I have to say one of my favorite writers is Stephen King. Sure, his greatest work – The Stand – may be over thirty years old and sometimes his novels can go on a bit longer than the reader might appreciate but in the end no one stands in my mind as a better master at providing fun reading. Now King has a sequel to his classic The Shining, entitled Doctor Sleep, hitting book stores on September 24th. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, King teases a bit of info about the story, its finale, and even takes time to get in another dig at the film version of The Shining and director Stanley Kubrick.
“…people would ask me is, ‘How come [his dad] Jack Torrance never tried AA?’ Because he was this total dry drunk in the book who never goes near a meeting. When the [sequel] idea would pop up in my mind, I would think, ‘Now Danny’s 20, or now he’s 25. I wonder if he’s drinking like his father?’ Finally I decided, ‘Okay, why don’t I use that in the story and just revisit the whole issue?’ Like father, like son.”
As for what readers might expect in the climax of the story King adds, “I had a chance to return things to the New England setting that I know, but I did go back to Colorado and looked around and said, ‘I’ve got to try to bring this back around to where the original book was.’ Everything should come home again. So there is actually a climax in-let’s put it this way-an area people will remember. I’m not sure if this is going to be a problem for readers or not, but Doctor Sleep is a sequel to the novel. It’s not a sequel to the Kubrick film. At the end of the film, the Overlook is still there. It just kind of freezes. But at the end of the book, it burns down.”
Here’s the synopsis for Doctor Sleep:
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.