The Shining

An iconic supernatural horror novel

Stephen King is one of those iconic novelists you turn to, the moment that there is some much needed desire to immerse yourself in creepy tales. This supernatural thriller, titled “The Shining”, throws at you a mix of ghosts and what happens when you get an eerie paranormal vision that will foretell what is about to happen in the future. The protagonist is a playwright, Jack Dorrance, who previously use to be a raging alcoholic (with temper troubles and disenchanted father-son values, for it) but now is somewhat recovering from it all. Accompanied by Wendy (his wife) and Danny (his young 5-year-old son), Jack goes on a trip to the Overlook Hotel, Colorado.

The hotel is designed in ancient undertones, and is actually a mountain resort that has a shady past. But Jack does not care about any of this and instead prays that solitary confinement will help him to finally finish the play he has been working on, except then something unexpected happens. Danny has telepathy, second sight and paranormal powers, dubbed as “The Shining” and this immediately turns him into an unfavourable guest at the hotel. Danny genuinely believes that the hotel has a positive effect on Jack even though it is not warming to him because of “The Shining” for Danny can sense the bad spirits and also since Overlook cannot control his spirit at all. Overlook is filled with bad fruits from the past and ‘the leading spirit’ in the place changes appearances and gets violent with objects and starts to possess Jack instead; Danny’s father because of that grows more and more disturbed, each and every second.

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As breaking of objects in the hotel, drives the family out in the winter snow, acts as the calm points in the novel, you get a taste of what lies ahead in the supposedly deserted Overlook: an undesirable presence in the bathtub of 217, loud victimised spirits of the Mafia, living in the presidential suite, a set of twins at the end of the hall, party people dressed in animal masks, blood flowing from the elevator, far too much creepy surrounding Danny, and animal topiaries in bushes excessively sprouting cold shoulders. All of these horrors do not seem like something too awful but then Wendy constantly tries to remove this suffocating feeling inside of her, that seems like someone is actually pressing down on her heart and no matter how hard she tries, it carries on. Add to this is Jack suddenly going completely insane: he is instructed by a ghost (a bartender) to kill his own family and Jack does not hesitate.

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Is it hallucination? Is it pure insanity? Jack tries hard to throw his own family into the hotel’s past tragedy and let a mirroring of all the events in it kill them, in the end. Jack’s new grotesque fantasies gets scary when Danny meets an imaginary friend Tony, that is like a barometer of all things bad that are supposed to happen in the future. The cook in the hotel, Dick Hallorann, also has these exact same powers Danny does and he regularly tries to save the young boy and his mother from Jack’s insanity, sometimes even through conversations carried out through mental secret messages with Danny. Danny tries to act brave and rebellious but lands in more trouble for it but in the end it pays off: when the spirit temporarily loses control of Jack, he tells his son to run away and Danny responds to this by telling him the boiler in the attic is going to explode. When Jack goes there to save Overlook, the boiler explodes and Jack dies, as the hotel lies in tatters. The book is truly engrossing reading on the power of telepathic and paranormal powers, and how it can also save the day!

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