Doctor Sleep is the sequel to The Shining, Stephen King’s 1977 best-seller. In an interview with NPR’s David Greene, King tells why he returned to Danny and the characters of the Overlook Hotel for this book.
I wanted to revisit Danny and see what he was like as a grown-up. I think that we all have this … desire to reconnect with friends from when we were younger — you know, that’s the whole basis of high school and college reunions. So, I was also wanting to re-meet some of the people I knew from The Shining. I also wanted to investigate this whole idea about, can we rise above our parents? Can we rise above the mistakes that our parents made or the character flaws that our parents had?
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 spunky twelve-year-old 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 devoted readers of The Shining and satisfy anyone new to this icon in the King canon. (Amazon)
Unlike many of his previous novels, where people die from flying manhole covers or alien monsters, many of King’s victims in this book die from simple old age. Is the 67-year-old getting mellow? Asked about death, King says:
I’m very interested in the actual act of dying, which is the last great human action that we have in our lives. It’s the one event in our lives that no one can describe adequately because nobody comes back to talk about it.
The Shining was King’s third novel, Doctor Sleep is, holy cow, his 51st. Has he gotten better with time? That depends on who you ask. Some people were apparently so scarred by The Shining that nothing will ever frighten them again. Others, well, Doctor Sleep won the 2013 Bram Stoker Award for Best Novel.
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