Misery Mass Market Paperback – Sep 4 2012
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In Misery (1987), as in The Shining (1977), a writer is trapped in an evil house during a Colorado winter. Each novel bristles with claustrophobia, stinging insects, and the threat of a lethal explosion. Each is about a writer faced with the dominating monster of his unpredictable muse.
Paul Sheldon, the hero of Misery, sees himself as a caged parrot who must return to Africa in order to be free. Thus, in the novel within a novel, the romance novel that his mad captor-nurse, Annie Wilkes, forces him to write, he goes to Africa--a mysterious continent that evokes for him the frightening, implacable solidity of a woman's (Annie's) body. The manuscript fragments he produces tell of a great Bee Goddess, an African queen reminiscent of H. Rider Haggard's She.
He hates her, he fears her, he wants to kill her; but all the same he needs her power. Annie Wilkes literally breathes life into him.
Misery touches on several large themes: the state of possession by an evil being, the idea that art is an act in which the artist willingly becomes captive, the tortured condition of being a writer, and the fears attendant to becoming a "brand-name" bestselling author with legions of zealous fans. And yet it's a tight, highly resonant echo chamber of a book--one of King's shortest, and best novels ever. --Fiona Webster
From Publishers Weekly
King's new novel, about a writer held hostage by his self-proclaimed "number-one fan," is unadulteratedly terrifying. Paul Sheldon, a writer of historical romances, is in a car accident; rescued by nurse Annie Wilkes, he slowly realizes that salvation can be worse than death. Sheldon has killed off Misery Chastain, the popular protagonist of his Misery series and Annie, who has a murderous past, wants her back. Keeping the paralyzed Sheldon prisoner, she forces him to revive the character in a continuation of the series, and she reads each page as it comes out of the typewriter; there is a joyously Dickensian novel within a novel here, and it appears in faded typescript. Studded among the frightening moments are sparkling reflections on the writer and his audience, on the difficulties, joys and responsibilities of being a storyteller, on the nature of the muse, on the differences between "serious" and "popular" writing. Sheldon is a revealingly autobiographical figure; Annie is not merely a monster but is subtly and often touchingly portrayed, allowing hostage and keeper a believable, if twisted, relationship. The best parts of this novel demand that we take King seriously as a writer with a deeply felt understanding of human psychology. One million first printing; $400,000 ad/promo; BOMC main selection.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
The novel begins as Paul Sheldon, a best selling novelist, is involved in a terrible car accident, which leaves him very badly injured. His smashed up car is discovered by a woman by the name of Annie Wilkes. As Sheldon awakes from his unconscious state, he finds himself in the small guest bedroom of Wilkes's house with his legs shattered and badly splinted. He quickly becomes aware that his new caretaker is more than just his "number one fan" but is also a mentally disturbed woman who seeks to keep him prisoner in her home.
Stephen King wrote this novel to grip his audience and throw them into a life different from that of which they live and hand them the experience of being trapped with a person of an unstable mind. His dark and cruel humor leaps off the pages in his horrifying descriptions that can almost be felt. Through his vivid descriptions of Sheldon's mind and disquiet towards Annie, it seems almost as though he himself were experiencing them. Also, unlike many books that I have read, the setting is told descriptively so to create a detailed picture in your mind, but is also not so descriptive and boring as to "put you to sleep".
King's style never ceases to amaze his readers, especially when he combines two stories into one. In the novel, Paul is made to write a new episode in his books, just for Annie, which brings back to life the main character of his series.Read more ›
King's writing abilities are under-rated, and his adept ability to weave a story should not go unrecognized. Misery is no exception; the novel provides an interesting story and interesting characters that are real. Unlike many stories, novels, and books, the reader can relate to both protagonist and antagonist - a skill only a few have mastered. King knows what scares people, and insane radicals like Annie Wilkes are definitely frightening when you find yourself in their care.
There are two things I realized when I finished this book. First, Annie Wilkes is a terrifying, intriguing creation. She is crazy, for sure, but I think King does well to hint at the reasons for her psychosis rather than spelling it out all at once. It makes us "care about her" in a way -- not to sympathize with, but rather to understand. For any validation, check out Rob Reiner's adaptation of this book as a movie -- Kathy Bates steals the show with her manic performance.
The second: Stephen King is a great writer. Popular though he may be (Why is that a moniker some academics use to put down authors? Oh, pretensions...), this man knows how to write a story that keeps the reader engaged. He moves you along. He weaves a web like a spider and traps you inside it, gently shaking one of the webbings from the outside, till he inches closer to the heart of the web where he's had you the entire time. When King writes a novel, he has readers in the palm of his hand.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
This is a great Stephen King work of Art. Great read. Movie adaptation is good, but misses a lot of the marks Mr. King presents in this great book.Published 3 months ago by fusion600
I struggled to put this book down...absolutely fantastic read!!Published 3 months ago by Jessica Lavers
Bought the book as a gift for someone else; arrived in very good condition.Published 8 months ago by KKoo
I only like a select few of Stephen King books, I am sure different people write for him, but this one was good.Published 10 months ago by Deb
The book is so much better than the movie. I always read the books first and this was no different. A fantastic read for all ages.Published 16 months ago by Janet Stewart
I really enjoyed this one. It felt so realistic, which made it feel very creepy.
The protagonist, Paul, is an author that ends up in the care of a crazy fan/ex-nurse... Read more
I can't believe anyone found this novel boring! If anything most books have a little flat spot in the middle and this one just keeps getting better and more chilling as you go! Read morePublished on Oct. 29 2011 by Poetkitty