Monday, October 17, 2016

doctor sleep and the lure of the sequel

While I was reading Doctor Sleep I was bouncing back and forth between my memories of the novel, written by Stephen King in 1977, and the movie adaptation by director Stanley Kubrick, from 1980. I suspect King may have had both in his mind as well. Although it is well-documented that King didn't love the film version, Jack Nicholson's portrayal of Jack Torrance was indelible, as were Shelley Duvall as his wife Wendy and the Overlook Hotel itself. The sins of the father will play out in his gifted son.

The grown-up Dan Torrance, a recovering alcoholic, just like dear old dad, now uses his ability to "shine" to help the dying cross over peacefully. He is contrasted with a young girl named Abra, who may shine even more strongly than young Dan ever did. Complicating matters are a bunch of creepy supernatural folks who seem to thrive on the energy of young shiners. Uh oh.

All of the literary links and in-jokes  relating to The Shining aside, the central compelling story of Dan's link to Abra, and their desire to use and understand their abilities while staying human is what really works in Doctor Sleep. King has always got people, and how they talk and interact. The spooky stuff is actually the least interesting aspect of this novel.


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