King and Beaumont decided that they no longer needed the alter egos they killed them off. That is were the similarities end.
King uses a variety of complex characters throughout the novel. Of course one is Thad Beaumont who has to figure how he was going to be able to defeat Stark. Next there is Thad's wife Elizabeth (Liz) who has to try to stay calm and sane, while watching out for her twin children. Third, is Sheriff Pangborn who is trying to rationalize everything that is happening, and eventually he changes his thoughts and thinks about impossible. Finally there is George Stark. Stark is portrayed as the "bad guy," but he is fighting for his survival. As pointed out several times in the novel Stark asks Thad if he would do everything needed to insure survival. You can imagine what Thad's answer was.
A struggling author who needed to get himself out of writers block finds that he can escape his problems by writing under a different name, but when this alter ego becomes a physical being will Thad Beaumont be able to escape? It seems like a far-fetched idea for a novel, but King really came through. Giving more than enough insight to details of every character makes it possible to believe.Read more ›
THE DARK HALF is part of The Castle Rock series (CUJO was the first, NEEDFUL THINGS was the last); although it begins in the town of Ridgeway, New Jersey where Thad Beaumont grew up, most of it indeed does take place in the fictional Maine town made famous worldwide by Stephen King. After settling down, marrying and becoming a famous Horror/Mystery/Suspense author (hint, hint), Thad's world is suddenly turned upside down when he receives a very confrontational visit by Sheriff Alan Pangborn (who, in true Stephen King fashion, would pop up again in NEEDFUL THINGS), who matched up Thad's fingerprints exactly to those found at a completely grotesque murder scene. After vociferously defending himself, Thad begins to realize that this isn't just a simple case of mistaken identity. Something else is happening. He convinces a skeptical Sheriff Pangborn to bear with him as he begins to unravel the mystery, and the evil, that is THE DARK HALF. Thad's dark half is known as the murderous George Stark, a man with no soul (literally), who is unafraid of anything and will kill with reckless abandon.
THE DARK HALF is a completely fascinating read. Even at nearly 500 pages, it never becomes boring. However, those of you with weak stomachs should probably not read it, as it is undoubtedly the most graphically violent novel Stephen King has ever written---and that is saying a lot! For the rest of us, however, it is
MOST RECOMMENDED; AGES 18 & UP
Most recent customer reviews
I've enjoyed this one. Not his top tier but it easily kept me reading till the end.Published 1 month ago by Kevan
I purchased the Kindle edition recently (I have the hard cover) and have to say that they made quite a mess when they converted it. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Jane
This book is riddled with spelling and punctuation errors. It takes away from the story...a person has to interpret that "bell" is actually "hell", "dose"... Read morePublished 15 months ago by Cynthia Duchesneau
This is a great story of darkness and fear.
The true strength of this tale is that it continues to influence authors today, from the amazing A Gathering of Twine (The... Read more
This is one of my favorite books by Stephen King but I think sometimes its gets overlooked. The Dark Half is about author Thad Beaumont who has made many fans and $$ with his books... Read morePublished on March 19 2007 by Kelly Brianna
This was the first king book I've read, And at the time, the best book I've had the pleasure of reading, (until I read Green Mile by King), from the minute you find out whats in... Read morePublished on July 10 2004 by Christine Cox
When I started this book, it was pretty good, but it just dragged on too long. During the second half of the book, I already knew what was going to happen and it got so boring that... Read morePublished on March 16 2004 by booklover
Sorry, folks, but King doesn't know when to shut up. I like his short stories a lot, which are vivid and well-written. Read morePublished on Dec 29 2003 by R. Wallace
This book takes a fresh and interesting approach to the Jekyll and Hyde story, when a writer (Thad Beaumont, mispelled I'm sure}decides to divorce himself from his pseudonym aka... Read morePublished on Dec 9 2003 by Cam