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Needful Things [With Earbuds] [Preloaded Digital Audio Player]

Stephen King
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (153 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Jan. 1 2009 Playaway Adult Fiction
A wonderful new store has opened in the little town of Castle Rock, Maine. Whatever your heart's secret desire, it's for sale. And even though every item has a nerve-shattering price, the owner is always ready to make bargains...

--This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.

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From Publishers Weekly

With the "Last Castle Rock Story" King bids a magnificent farewell to the fictional Maine town where much of his previous work has been set. Of grand proportion, the novel ranks with King's best, in both plot and characterization. A new store, Needful Things, opens in town, and its proprietor, Leland Gaunt, offers seemingly unbeatable (read: Faustian) bargains to Castle Rock's troubled citizens. Among them are Polly Chalmers, lonely seamstress whose arthritis is only one of the physical and psychic pains she must bear; Brian Rusk, the 11-year-old boy whose mother is not precisely attentive; and Alan Pangborn, the new sheriff whose wife and son have recently died. These are only three of the half-dozen or so brilliantly drawn people met in the novel's one-month time span. As the dreams of each strikingly memorable character, major and minor, inexorably turn to nightmare, individuals and soon the community are overwhelmed, while the precise nature of Gaunt's evil thrillingly stays just out of focus. King, like Leland Gaunt, knows just what his customers want. 1.5 million first printing; BOMC main selection.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Kirkus Reviews

