1979 Stephen King – The Long Walk Audiobook read by Kirby Heybourne
Long prior to Katniss Everdeen picked her up and boldly targeted at the bureaucratic villains of The Hunger Games, there was Ray Garrity, a child sacrificed by the USA of America to the amusement of its blood thirsty citizens. Obviously, prior to that came Shirley Jackson’s terrifying tale of ritualized mob violence “The Lottery,” and before that we had gladiators squaring off against hungry beasts in ancient Rome. Human sacrifice is a theme as old as the written word, therefore it makes great sense that Stephen King, having an obsessive documentarian of the darker side of the human psyche, would plumb these depths for content. Stephen King – The Long Walk Audiobook.
Back in 1985, King release the book The Long Walk under the pen name Richard Bachman. It’s set during the present day, and while the America of King’s creativity is readily recognizable, there are several important elements that mark this planet as a terrible, twisted variation of our very own. To begin with, it appears as though there’s a militaristic government running the nation, one that squelches any sign up uprising by eliminating citizens from their houses and disposing of these quietly. Second, there is the yearly “Long Walk.” Part sporting event, part intimidation strategy, the Long Walk is a coordinated event that rounds 100 adolescent boys from all over the country, drops them off at the Maine-Canada edge, and commands them to walk until their bodies give out or their minds break, whichever occurs first. On the upside, there’s a chance that each boy could make it into the end, gaining fame and riches beyond their wildest dreams. There may be just 1 victor. And did I mention that anybody who collapses below the set pace (four miles per hour) over three times in a period of 3 hours is instantly shot? Stephen King – The Long Walk Audiobook Free. A simple thing like quitting to urinate, or even stumbling on the uneven surface, can result in a barbarous execution, completed from the cold-eyed armed soldiers who stand watch over the gruesome parade.
From that description, an individual might expect an inordinate amount of violence. After all, 99 boys need to perish before the novel can end. Yet the minutes of action are few and far between; the worst horror, King reveals, isn’t found at the sharp crack of a bullet ripping through bone, but rather in witnessing the slow rot of self and life. Insanity is not.
Although a novel about a group of people talking and walking may seem boring to some, I guarantee you that it is not (further proof can be found in Tolkien’s The Two Towers and Cormac McCarthy’s The Road). This might not be King’s greatest novel, but it is still a fascinating page-turner, as well as a psychological study of a little group of characters. Stephen King – The Long Walk Audiobook Download. As the book progressed, I became increasingly spent in Ray Garrity’s life. Compared to another walkers–and other teenage boys Garrity is a type man, empathetic and considerate. He creates bonds with others immediately, entering into a loosely knit group with several of his rivals. They don’t form an alliance, but yet they do have to know each other’s quirks and failings. Some boys go against the barbarous nature of the competition so as to aid their buddies endure. Just because there are minutes of gut-wrenching fear, there are also moments of humor and flashes of empathy. However, King is at his best when he is twisting the knife, and despite the relatively simple plot point, The Long Walk offers ample opportunities for King to do precisely that. Stephen King – The Long Walk Audiobook Free Download.
I do not mean to gloss over the failings of this early novel, or to imply that this is excellent literature; there are plenty of plot holes and some fairly purple prose, but finally I enjoyed The Long Walk as both a gripping story and a great example of King’s basic principles, especially his ability to shoot mundane things and turn them to sources of extreme terror. 1 foot before another, the figures go gradually into death and madness, as all America watches, placing bets and hammering on walkers. The arrangement is familiar, yet completely unlike anything I’ve read. It’s darker compared to Hunger Games, and just as creepy as “The Lottery.” The Long Walk may not be a masterpiece, but it is an important piece of the puzzle for anybody wanting to decipher King’s literary history. Stephen King – The Long Walk Audio Book.
The assumption: 100 teenage boys are picked by a Lebanese draft lottery by a despotic alternate-history version of the US army, and told to walk till they stop. If they drop below four mph they receive a warning. Three warnings and they are shot dead. Of the 100 who begin the walk, only one survives, and he is granted the greatest prize: whatever he wants for the rest of his life. And that’s it. It’s a audio book that begins with 100 characters who, slowly but surely, are whittled down to a single. Sometimes it occurs in bursts of vivid description, their infractions logged and detailed, the bullets ringing out from the pages; occasionally it occurs via word of mouth as the boys that are left alive gossip about their dwindling numbers. However, you understand that 99 of those boys will die, and the audio book will end. It’s referred to as “the federal game”, and that’s a large chunk of it: entertainment, watched by millions on television. But that is not all, and it is certainly not enough. The Long Walk by Stephen King Audiobook.
The boy we readers need to win will be 16-year-old Ray Garraty. He does not know why he’s doing the Walk actually: merely that, if his number was called and he was given the chance to back out, he didn’t. Greed and the promise of glory took him that far, and they’d be the things that would carry him to the conclusion of the race: that’s Garraty’s sense. He meets another boys for the first time since they wait on the start line, and we discover that they all have their motivations. For some, it is the decoration itself; the pot of gold in the end. Some of the boys have hidden, darker motives for doing the Walk. However they all drop, and they all die. And in the conclusion, days of ceaseless walking afterwards, feet hobbled and flayed and bloody, his friends shot dead before his own eyes, one of these survives. Although, as McVries, a boy whom Garraty befriends, is quick to point out, it is a raw form of survival: a success in which the decoration is to realise that nothing could make up for what you’ve seen and what you’ve done. Stephen King – The Long Walk Audiobook.
The Long Walk, it’s simple to see, is a metaphor for war; especially, the continuing battle in Vietnam which was taking place throughout the novel’s gestation: the inaugural draft, the terror of seeing new friends die, the seeming lack of motive for it occurring in the first place. To all concerned, it is infinite; or, rather, there’s only 1 end. And the winner – I will not spoil who it’s here — is damaged beyond belief. King manages to encapsulate some of what it must be like to survive when all around you is blood and gunshots from the darkness and your friends falling to their deaths. The Long Walk Audiobook Download. It’s very tempting in these rereads for me to focus on that I was when I read the audio book for the very first time, but occasionally needs must: as a teenaged boy, I watched so much of myself at the protagonists of The Long Walk which it frightened me to read it. With the first Iraq war feeling as if it had been on the cusp of turning into something which could, in certain crazy long run, directly involve mepersonally, it was scarier still. The jingoistic nature of army recruitment, the cries of doing your duty and honouring your country, all that, it’s all in The Long Walk: in the pride the Major inspires at the start and end, in the national anthems and parades and flags draped over jeeps; at the manner that the Walkers, hating the Major as the Walk goes on, cease to applaud if he passes in some jarring show of respect; in the lifeless eyes and unfaltering bullets of the soldiers told to kill those Walkers who’ve done nothing wrong except cease walking; and in the Walkers themselves, that do not understand why they signed up, and also don’t know why they’re doing so, but know that they cannot stop until they’re told it’s finished. Stephen King – The Long Walk Audiobook.