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Dark Half [Hardcover]

Stephen King
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (109 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Oct. 4 1989
Creating George Stark was easy. Getting rid of him won't be ...The sparrows are flying again. The idea - unbidden, inexplicable - haunts the edge of Thad Beaumont's mind. Thad should be happy. For years now it is his secret persona 'George Stark', author of super-violent pulp thrillers, who has paid the family bills. But now, Thad is writing seriously again under his own name, and his menacing pseudonym has been buried forever. And yet ...the sparrows are flying again, and something is terribly wrong in Thad Beaumont's world.
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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From Amazon

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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People's lives-their real lives, as opposed to their simple physical existences-begin at different times. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Gather the dark July 6 2014
By M. Adil-smith TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
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 Spirals of Danu) to the sublime Echoes of the Fall

Thad Beaumont thought that he had created the perfect pen name... but it turns out that his alter ego will not be killed off so easily.

Gritty, and terrifying, this book whose legacy endures today. Fantastic.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Very creepy. Very Scary. March 19 2007
Format:Mass Market Paperback
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 using a pen name, George Stark. When Thad decides he wants to "kill" Stark off and write on his own again, that's when the trouble begins. Stark doesn't want to die and in a sense comes to life and starts killing people who helped in his destruction and all this leads back to Thad. There's lot's of murder/gore and Stark is a frightening character that you'll have to read to find out more about. This book is really creepy and well written and it has Sheriff Pangborn, from Needful Things, is an earlier role which was fun to read. I really like this book and it still remains what of my favorites.
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Format:Mass Market Paperback
The Dark Half(1989). Stephen King's Nineteenth Novel.
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-
Plot-
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.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Book you can stop reading July 10 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
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 Thad's head(more way than one) your glued to it, I mean, this book was great.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The Dark Half May 28 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
THE DARK HALF reviewed by CHRIS KENT
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.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Stephen King's Darkest Work
THE DARK HALF, which was published in 1994, and bought/read by me during the following year, is a fantastically twisted journey of a writer's alter-ego somehow coming to life and... Read more
Published on May 5 2004 by Robert J. Schneider
2.0 out of 5 stars WAY too long!!
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 more
Published on March 16 2004 by booklover
3.0 out of 5 stars Far too Long
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 more
Published on Dec 29 2003 by R. Wallace
5.0 out of 5 stars Suddenly...........I'm not half the man I used to be...
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 more
Published on Dec 9 2003 by Cam
5.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't put it down
I read this book 10 years ago (when I was in high school). It's a good read...and it will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very end. HOWEVER... Read more
Published on Dec 7 2003
3.0 out of 5 stars The duality in King's personality.
In many ways, it's very hard to understand how Stephen King, a decent family man and a law-abiding citizen, can come up with stories that have, in addition to remarkable... Read more
Published on July 23 2003 by Eran Cohen
3.0 out of 5 stars Good book but...
This book was a good book but I found it some what difficult to read. I thought the book was written differently from other SK books. Read more
Published on March 18 2003 by "horrormovieandbookfan"
4.0 out of 5 stars Creepy in all the right ways
Stephen King is much more than a schlockmeister. He uses his books to examine the human condition and see where we are lacking. Read more
Published on Jan. 10 2003 by Brian H. Galloway
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