The old horrormaster in top form, this time with a demonic dealer in magic and spells selling his wares to the folks of Castle Rock, scene of several King novels including The Dead Zone, Cujo--and how many others? King locates his hokey Our Town in Maine, but as ever it's really Consumerville, USA, with everyone's life festooned with brand names. The cast is huge and largely grotesque, since King--wearing a tremendous cat's-smile--means to close the book on Castle Rock and blow it off the map in one of his best climaxes since Salem's Lot. Editing here is supreme. King braids perhaps a dozen storylines--with hardly a drop of blood spilled for the first 250 or so pages--into ever briefer takes that climax in a hurtling, storm-ripped holocaust whose symphonic energies fill the novel's last third. Perhaps only five characters stand out: Leland Gaunt, a gentlemanly stranger who opens the Needful Things curiosity shop; his first customer, Brian Rusk, 11, who sells his soul for a rare Sandy Koufax baseball card; practical Polly Chalmers, who runs the You Sew `n' Sew shop, welcomes Gaunt with a devil's-food cake, and buys an amulet to relieve her arthritis; her lover, Sheriff Alan Pangborn, who buys nothing but is haunted by the driving deaths of his wife and son; and Ace Merrill, coke dealer in a bind, who becomes Gaunt's handydevil and gets to drive Gaunt's Tucker, a car that's faster than radar and uses no gas. As he has for hundreds of years, Gaunt sells citizens whatever pricks and satisfies their inmost desires. But the price dehumanizes them, and soon all the townsfolk vent their barest aggressions on each other with cleaver, knife, and gun: Gaunt even opens a sideline of automatic weapons. By novel's end, the whole town is on a hysterical, psychotic mass rampage that floods morgue and hospital with the delimbed and obliterated. Then comes the big bang. Mmmmmmmmmmmm! Leland King's glee, or Steven Gaunt's, or rather--well, the author's--as he rubs his palms over his let's-blow-'em-away superclimax is wonderfully catching. (Book-of-the-Month Main Selection for Fall) -- Copyright ©1991, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Massive, perceptive and strongly allegorical June 30 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Leland Gaunt might be an incarnation of evil, but that doesn't make him a one-note character. The dynamic between Gaunt and Castle Rock's inhabitants is in a constant state of evolution: sometimes Gaunt is the focal point around which the other characters gravitate, a spider capturing more and more victims in its numbing, deadly web; at other moments, he is at the periphery, an active observer of his creation like an inferior demiurge who relishes in pain and mayhem - the prices he commands for the 'needful things' he sells is much more spiritual than material. The most interesting aspects of the novel are related to religion and the sacred. Gaunt takes the guise of Good as he seemingly brings wonder to people who didn't have any, and he appears to give his clients access to the sacred while violently cutting them from the profane world; but this is less a religious experience than a pernicious illusion devised by a dark magician. The book's structure is such that its length poses no problem to the reader - it is quite the opposite. King delays the inevitable Pangborn-Gaunt confrontation as much as he can, and the pace quickens in the novel's second half. 'Needful Things' lends itself to a plethora of allegorical readings, including Gaunt as the guru of a dangerous sect; as a druglord; as an author of macabre fiction (his clients need to 'believe' his stories as much as readers do and they soon become addicted to his 'work'). This is not an easy novel, but one that inquisitive readers should look for.
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Format:Mass Market Paperback
After starting this book I began to realize that I was perhaps reading one of Mr. King's better books. The writing was crisp and punchy and the characters were believably drawn out, not to mention quite funny. Soon, I saw the story working on three levels: 1) that, yes, we all have "needful things" (one's man trash is quite simply another man's treasure) and that 2) we would do anything to hang on to our "needful things", be them religion, memories of childhood, relationships or even a ball card ("you can have yours, just get away from mine") and that 3) perhaps it is "needful" in and of itself to want to wreck havoc, murder and chaos upon the world in which we live. You see, the characters in this book jump in to the fray, so to speak, quite willingly. Perhaps Mr. King is telling us, in his inimitable, cynical fashion, that we "need" to be bullies, conquerors, destroyers in this world and just might actually enjoy it.
Pretty heavy stuff and I enjoyed "Needful Things" (in concept and book) thoroughly until the cop-out ending. Too much mysticism for my taste. This book was pretty brutal, unkind and devilish and the ending was quite rushed and convenient, which is surprising for King, who is as long-winded an author as I've ever read. Still, a fun and thought provoking book.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic read until the end. 4 1/2 stars... March 17 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Stephen King's "Needful Things" takes place in the town of Castle Rock, Maine. A new store has opened up that is run by a man named Leland Gaunt. He specializes in carrying everything and anything that you could ever want. The only problem, is that each person's "needful thing" comes at one HELL of a price, that could end costing the person their soul.
Stephen King is not my favorite author, but I have read enough of his books to know that some are better than others. To this day, I still feel that Needful Things is one of his best books. The idea behind the story is what really makes this book fun to read. The idea that the Devil himself could come to a town and tempt the town members with their deepest desires is very appealing. The best thing, is that the characters do it all to themselves, because everything is based on free will. All the Devil does is show the characters the way, and convince them to pull a "harmless little prank" on members of the town. The story is extremely well written and moves at a very fast pace. I usually read a 400 -500 page book in 2 -3 days. That is how long it took me to read Needful Things. The 731 pages just seem to fly by, because King manages to create a story that involves you in the lives of each of the characters. As much as I would love to give this book 5 stars, I cannot because of the ending. You are left on the edge of your seat waiting for the end of the book to come, only to be left hanging by an ending that leaves things up in the air. This is the type of story that deserves a clear, cut ending.
I will say this however. King's character development is at its all time best in this book. The reason being obviously because he created a whole town. Every character introduced is enjoyable.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as other Kings but in no way worse April 18 2003
By bigbadb
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Needful Things, how should I say it, is not a bad novel. It is just different from some of Stephen King's other work. This book doesn't really deal with supernatural events and people with special powers and abilities. Needful Things, all in all, a very good novel with several shocks and twists but to me it was just a very enjoyable story with a clever beginning, middle, and end. When I mention shocks, I do not mean scares. This book is not at all scary but the unexpected turn of events or the relationships between the characters is what urges the reader to continue reading.
When I first began it, it seemed a little boring. As stated in my Misery review, the book only gets interesting when something actually starts happening and we feel the people's reactions to it. It is, by far, one of the best King books that I read not just because of its twists but all of its realism despite the villain. It feels as though you could meet any of these characters anywhere if you bothered to look. King has a gift for making realistic people, just not making them go through realistic situations. Once again, he bombards us with violence, sex, drugs, and other events that don't make a single difference to the outcome of the story.
Needful Things takes place in Castle Rock, a small town in Maine that was the setting for other King novels such as the Dead Zone and Cujo. A new shop has opened and has quickly become the talk of the town. Needful Things, as the mysterious owner Leland Gaunt calls it, is a different kind of shop. Inside of it you will most likely find what you've always dreamed of having but have never received. Mr. Gaunt is willing to give you the item but as always there is a price to pay. The more Mr.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars This book is definately a needful thing!
There are no words that I can think of that can begin to describe Needful Things. This book is one of the Kings best. When it comes to books lilke this Stephan really is the King. Read more
Published on Feb. 26 2006 by Arthur L. Hill
5.0 out of 5 stars You NEED to read this THING
I've only read a few Stephen King novels, and I'm glad I read this one. It is exceptional in its story telling, and characteriszations. Read more
Published on June 26 2004 by barbre
5.0 out of 5 stars all good things must come to an end(has some spoilers)
All good things have to come to an end and this one ended with a bang. That was expected. I thought I would miss being able to go back to Castle Rock, which turned me against the... Read more
Published on May 26 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars Satan opens shop in a small town
In this strange and original story of "Greek tragedy" proportions, the Devil in mortal guise as a respectable gentleman named Mr. Read more
Published on April 1 2004 by I ain't no porn writer
5.0 out of 5 stars Needful Things.....
is a great SK novel. The charatchers are interesting and what also makes it more interesting is the storekeeper is how he uses the people of Castle Rock turn on each other. Read more
Published on Sept. 12 2003 by Eric
5.0 out of 5 stars You have to earn these needful things alright.
This is one of Stephen King's best. The book is thick and it sure goes by fast. I read it in two days without really losing sleep either. Read more
Published on Aug. 26 2003 by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic King
This is King at his best. Even if you have seen the movie, still read this book it has significant differences. Read more
Published on July 11 2003 by Nicholas M. Lamarca
5.0 out of 5 stars Needful things brings in the King's best
This was the best Stephen King book I've ever read, it's about an imp named Lelaund Guant who opens a shop in Castle Rock, and causes the customers to play pranks on others. Read more
Published on June 8 2003 by The Erlkonig
5.0 out of 5 stars Needful things brings in the King's best
This was the best Stephen King book I've ever read, it's about an imp named Lelaund Guant who opens a shop in Castle Rock, and causes the customers to play pranks on others. Read more
Published on June 8 2003 by The Erlkonig
5.0 out of 5 stars his masterpiece?
this may be SK's greatest. the psychology is great, a whole lot of suspence, his most interesting characters perhaps. it is amazing how he manages to balance all the intrigue. Read more
Published on May 15 2003 by jan erik storeb°
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