REVEAL: The Shining by Stephen King is the book cited in Books & Beginnings IX. I read a lot of Stephen King over the years. I suppose I did like horror, but with the master, it was more than that. Review the opening line of The Shining.
There is a reason Stephen King is considered a master. In two sentences, the reader sees two men clearly. We already know stories about vampires, ghosts, and ghouls. His stories are not original. It’s the characters and how they interact with the circumstances he puts them in.
I have read tons of horror, and none come close to creating the way King is able to do. I do believe this man bleeds onto his pages. In fact, much of King’s work in under-appreciated because of genre. What he writes isn’t horrifying because of vampires, werewolves, and things that go boom in the night. What makes his work horrifying is that it is about the flawed humanity in everyone of us. The monsters are secondary. There is no other like Stephen King. Not now, not then, not tomorrow.
King takes a flawed man like Jack Torrance, a man who slowly becomes the monster in The Shining, but as reader, you root for him and his family to somehow survive it all. Because Jack Torrance is not a boogie man in the closet. He’s a human. He simply went wrong. So many of us do. And that is the hallmark of a great antagonist.
UP NEXT: Another book I devoured in a day that altered my thinking once more.
“I’ve watched through his eyes, I’ve listened through his ears, and I tell you he’s the one. Or at least as close as we’re going to get.”
“That’s what you said about the brother.”
“The brother tested out impossible. For other reasons. Nothing to do with his ability.”