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Different Seasons [Mass Market Paperback]

Stephen King
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (146 customer reviews)
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Book Description

March 4 2014 Signet
From the Magical Pen of Stephen King, Four Mesmerizing Novellas…

“Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption”

An unjustly imprisoned convict seeks a strange and startling revenge…the basis for the Best Picture Academy Award nominee The Shawshank Redemption.

“Apt Pupil”

Todd Bowden is one of the top students in his high school class and a typical American sixteen-year-old—until he becomes obsessed about the dark and deadly past of an older man in town. The inspiration for the film Apt Pupil from Phoenix Pictures.

“The Body”

Four rambunctious young boys plunge through the façade of a small town and come face-to-face with life, death, and intimations of their own mortality. The film Stand By Me is based on this novella.

“The Breathing Method”

A disgraced woman is determined to triumph over death.

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Different Seasons (1982) is a collection of four novellas, markedly different in tone and subject, each on the theme of a journey. The first is a rich, satisfying, nonhorrific tale about an innocent man who carefully nurtures hope and devises a wily scheme to escape from prison. The second concerns a boy who discards his innocence by enticing an old man to travel with him into a reawakening of long-buried evil. In the third story, a writer looks back on the trek he took with three friends on the brink of adolescence to find another boy's corpse. The trip becomes a character-rich rite of passage from youth to maturity.

These first three novellas have been made into well-received movies: "Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption" into Frank Darabont's 1994 The Shawshank Redemption (available as a screenplay, a DVD film, and an audiocassette), "Apt Pupil" into Bryan Singer's 1998 film Apt Pupil (also released in 1998 on audiocassette), and "The Body" into Rob Reiner's Stand by Me (1986).

The final novella, "Breathing Lessons," is a horror yarn told by a doctor, about a patient whose indomitable spirit keeps her baby alive under extraordinary circumstances. It's the tightest, most polished tale in the collection. --Fiona Webster


“To find the secret of his success, you have to compare King to Twain and Poe—  King’s stories tap the roots of myth buried in all our minds.”—Los Angeles Times

“Buy Different Seasons. I promise you’ll enjoy it….He creates people who are so alive, you can almost sense them.”—Minneapolis Star-Tribune

“The wondrous readability of his work, as well as the instant sense of communication with his characters, are what make King the consummate storyteller that he is.”—Houston Chronicle

“Hypnotic.”—The New York Times Book Review

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
There's a guy like me in every state and federal prison in America, I guess-I'm the guy who can get it for you. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Seasons of Stephen King Feb. 23 2013
By John M. Ford TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Kindle Edition
This is the first of three books Stephen King has released that contain four novella-length stories. The other two collections are Four Past Midnight and Full Dark, No Stars. Each of the stories is matched loosely to a season of the year.

"Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption" is the story of Andy Dufresne, sent to prison for murdering his wife and her lover. Andy quickly stops protesting his innocence after learning that "we're all innocent in here." Andy finds ways to make his sentence more bearable and help some of his fellow inmates. This story was made into the film The Shawshank Redemption.

In "Apt Pupil" we learn that the unassuming and reclusive Arthur Denker is really a Nazi war criminal. A neighborhood boy named Todd knows this and blackmails Denker into teaching him how to torture and kill. The authorities bumble around trying to catch both of them. This story was made into the film Apt Pupil.

"The Body" is about four boys who go on an overnight trek to confirm the rumor of a dead body near some train tracks. As they walk, we learn about each of the boys, their town, and the jokes, stories and games of early 1960's childhood. The story was the basis for the film Stand By Me.

"The Breathing Method" is the only story in this collection that has not--as yet--been made into a film. An aging doctor entertains the other guests at an exclusive club with a story about the breathing method he invented that eased the pains of childbirth. His story focuses on a young mother who used the method under difficult circumstances.

