The best book to read – The Shining by Stephen King

One of Stephen King’s best works, and among the all-time scariest books, The Shining is the best book to read in the horror fiction genre. The book published in 1977, is King’s bestseller that cemented his place as the king of horror. From the introduction of the central characters – the specially gifted child Danny, his father – the obsessive, recovering alcoholic and struggling writer Jack Torrence, the strong but worried mother Wendy Torrence, Stephen King shines in every page.

There is suspense, anticipation and raw fear – each feeling overpowering the other that makes the book a compulsive page turner! On Jack’s job assignment as the caretaker of the Overlook Hotel in Colorado, their family moves to the hotel for the off season when it is deserted and cut off from the world. The child Danny has the exceptional psychic ability called “the shining” – the gift of visualizing the Overlook Hotel’s horrific past and his father’s violent overtures in the future. The book makes even the most rational of readers to rethink about paranormal forces and extrasensory perceptions.

But what strikes one most while reading this book is the brilliant inter-twining of the surreal with the very real problem of alcoholism. The father’s alcohol addiction combined with his all-consuming ambition to become a phenomenal writer makes him scarier than the ghosts in the Overlook Hotel – the perfect setting where the horror unfolds. Whether Jack succeeds in his struggle against alcoholism and writer’s block or does the liquor get the better of his senses forms the crux of the plot.

Stephen King’s intelligent use of a child’s extrasensory power in expressing views about marriage, divorce, career and alcoholism gives simple but lucid insights into these complex issues. A child’s world is one where words are few and filled with visuals, sounds and imaginary characters. Through the child’s eyes, King presents each element of the Overlook Hotel in detail, painting a mental image of what Danny feels and sees in his mind.

When Danny sees the word RE DRUM repeatedly in his dreams without knowing its reference to alcohol (Red Rum) – the monster that is about to destroy his family, we can’t help but feel his angst and helplessness that we almost want to shout out to Danny what it means and help him out! Such is the overpowering effect of the horrors that King inflicts upon this young child. If you’re looking for an arresting read, this is definitely one!

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