book review: the shining

A week or two ago I’d read some of Rob Ager’s analysis of Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining and when I was reading it (and some of it is better than the video where he talks about Stanley Kubrick using the film to espouse Antony Sutton-esque railings against fiat currency) I realized I’d never actually read Stephen King’s The Shining. So I fixed that. It had been a long time since I’d read a Stephen King book.

It is quite a different story than the movie, but I enjoyed it. There’s more shining in general. Jack’s anger and alcohol issues have more background to them, Wendy kills Jack but he keeps on coming because he’s being worn as a mask by the hotel, and of course there are topiary monsters and the hotel explodes at the end. I think the best thing about the book in comparison is the Halloran race to come and rescue them. It actually feels like it’s going to mean something, and you get a sense of how long the tense trip from Florida was. And he doesn’t get killed on arrival (though he does get some teeth smashed out). I guess it’s because Stephen King is a more traditional storyteller than Kubrick.

I enjoyed the comparison of the versions that happened as I read it. I was negotiating which bits I could integrate into my future viewings of the movie (in the same kind of way you use other Batman stories selectively to interpret the Batman story before your eyeballs). I’m glad I did it.

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