I just finished Stephen King’s The Shining, in anticipation of reading the recently released Doctor Sleep. Doctor Sleep, a sequel to The Shining, features a grown-up but still traumatized Danny Torrance. The Shining is one of the most horrifying books I’ve ever read, and it is amazing how King manages to heighten the fear around harmless things like topiary art to an intense level.
I love to read King’s comments on his work, as he always has great perspective. Here are some great thoughts written by the author in an introduction to a new edition of The Shining, written in 2001:
A killer motivated to his crimes by supernatural forces was, it seemed to me, almost comforting once you got below the surface thrills provided by any halfway competent ghost story. A killer that might be doing it because of childhood trauma as well as these ghostly forces…ah, that seemed genuinely disturbing.
The decision I made to try and make Jack’s father a real person, one who was loved as well as hated by his flawed son, took me a long way down the road to my current beliefs concerning what is so blithely dismissed as “the horror novel.” I believe these stories exist because we sometimes need to create unreal monsters and bogies to stand in for all the things we fear in our real lives…
That truth is that monsters are real, and ghosts are real, too. They live inside us, and sometimes they win.
- The Shining by Stephen King (mynovelopinion.wordpress.com)
- Why Stephen King’s complaints about The Shining actually have a point (io9.com)
- Stephen King’s “The Shining” sequel is his best novel yet (salon.com)