Next Tuesday sees the long awaited release of the novel Doctor Sleep, Stephen King’s decades-later sequel to The Shining. In advance of the release, King admits that he’s a bit nervous about how his fans will receive it.
In an interview with BBC News, the master of written horror opened up about how he’s feeling at the moment, expressing that while he knows he’s a better writer than he was when he wrote The Shining, he fears that nobody is going to do anything but compare this novel to that one. “You are faced with that comparison, and that has got to make you nervous,” he said, “because there is a lot of water under the bridge. I’m a different man.”
He also admits to checking literary websites of late to see what people are saying in anticipation of the release, the majority of readers feeling that there’s no way it’ll be as good. “I am obviously an optimist, and I want them to say when they get done with it that it was as good,” said King. “But what I really want them to say is that it is better than The Shining.”
King went on to talk further about the expectations readers will have going into the book, acknowledging the fact that he knows it’s not as easy to scare us as it was back in 1977, but expressing confidence in his ability to still be able to do so. “What I want the audience to do is to fall in love with these people and really to care about them, and that creates the suspense that you need,” King said. “Love creates horror.”
As for why he decided to bring Danny Torrance back into his life, and ours, he says that came from people asking him over and over again about the fate of the character. So whatever did happen to “that kid from The Shining“? We’ll find out on September 24th!
Stephen King returns to the characters and territory of one of his most popular novels ever, The Shining, in this instantly riveting novel about the now middle-aged Dan Torrance (the boy protagonist of The Shining) and the very special twelve-year-old girl he must save from a tribe of murderous paranormals.
On highways across America a tribe of people called “The True Knot” travel in search of sustenance. They look harmless—mostly old, lots of polyester, and married to their RVs. But as Dan Torrance knows, and tween Abra Stone learns, The True Knot are quasi-immortal, living off the “steam” that children with the “shining” produce when they are slowly tortured to death.
Haunted by the inhabitants of the Overlook Hotel where he spent one horrific childhood year, Dan has been drifting for decades, desperate to shed his father’s legacy of despair, alcoholism, and violence. Finally he settles in a New Hampshire town, an AA community that sustains him, and a job at a nursing home where his remnant “shining” power provides the crucial final comfort to the dying. Aided by a prescient cat, he becomes “Doctor Sleep.”
Then Dan meets the evanescent Abra Stone, and it is her spectacular gift, the brightest shining ever seen, that reignites Dan’s own demons and summons him to a battle for Abra’s soul and survival. This is an epic war between good and evil, a gory, glorious story that will thrill the millions of hyper-devoted readers of The Shining and wildly satisfy anyone new to the territory of this icon in the King canon.
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