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Dolores Claiborne [Mass Market Paperback]

Stephen King
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (106 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Sept. 3 2013
When housekeeper Dolores Claiborne is questioned in the death of her wealthy employer, a long-hidden dark secret from her past is revealed- as is the strength of her own will to survive...

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More of a mystery than a horror novel, Dolores Claiborne contains only the briefest glances at the supernatural. The novel presents Stephen King as a writer experimenting with style and narrative, time and perspective. Fans looking for a skin-crawling, page-turning fright or an undead bloodbath will be disappointed, but a patient reader willing to savor King's leisurely study of character and island life will find many rewards. And all of this is not to say that the book is without suspense.

The story unfolds in one continuous chapter, told in the first person by the cranky, 65-year-old housekeeper, Dolores, who is explaining to police officers and a stenographer how and why she killed her husband, Joe, 30 years ago. At the same time, in her rambling monologue, she insists that she did not kill her longtime employer, Vera Donovan--notwithstanding what the residents of Little Tall Island may be whispering. Joe was a drinker, and, as Dolores gradually argues, he deserved to die for the horrifying crimes he committed against his family. But Vera, despite her cantankerous disposition as a lady governing her decaying estate with her precise rules about even the most mundane household chore ("Six pins! Remember to use six pins! Don't you let the wind blow my good sheets down to the corner of the yard!"), was a good woman--or at least not an evil one. She was the woman who hired the young Dolores and kept her on even after Dolores got pregnant again. Dolores cleaned and cared for her even as the old matron faded into senility.

Dolores Claiborne is a rich novel that recalls the regionalist writing of the turn of the century. It is a fine place for a skeptical newcomer--put off by King's reputation for outright terror--to start. And for fans, it is a book that offers new insights into an author who's an old favorite. --Patrick O'Kelley

From Publishers Weekly

King's portrait of a Maine housekeeper accused of her employer's murder--a nine-week PW bestseller--shows him to be a magnificent storyteller.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Total Eclipse of the Heart Jan. 29 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Hell on Earth. This is the expression that best describes Dolores Claiborne's life, the title character of this Stephen King's novel. Told in flashback by her to some investigators we learn little by little what has led her to jail.
Dolores's life has never been easy or even nice. Living beyond the shadow of an alkie and mean husband, she could never experience true love and the only thing she does is working. But to make things worse, she happens to have a job at Vera Donovan's summertime house in Little Tall Island in Maine. Vera is known for being repulsive and extremely snobish. But Dolores, who is very brave and not afraid of working, doesn't mind having this job as long as she can save some money to her three kids go to a college. When she discoveries that her husband is doing not so good stuff to their teen daughter Dolores promisses revenge. One day when a Solar Eclipse is coming, Vera gives her some tips that will led Dolores to do things that will change her life forever.
This novel is almost a flew over the cuckoo's nest in King's work, but don't be fooled, only those who know just a little about his work would be surprised by this one. Everthing that is so characteristic of his novels is here: character development, a crucial non-returnable point in their lives, and some very unpredictable turns. Some very bad things happens to Dolores, and she does not have telekinectic powers, just like Carrie to help her to solve the problems, so she has to fix things with her own hands.
It seems to me that the eclipse that happens in the middle of the novel has a very metaphorical meaning. When the night comes in the middle of the day, people change, they feel freer, they can do things they wouldn't be able to do with the Sunlight or, even, the Moonlight.
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To all naysayers that accuse Stephen King of being a commercial-blockbuster machine, this novel is another proof that this artist is instead a great writer. Written as a long monologue, Dolores Claiborne covers the testimony the titular character gives to Sherrif Andy Bissette of Little Tall Island. Over nine hours - if you listen to the audiobook version - she tries to prove her innocence in Vera's recent death, but admits to the 1963 murder of her late husband, Joe St-George, which the Little Tall Island community accused her for years, but never had the proofs to send her to jail. So to put claims to rest, she narrates her relation with Vera Donovan, her husband, her children and the events that brought the death of her husband and Vera.

Apart from a connection Dolores feels from a little girl involved in Gerald's Game, and a newsarticle mentioning the town Derry, involved in the novel IT, this book is not a paranormal story, but a realistic story of a woman fighting a dangerous patriarchal force living in her house.
And unlike conventional novels, this experimental story is in two chapters, the first one is Dolores' testimony, and the last one is the epilogue. So for those who read their books in several sessions, a bookmark is obligatory. As for the Kindle users, don't expect the book to be divided in different forms of chapters, so remember this if you buy an e-book copy of Dolores Claiborne. About the electronic version, I did found a few little typographical mistakes, but they were insignificant details that did not stop me from enjoying this novel, which I heard is going to be soon shown into an opera in 2013.