All four of these stories are excellent and well worth reading, even by those who have seen one of the associated films. This is Stephen King at the top of his game.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Different season June 22 2013
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
Interesting stories. Some held my attention better than others. I actually preferred the movie version of shawshank redemption to the book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Here, there are always stories Aug. 26 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
"Different Seasons" is an electrifying collection of Stephen King 'novellas', stories that fall into that literary twilight zone of being too hefty to be short stores, but also too short to be full novels. It was originally published in 1982, and all four of the stories within were knocked off by King after completion of larger works early in his career. All are stunning reads, consisting of some of the best stuff he's ever done. A linking theme loosely connects things, where each work represents a season of the year both in setting and in tone. Here is each one in a nutshell:
This one has the least horror, but even so it doesn't shy away from detailing the torture of life behind bars. It is told in the first person by Red, a lifer in Shawshank prison who is the "guy who can get it for you". As supplier to the various needs of his fellow prisoners he has developed a cynical view of his surroundings. That is, until Andy Dufresne becomes a guest in the stone hotel. In Dufresne, Red sees a man refusing to succumb to despair, even though he has been railroaded by extreme bad luck and a corrupt justice system. The story develops a feeling of legend around Dufresne, and through his ordeals and triumphs he wears a cloak of dignity that inspires Red to refuse to surrender to his situation as the years wear on. The microcosm of prison life allows for microscopic examinations of the players involved, and the characterizations here are the strongest in the four tales. Like the predictability of changing seasons we have an idea where things are going, and as we move to the seemingly inevitable conclusion the story develops an almost fairytale quality, set in a stone prison instead of a stone castle.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read This and Tell Me He's Not The Master Dec 10 2003
Format:School & Library Binding
I have no patience anymore for people who say, "Stephen King is not much of a writer." How can they say that? Because he is succesful? Because his books sell? Because he has chosen horror (primarily) as his genre? Please read this collection of short works (4 novellas? 4 longish short stories?) and tell me that he is not the master. Yes, he has written some loopy stories at times; yes, he has written books that seem self-undulgent or just plain weird. But if you read these classic scribblings (Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption, The Breathing Method, Apt Pupil, The Body), you will begin to see why Stehpen King is the most successful writer who has ever lived: (success = every book he has ever written is still in print, still on the shelves, and this goes way back to Carrie in 1973-74; he has earned over a billion dollars in sales, not counting film royalties). Read these stories and you will begin to see the first of the two particular talents he has in abundance: humanity. He writes HUMAN characters. He knows PEOPLE. He can put a mirror up to the human condition like the best literary writers. His second talent is that he can and does tell a story. This is how he gets under the literary writers' collective skins and surpasses them and everybody else in the marketplace. In short, he is successful because he has the talent of the literary writers and he has the plot ambition of the popular writers. He's the writer who has it all. All hail, the master! I am proud to be numbered among his fans.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Different Seasons
This book is excellent. It was written years ago, and my origional copy was lost. I bought another at Amazon, and re-read it, and enjoyed it just as much as the first time I read... Read more
Published on March 12 2011 by aprilrose0048
5.0 out of 5 stars How do you silence a King critic? Give him Different Seasons
For all those who doubt the fact that Stephen King is one of the all-time great masters at the craft of writing, there is Different Seasons. Read more
Published on July 26 2006 by Daniel Jolley
5.0 out of 5 stars The proof that Stephen King is a great writer...
Different Seasons is perhaps the best Stephen King book with which to initiate the neophyte who says, "He can't be a good writer - he writes HORROR. Read more
Published on June 13 2004 by JR Pinto
4.0 out of 5 stars Four great non-horror King novellas
"Different Seasons" is not your typical King horror novel. It is a compilation of 4 novellas (short stories). Three of the stories were eventually made into movies. Read more
Published on May 2 2004 by Michael Weiser
4.0 out of 5 stars A Great Book
The book, A Diffrent Season, is a really exciting book with a good balance of love and baseball. It is about a girl who wants to play baseball, and how the baseball star and a girl... Read more
Published on Oct. 24 2003 by a student
4.0 out of 5 stars This Book is A Beautiful Work of Art
This book was a wild, and intense ride, and helped me look at things a a very different way. I understood (from the afterword) King's need to write something other than horrer. Read more
Published on Oct. 3 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars Four terrific tales from a master storyteller.
If you've never read Stephen King before, this book is an excellent place to start, as it will show you that King is much more than just a "horror" writer. Read more
Published on Sept. 11 2003 by Beth Cholette
5.0 out of 5 stars The Body is Amazing
In the book, Different Seasons, I read the 3rd story, "The Body". Even, though I put my age as 12, i am 13. Read more
Published on Sept. 7 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best....
This collection of stories has to rank as my favorite. Most people have seen the adapted movies: Stand by me; The Shawshank Redemption; and Apt Pupil, but the stories offer much... Read more
Published on April 28 2003 by Charles J Horne
4.0 out of 5 stars A Different Spin from King
Be forewarned that this is not your typical horrors from King. In this compilation of 4 novellas, King proved that he is not just the King of Horrors. Read more
Published on April 20 2003 by "azmi21"
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