Doctor Sleep (novel)

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Doctor Sleep
Doctor Sleep.jpg
First edition cover
AuthorStephen King
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
GenreHorror
PublisherScribner
Publication date
September 24, 2013
Media typePrint (Hardcover)
Pages531
ISBN978-1-4767-2765-3
Preceded byThe Shining
 
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Doctor Sleep
Doctor Sleep.jpg
First edition cover
AuthorStephen King
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
GenreHorror
PublisherScribner
Publication date
September 24, 2013
Media typePrint (Hardcover)
Pages531
ISBN978-1-4767-2765-3
Preceded byThe Shining

Doctor Sleep is a novel by Stephen King, a sequel to King's novel The Shining (1977), released in September 2013.[1] King first mentioned the idea in November 2009. The author's official website confirmed the project on September 26, 2011.[2] The audiobook edition of Stephen King's 2012 novel The Dark Tower: The Wind Through the Keyhole, released on April 24, 2012, contains the novel's prologue read by the author.[3] The e-book publication of In the Tall Grass, a novella written by King and his son Joe Hill, contains the text of this excerpt.[4] Describing the novel on his official site, King stated that it is "a return to balls-to-the-wall, keep-the-lights-on horror".[2] Doctor Sleep reached the first position on The New York Times Best Seller lists for print and ebook fiction (combined), hardcover fiction, and ebook fiction. Doctor Sleep has been nominated for the 2013 Bram Stoker Award for Best Novel. [5]

Background information[edit]

On November 19, 2009, while on a promotional tour in Toronto, Canada for his latest novel Under the Dome, during a reading at the Canon Theatre being moderated by the filmmaker David Cronenberg, Stephen King described to the audience an idea for a sequel novel to his 1977 novel The Shining. The story, King said, would follow a character from the original novel, Danny Torrance, now in his 40s, living in New Hampshire where he works as an orderly at a hospice and helps terminally ill patients pass away with the aid of some extraordinary powers.[6] Later, on December 1, 2009, Stephen King posted a poll on his official website, asking visitors to vote for which book he should write next, Doctor Sleep or the next Dark Tower novel:

I mentioned two potential projects while I was on the road, one a new Mid-World book (not directly about Roland Deschain, but yes, he and his friend Cuthbert are in it, hunting a skin-man, which are what werewolves are called in that lost kingdom) and a sequel to The Shining called Doctor Sleep. Are you interested in reading either of these? If so, which one turns your dials more? [We] will be counting your votes (and of course it all means nothing if the muse doesn't speak).[7]

Voting ended on December 31, 2009, and it was revealed that Doctor Sleep received 5,861 votes, while The Wind Through the Keyhole received 5,812.[8]

On September 23, 2011, Stephen King received the Mason Award at the Fall for the Book event at the George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, during which he read an excerpt from Doctor Sleep.[9] The author's official site confirmed three days later that King was currently working on the novel. King finished work on the first draft in early November 2011.[10] On February 19, 2012, King read the beginning section of Doctor Sleep at the Savannah Book Festival, in Savannah, Georgia.[11]

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, King revealed that he had hired researcher Rocky Wood to work on the continuity between The Shining and Doctor Sleep.[12]

The story was partly inspired by Oscar, a therapy cat who is able to predict the deaths of terminally ill patients; says King, "I thought to myself: ‘I want to write a story about that.’ And then I made the connection with Danny Torrance as an adult, working in a hospice. I thought: ‘That’s it. I’m gonna write this book.' The cat had to be there. It always takes two things for me to get going. It’s like the cat was the transmission and Danny was the motor."[13]

Publication information[edit]

On May 8, 2012, Stephen King's official website announced a tentative publication date of January 15, 2013 for Doctor Sleep. The book was available for pre-order that same day, with the page count of 544 and an ISBN of 978-1-4516-9884-8. However, the exact date was removed the next day with the statement that a new release date is forthcoming, and the pre-order items were removed. Stephen King was not happy with the present draft of the novel and felt it needed a lot of editing. On September 18, 2012, a publication date of September 24, 2013 was announced.[14][15][16] Cemetery Dance will also publish Doctor Sleep as a limited edition in three states: Gift edition (limited to 1,750 copies), Limited edition (limited to 700 copies), and Lettered edition (limited to 52 copies), the latter two signed by Stephen King and the illustrators.[17] On March 1, 2013, Stephen King's official site unveiled the book's cover.[18]