As such, Dolores Claiborne is an excellent Stephen King novel for its fans and an excellent entry to newcomers.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Incomparable Psychological Study of a Murderess March 5 2012
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Dolores Claiborne is a housewife with problems. Stephen King gives us a window into her thoughts, feelings and desperation in her efforts to find a way through each new crisis. The activities and advice of her employer and friend add a startling new dimension to the plot as Dolores is led down the path of her life by events out of her control.

So brilliant is the writing, that the reader is at her side, feeling what she feels, as she finds the ultimate solution to her problems.

The characters are so real one feels that one knows them. It is a wonderful story that you shouldn't miss!
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5.0 out of 5 stars a battered wife's revenge July 17 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is a great book, and the film is just as good, in a different way. This is one wife's struggle with domestic abuse at the hands of a drunken, insulting, violent husband. It leads to this desperate woman's disturbing scheme of retribution and murder. Powerfully chilling. In the book, Stephen King tells Delores' story from her own point-of-view, her own regional Maine dialect, her own voice. This gives the story an added realism that is most effective.
David Rehak
author of "Love and Madness"
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Format:Mass Market Paperback
Dolores Claiborne(1993). Stephen King's 22nd Novel, Published Simultaneously With Gerald's Game.
Between the Late 80's and Early 90's, Stephen King was hard at work with the novels "Gerald's Game" and "Dolores Claiborne". He originally concieved them to be issued in a Two-Volume Set Entitled "In The Path Of The Eclipse" because of the similarities. Both main characters experience Total Solar Eclipses, and for one moment in both stories, are bonded. Both novels portray plotlines about Child Abuse, And Learning to live with the Horrors of your Past. Both Novels stand as some of Stephen King's most ambitious, but "Dolores Claiborne" is more so. A startling confession of the human mind, and the reasons that drive people to murder, present themselves in their full glory in "Dolores Claiborne"'s unending narrative(It has NO chapters or paragraphs), and it is a compelling read from start to finish. In Usual Fashion, "Gerald's Game" and "Dolores Claiborne" claimed the #1 Spot each, and both stand as some of Stephen King's deepest novels, dealing with the demons inside of us and from the past. "Dolores Claiborne" has been made into a successful and emotional movie, Starring Cathy Bates(Star of "Misery"). Read On To Find Out Why "Dolores Claiborne" stands as one of King's strongest novels.
After the mysterious death of Vera Donavon, Longtime Housekeeper Dolores Claiborne is accused of pushing her down the stairs. As she goes in for a Police Interragation, Dolores decides to relate all of the misdeeds in her past. She tells the police that she never killed Vera Donavon, but she did murder her husband over 30 years ago.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars KEEPS YOU HOOKED!!!!
What would you do if you were accused of a murder? What if you were accused of two murders?
In the book Dolores Claiborne you go through the whole thinking process of what... Read more
Published on June 1 2004 by Vanity
5.0 out of 5 stars "An accident is sometimes an unhappy woman's best friend."
The conventional street wisdom is that the best movies adapted from Stephen King novels are the ones that do not mention they are adapted from Stephen King novels. Read more
Published on Feb. 16 2004 by Lawrance M. Bernabo
5.0 out of 5 stars A King book That's Just About a Person. Awesome!
When I started reading this book, I was bracing myself for a bad experience--I'd just finished Heart of Darkness by Conrad, which is three big chapters and boring as all get out... Read more
Published on Jan. 27 2004 by "uraniaapple"
4.0 out of 5 stars This book is awesome!
I thought this book was very good! It gets very intense in the middle of the book when Dolores decides she's gunna go through with her plan of killing her husband. Read more
Published on Jan. 21 2004 by Kiki Robinson
4.0 out of 5 stars Gripped
Forget that Stephen King wrote this book, and leave your expectations at the door.
I was totally engrossed in the story of this poor, honest, hard-working woman and her... Read more
Published on Sept. 4 2003 by tzefirah
2.0 out of 5 stars Dull
I am a big King fan but this book isn't very good. It's written in a difficult to read one-long-chapter style and the plot is razor thin, yet he stretches it out for hundreds of... Read more
Published on June 5 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars A different kind of horror
Stephen King may be famous for his horrific stories about demons and ghosts and other things that go bump in the night, but that's not always the case. Read more
Published on May 31 2003 by Kristin Dreyer Kramer
5.0 out of 5 stars I love the plotlines. A must reader for any King fan!
This book is a reading experiance. It makes you feel like you've been chosen to read the best book ever. Read more
Published on May 15 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars I love the plotlines. A must reader for any King fan!
This book is a reading experiance. It makes you feel like you've been chosen to read the best book ever. Read more
Published on May 15 2003
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