The Shining by Stephen King
Published: July 1st 1980
Jack Torrance’s new job at the Overlook Hotel is the perfect chance for a fresh start. As the off-season caretaker at the atmospheric old hotel, he’ll have plenty of time to spend reconnecting with his family and working on his writing. But as the harsh winter weather sets in, the idyllic location feels ever more remote…and more sinister. And the only one to notice the strange and terrible forces gathering around the Overlook is Danny Torrance, a uniquely gifted five-year-old.
The Shining is simply incredible. A flawless ghost story. This is Stephen King in his prime. A master storyteller utilizing his talent to tell a stunning paranormal story. There are no extreme elements to this story (like those that are often seen in later King books.)
The world within the story is rich with classic gothic horror tropes. The Shining pays respect to the gothic greats. Such a keen attention to details. This is one of the books triggers that instantly captured my attention.
This is the ultimate haunted house novel. It is not the house or the haunters that drive a good horror novel but the hauntees. Jack Torrance is the perfect foil for an evil house. He is troubled and unsure of himself. He is a time bomb waiting to go off with just the right push and the overlook Hotel knows it. King shows in this book that he is the master of the slow build. The Shining is not just a great supernatural novel. It is a great psychological thriller.
It remains a very scary story. The things that stand out for me now are not so much the deader rising up out of a bathtub to pursue a curious child, although that is still pretty creepy, or the mobile topiary, which still works pretty well at making the hair on one’s neck and arms stand at attention. King was using the haunted house trope to look at more personal demons & those shine through clearly.
The Shining has left a huge mark on popular culture. References from both the movie and the book appearing everywhere from episodes of The Simpsons to features in the Funko Pop collections.