A collector's edition was announced in August 2013 by Hodder & Staughton for publication in the United Kingdom, limited to 200 numbered copies, signed by Stephen King.[19]

An excerpt was published in the September 13, 2013 issue of Entertainment Weekly magazine.[20]

Plot[edit]

Following the events of The Shining, Danny remains psychologically traumatized, while Wendy, his mother, slowly recovers from her injuries. Angry ghosts from The Overlook Hotel eventually find Danny, including the woman from Room 217. Chef Hallorann eventually teaches Danny how to imprison the ghosts in lock boxes inside his mind.

The adult Dan reprises his father's legacy of anger and alcoholism. Dan drifts for decades, but eventually finds an AA community and gives up drinking. He settles in a New Hampshire town and works in a hospice, where his remnant psychic abilities provide comfort to the dying. With the aid of a cat that can sense when a person is about to die, Dan becomes known as "Doctor Sleep".

In the mean time, Abra, a toddler girl with psychic powers greater than Dan's, slowly and unintentionally establishes a telepathic bond with him. As she grows, the contact becomes more conscious and voluntary. One night, Abra psychically witnesses a ritual torture and murder of a boy by the True Knot, a group of quasi-immortals who wanders across America and periodically feed on "steam", a psychic essence that children with "the shining" produce when they are tortured to death. Horrified, Abra telepathically reaches out for Dan, but they are unable to do anything for the boy. At the same time, the True Knot's leader, Rose the Hat, is also aware of Abra's existence as a potential major source of sustenance.

Soon, the True Knot start to die of an infectious disease. In desperation, they send people to kidnap Abra, believing that her steam can cure them. Abra asks for Dan's help, and he reveals his connection with Abra to David, her father, and John Dalton, their family doctor. Angry and skeptical at first, David starts to believe him and go along with the plan to save his daughter. With the help of Billy, one of Dan's friends, they kill off the first team of kidnappers but Dan soon realizes that Rose the Hat will not stop pursuing her vendetta against Abra. He visits Abra's great-grandmother, who is dying of cancer, and telepathically learns from the dying woman that he and Abra's mother, Lucy, share the same father. As Abra's great-grandmother dies, Dan retrieves her diseased steam.

Abra baits Rose the Hat into confronting her at the location where the Overlook Hotel once stood. Dan and Billy show up in her place while Abra helps them using her astral projection. Dan releases the steam collected from Abra's dying great-grandmother to the group of True Knot lying in wait. Already weak from disease, the group of True Knot inadvertently inhale the steam and die. Dan and Abra fight Rose the Hat in a long psychic struggle, and with help from Billy and the ghost of Dan's father, manage to push Rose the Hat down from the overlook to her death.

Years later, on Abra's fifteen birthday, Dan cautions Abra not to repeat the same mistake as him by starting to drink or submitting to rage. Abra agrees that she will behave, but before they can finish the conversation, Dan is called back to his hospice. He sits there and comfort a dying colleague who was once his enemy.

Connections[edit]

In addition to briefly referencing Castle Rock, one of King's recurring fictional towns, Doctor Sleep lists Jerusalem's Lot as one of the "company towns" maintained by the True Knot. The novel is also notable for featuring ties to NOS4A2, written by King's son Joe Hill. Early in the novel, Danny's mentor Hallorann shares a story from his childhood in which his malevolent grandfather repeatedly threatened to hand him over to Charlie Manx, the antagonist of Hill's book. Later on in the story, Hallorann refers to the True Knot as 'Empty Devils'. This is the title of a book written by Scott Landon in Lisey's Story. There is also a bumper sticker on one of the True Knot's vehicles referencing Christmasland, Manx's alternate dimension in NOS4A2. At one point, Dan says, "There are other worlds than these," a line originally spoken by Jake Chambers in The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger. A member of the True Knot named Silent Sarey has the ability to hide herself from view, referred to as dimness - a power shared by Randall Flagg/Walter o'Dim from King's The Stand and the Dark Tower series.

References[edit]

External links[edit]