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Misery
Book
1987
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  Kirkus Review

Fans weary of King's recent unwieldy tomes can rest easy: his newest is slim, slick, and razor-keen. His first novel without supernatural elements outside of the Richard Bachman series, this psychological terror tale laced with pitch-black humor tells the nerve-jangling story of a best-selling author kidnapped and tortured by his ""number one fan."" King opens on a disorienting note as writer Paul Sheldon drifts awake to find himself in bed, his legs shattered. A beefy woman, 40-ish Annie Wilkes, appears and feeds him barbiturates. During the hazy next week, Paul learns that Annie, an ex-nurse, carried him from a car wreck to her isolated house, where she plans to keep him indefinitely. She's a spiteful misanthrope subject to catatonic fits, but worships Paul because he writes her favorite books, historical novels featuring the heroine ""Misery."" As Annie pumps him with drugs and reads the script of his latest novel, also saved from the wreck, Paul waits with growing apprehension--he killed off Misery in this new one. tn time, Annie rushes into the room, howling: she demands that Paul write a new novel resurrecting Misery just for her. He refuses until she threatens to withhold his drugs; so he begins the book (tantalizing chunks of which King seeds throughout this novel). Days later, when Annie goes to town, Paul, who's now in a wheelchair, escapes his locked room and finds a scrapbook with clippings of Annie's hobby: she's a mass-murderer. Up to here, King has gleefully slathered on the tension: now he slams on the shocks as Annie returns swinging an axe and chops off Paul's foot. Soon after, off comes his thumb; when a cop looking for Paul shows up, Annie lawnmowers his head. Burning for revenge, Paul finishes his novel, only to use the manuscript as a weapon against his captor in the ironic, ferocious climax. Although lacking the psychological richness of his best work, this nasty shard of a novel with its weird autobiographical implications probably will thrill and chill King's legion of fans. Note: the publisher plans an unprecedented first printing of one-million copies. Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Summary
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY<br>"The Washington Post - Kansas City Star - BookPage - Bookish" <br>Who is A. N. Dyer? "& Sons" is a literary masterwork for readers of "The Art of Fielding, The Emperor's Children, "and "Wonder Boys"--the panoramic, deeply affecting story of an iconic novelist, two interconnected families, and the heartbreaking truths that fiction can hide. <br>The funeral of Charles Henry Topping on Manhattan's Upper East Side would have been a minor affair (his two-hundred-word obit in "The New York Times "notwithstanding) but for the presence of one particular mourner: the notoriously reclusive author A. N. Dyer, whose novel "Ampersand" stands as a classic of American teenage angst. But as Andrew Newbold Dyer delivers the eulogy for his oldest friend, ""he suffers a breakdown over the life he's led and the people he's hurt and the novel that will forever endure as his legacy. He must gather his three sons for the first time in many years--before it's too late. <br> So begins a wild, transformative, heartbreaking week, as witnessed by Philip Topping, who, like his late father, finds himself caught up in the swirl of the Dyer family. First there's son Richard, a struggling screenwriter and father, returning from self-imposed exile in California. In the middle lingers Jamie, settled in Brooklyn after his twenty-year mission of making documentaries about human suffering. And last is Andy, the half brother whose mysterious birth tore the Dyers apart seventeen years ago, now in New York on spring break, determined to lose his virginity before returning to the prestigious New England boarding school that inspired "Ampersand." But only when the real purpose of this reunion comes to light do these sons realize just how much is at stake, not only for their father but for themselves and three generations of their family. <br> In this daring feat of fiction, David Gilbert establishes himself as one of our most original, entertaining, and insightful authors. "& Sons" is that rarest of treasures: a startlingly imaginative novel about families and how they define us, and the choices we make when faced with our own mortality. <br>NATIONAL BESTSELLER - A "NEW YORK TIMES "EDITORS' CHOICE <br>"Big, brilliant, and terrifically funny."--Jess Walter, author of "Beautiful Ruins" <br> "Extraordinary."--"Time" <br> "Smart and savage . . . Seductive and ripe with both comedy and heartbreak, "& Sons"] made me reconsider my stance on . . . the term 'instant classic.'"--NPR <br> "A big, ambitious book about fathers and sons, Oedipal envy and sibling rivalry, and the dynamics between art and life . . . "& Sons"] does a wonderful job of conjuring up its characters' memories . . . in layered, almost Proustian detail."--Michiko Kakutani, "The New York Times"<br>" "<br> " A] smart, engrossing saga . . . Perfect for fans of Jonathan Franzen or Claire Messud.""--Entertainment Weekly" <br> "This great big novel is . . . infused with warmth and wisdom about what it means to be a family."--"The Boston Globe" <br> "Audacious . . . one of the year's] most dazzlingly smart, fully realized works of fiction."--"The Washington Post"
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