One of the greatest authors to emerge in the last 40 years, a writer of sublime literary prowess is without doubt Stephen King. From his first published work “Carrie” to his latest meaty collection of short works “The Bazaar of Bad Dreams” his talent and continued explosive output never ceases to amaze me.
To fully appreciate Doctor Sleep it is not important to have read “The Shining” but I think it helps to give a flow and continuation as we follow the life of Dan Torrance into adulthood. Dan has a gift he “shines” think of it as a form of telepathy or the transference of thoughts or feelings between two or more subjects. Not everyone has the gift of “shining” but for those who possess it they can communicate in a most wonderful way.
Dan works at a nursing home in New Hampshire, fighting alcoholism, and uses his shining power to give some peace and comfort to the dying, he thus acquires the title of Doctor Sleep. Through his spectacular gift he meets a fellow shiner Abra who is being haunted by a tribe of people known as The True Knot and their evil and colourful leader Rose the Hat. The story then follows a race against time as Dan sets out on his journey to battle for Abra’s soul and survival.
What I always find enthralling about Stephen King novels are the characters within and how they develop as the story advances. We are all a product of our childhood, the decisions that we take, the choices that we make, good or bad, as we grow into adulthood are what define us in later years. Dan Torrance had a weak mother Wendy and an alcoholic father Jack. As his father’s son he is desperate to shake his legacy of alcoholism and violence and Doctor Sleep is really about Dan’s journey of redemption and the story he has to tell. It is a truly brilliant novel, Stephen King looking deep into our human soul, and in the final analysis showing what really is important is “love and family”
There is a scene towards the end when Dan and a group of friends are nearing the end of their quest and are entering the town of Boulder where coincidently Dan was born and he decides to visit his childhood home to relive both painful and happy memories.....”Dan went on looking at the building with the peeling green paint. Once a little boy had lived here ; once he had set on the very piece of curbing where Billy Freeman now stood munching his chicken footlong. A little boy waiting for his daddy to come home from his job interview at the Overlook Hotel. He had a balsa glider, that little boy, but the wing was busted. It was okay, though. When his daddy came home, he would fix it with tape and glue. Then maybe they would fly it together. His daddy had been a scary man, and how that little boy had loved him.”
I cannot recommend highly enough Stephen King is a literary genius!