5.0 out of 5 stars The Sparrows Are Flying Again; A Tense Mental Thriller
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...
Published on July 14 2004 by Will Culp
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. Most of his novels, with the exception of _Carrie,_ his first, just go on far too long. _The Dark Half_ is no exception. You can read the beginning and the end and skip everything in between, and you wouldn't miss much. Where's an editor when you need...
Published on Dec 29 2003 by R. Wallace
Most Helpful First | Newest First
4.0 out of 5 stars Very creepy. Very Scary.,
5.0 out of 5 stars The Sparrows Are Flying Again; A Tense Mental Thriller,
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. Thad, after being blackmailed, decides once and for all to put George Stark to rest, because when Thad is Stark, he isn't himself, but a half-crazed writer. So amidst heavy press, Thad Beaumont tells the world that HE is George Stark, and that George Stark is dead. Thad Beaumont's quiet life is turned upside down when his part-time Handyman, Homer Gamache, was found beaten to death, with his fingerprints all over the Crime Scene. Thad doesn't know what to think, and soon his past will come back to haunt him. Early in his life, Thad Beaumont suffered headaches, and finally a convulsion(Brought on by the sound of sparrows), and doctors discovered and removed an eyeball and two fingernails from his brain, the leftovers of his would-be twin. Police are baffled at Thad's case, because he had alibis the night of the murder to attest he was at a party, and they learn more murders(Of people Thad knew) have taken place in New York, with fingerprints of Thad included, but Thad wasn't possibly there. So, along with the help of Sheriff Pangborn, Thad sets out to unmask his silent killer, and he begins to think that maybe it is the person he once killed: George Stark. As Stark inches nearer and nearer to Thad, he and his family's life will come down to his bravery, and if he can defeat his Dark Half.
The Dark Half, much like Stephen King's Gerald Game, centers around Stephen King's ability to tell a story, and focuses less on Writing Mechanics. Although there are subtle similes/metaphors here and there, unlike many of his novels, grisly and humorous descriptions are the main draw here, and his descriptions of Sparrows might make you think twice about going near them. He tells the story straight out, and unlike "The Tommyknockers" or "IT", King doesn't care about side-plots, he focuses his story on Thad and George Stark, and the reader is enthralled every page from the mysterious beginning to the macabre end, and it is impossible to put this book down. In many ways, this is a Thriller, but towards the end of the novel, Stephen King reverts to his Horror ends, and his Disturbing End might give Fainthearted readers a sleepless night. I must remark how The Dark Half, unlike many of his novels, has an ending that PERFECTLY complements the plot, and I found myself smiling at King's carefully plotted ending, reveling in Horror's King's cleverness.
Overall, I found The Dark Half to be an excellent read, enthralling and mysterious, and hard to put down. After reading the dissapointing "Bag of Bones", "The Dark Half" really showed that Stephen King, while he has his lows, always has his undeniable highs.
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! FANS OF STEPHEN KING, THRILLERS, HORROR, AND MYSTERIES WILL HIGHLY ENJOY "THE DARK HALF", AND THIS IS A GOOD START FOR STEPHEN KING NEWBIES. 4 STAR AVERAGE?? I THINK NOT!
Thanks For Reading!
5.0 out of 5 stars A Book you can stop reading,
4.0 out of 5 stars The Dark Half,
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. One of the skills every great author must have. Some might think that a few of his details are a little to graphic, so if blood and gore is not your forte I would not recommend this novel. It is not just another horror novel though; it deals with very important moral issues. The main one being that you should never change who you are. Although it may seem better to try to be something your not, but eventually you will regret it. Thad's "battle" with Stark can also recognized as an internal fight. Possibly fighting his inner demons and by fighting them he will become a stronger, better person. Giving Beaumont a sense of achievement that was earned by who you really are and not who you can act like.
In the end Thad realizes what he will have to do to defeat Stark, but is not sure if he will be able to complete the task. He feels that he has no choice because there are more important things in his life like his wife and children. If no action is taken by Thad, Stark will surely kill them as he did Thad's agent and publisher. Beaumont is willing to put himself in position in which he can fail. This is the key point for Thad where he transitions from someone who is afraid to fail to someone who will always express his opinions and those who are confident in themselves, some may say cocky, come out on top more often than not.
I would highly recommend this book who likes other novels by King and if not familiar with his works I would still recommend it. You will become acquainted with one the best modern horror writers ever. The only dull moment is at the beginning when the story is being set up, but what book isn't? There is enough action to fulfill your every want and need while entertaining your brain because like a lot of kids now days you are watching television. more than reading. A very exciting ending completes the novel and makes me wish there was a sequel.
5.0 out of 5 stars Stephen King's Darkest Work,
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
2.0 out of 5 stars WAY too long!!,
3.0 out of 5 stars Far too Long,
5.0 out of 5 stars Suddenly...........I'm not half the man I used to be...,
Unfortunatly, Thad has already indulged this darker side of his psyche on too frequent a level and suddenly the make believe grave of his make believe author is found open with footprints leaving the scene. Could this be some joke? Perhapse in this world but in the ,miraculous world of Stephen King..I think not!
A monsterous game of cat and mouse follows and the result is an exciting, grotesque, and genuinly creepy novel.
Hidden more subtly beneath the story of this book is once again a social statement about the way we deal with the different sides of our personalities and also the idea of the Celebrity and the life given to it by the public.
5.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't put it down,
By A Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars The duality in King's personality.,
For that end he tells the story of Thad Beaumont, a bestseller author - only thanks to his pseudonym, George Stark. King illustrates a creepy tale about Beaumont's dark half / twin brother that comes to life and wears a devilish form when "his" other half decides to terminate his fictional existence. This is a brilliant means in demonstrating the duality of King's personality, which stands on even a higher ground as King himself has had a nom de plume - Richard Bachman - and evidently he writes from a first-rate experience.
If you want to know how some people can write about things that are completely detached from their world - try King's explanation.
By and large, this book is a fast read. There is a certain amount of depth to it, but much less than what his fans would expect; the best way to describe it is to call it "a psyichological action novel with a few horror twists". The major events are set in a scope of two to three days and as a result the rhythm is quick and leaves little room for thorough character development; I have almost zero information about the major events in Thad's childhood that shaped him as a man, not to speak about a better and fuller characterization of his wife, father and mother, not to mention the Sheriff that was an integral part of the story. In other novels, King has demonstrated his talent to orchestrate complicated creations that had it all - they have been a lot longer, but it was always worth the extra reading effort.
Strange enough, the mysterious character the pseudonym author in book created strikes me as a very interesting, but sadly it is the least developed character of them all. The good news, however, is that King has borrowed this character from the novel "Dead City" by Shane Stevens to pay tribute to this author, so anyone can read more about the notorious Alexis Machine...
In the past I was told that this book is one of King's scariest. It could have been the case for me - had I read it a few years ago - but it is certainly not the case today. Maybe I got so used to King's style that he can't really get under my skin as he used to - I guess I grew up.
Yet, now that the horror he tries to create is not so horrifying anymore, I can pay a closer attention to his language; the man really knows how to describe things. King's admirable ability to put what he sees and feels into words is a wonderful way for the reader to learn and improve his own means of expression.
For that and for the above positive points I recommend this book as a pastime and a light read.
Most Helpful First | Newest First
The Dark Half by Stephen. King (Hardcover - 1989)
Used & New from: CDN$ 0.01