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1991 Stephen King – Needful Things Audiobook read by Stephen King
Occasionally a writer attempts to get something, and it simply doesn’t work. At all. Needful Things was Stephen King’s attempt to write “The Last Castle Rock Story” and deliver his invented city, which served as the setting for all his audio books, to a finish. Only it wasn’t the final Castle Rock narrative, since the fictional burg later appeared in Bag of Bones, Lisey’s Story, Under the Dome, and numerous short stories.
Additionally, it wasn’t assumed to become a horror novel. King wanted to write a humor about the Eighties and figured that Needful Things would be his stab at satire. Stephen King – Needful Things Audiobook. This was a fantastic idea, just nobody told the marketing department and they marketed it as a horror sound book with nary a mention of satirical intent. The critics blasted it, and while it seems strange to call a audio book that sold over 1.5 million copies a collapse, it is the only Stephen King audio book in years to not reach #1 to the hardback or paperback New York Times bestseller lists. Now it is not held in very substantial regard. And there is a good reason behind that. Because all other problems aside, it is not an excellent audio book.
King began writing Needful Things in 1988 and finished in 1991, which makes it the first sound book he composed beginning to finish while sober. In an interview with The Paris Review he states, “I was in a sensitive area because it was the first thing I’d written because I was sixteen without drinking or drugging. I had been totally right, except for cigarettes.” Stephen King – Needful Things Audiobook Free.
“My thoughts based on Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker, of the PTL Club. It happened to me that in the Eighties, everything had come with a price tag, that the decade rather literally was that the sale of this century. The last items up on the cube was honor, integrity, self-respect, and innocence. From the time I got home that night, I had made a decision to turn the Eighties to a small-town curio shop called Needful Things and determine what happened. I told myself to keep it light and surreal; that should I just kept in mind the Bakkers’ doghouse, that was equipped with heaters and running water, I’d be fine.”
Stephen King Needful ThingsThe result was King’s longest sound book as It, marking the beginning of a time when his music books bulked up. After 1990, over the next sixteen years, he composed nine. Needful Things Audiobook Download. Needful Things was a big music publication, which made sense when you considered the monumental amount of plot (not story) crammed into it. A mysterious stranger arrives in Castle Rock and opens an antiques and collectibles store named Needful Things. The regional residents, each of whom comes complete with a long backstory, intricately mapped resentments, and hidden desires, start popping by his store and each finds something they really, really want. Eleven-year-old Brian Rusk finds a signed Sandy Koufax baseball match tainted city councilman, Danforth “Buster” Keeton, finds a toy which lets him forecast winning horse races; Nettie Cobb, attempting to put her life back together after serving time for murdering her husband, finds exquisite pieces of carnival glass; Cora Rusk finds a pair of sunglasses which let her picture Elvis Presley making love to her. Stephen King Needful Things Audiobook.
Gaunt prices low, low rates, but requests that every person perform a “prank” for him. Brian Rusk throws mud on Wilma Jerzyck’s sheets. Wilma blames Nettie Cobb for it, and if another customer kills Nettie’s beloved dog, Nettie blames her longtime enemy, Wilma, and eventually both women kill each other. This type of thing escalates. The one person who seems unaffected is Sheriff Alan Pangborn, most recently of The Dark Half, that winds up studying Gaunt’s true identity and has a big confrontation with him in the climax. And what a climax it is, if you let that it’s cut and pasted from previous King books. Ace Merrill, the bully from “Your Body”, is becoming from prison (Shawshank, naturally) and eventually become Gaunt’s right-hand person. He is driving around town in a magical car blowing things up, while Gaunt is distributing free firearms to his best customers, who use them to shoot up the area. Needful Things Audiobook Free Online. In the Long Run, Gaunt is conquered and Castle Rock explodes, just like Chamberlain, Maine at the end of Carrie, just like Derry in the end of It, just like Jerusalem’s Lot at the end of ‘Salem’s Lot, just like the Overlook Hotel at the end of The Shining, like you get the picture.
It never attained #1, making it the first King audio book since his Bachman music books set to neglect to do so. It debuted at #3 on the paperback list, rather than climbed any higher. The reviews were terrible. The New York Times weighed in with a snotty bit by Joe Queenan that took it as a given that King was a hack, calling his audio book, “Big, dumb, plodding, also obvious” while People Magazine wrote it was ” page after page of death-by-numbers exercise” Publishers Weekly was one of the only exceptions, saying that “the publication ranks with King’s best.” Stephen King – Needful Things Audiobook. But King, years later, stated, “The reviewers called it an unsuccessful horror novel, even though I’d supposed everybody could view it as a satire. Over the years I have begun to think that, well, maybe it wasn’t a very good music book”.
And it’s not. There is some nice writing in Needful Things, and Alan Pangborn and his best gal, Polly Chalmers, who suffers from debilitating arthritis, are good guys you really root for. There is a really shocking suicide (that ticked off Sandy Koufax to no conclusion).
King has been terrific, ever since ‘Salem’s Lot, in depicting an entire city in crisis, and he jumps from character to character with a sure, masterly hand. Wrangling a huge cast while maintaining the unfolding action apparent is not an easy thing to do and it is a strength King has used often in audio books such as ‘Salem’s Lot, Under the Dome along with The Stand. Stephen King Needful Things Full Audio Book. Needful Things feels very much like an expansion of ‘Salem’s Lot with Leland Gaunt’s shop resembling the antiques store opened by that sound publication’s vampiric duo, Straker and Barlow. Gaunt has teeth such as Barlow, he is very tall such as Barlow, the inside of his shop is likewise dim, and he has an entire “Enter freely and of your own will,” rap that he gives his customers, which is reminiscent of standard vampire patter.
Stephen King Needful ThingsBut that the Needful Things gets caught up in a gloomy wash-and-repeat routine: resident of Castle Rock has worries with another resident they enter Needful Things they find something they really want, they get hooked on it, they pull a prank on someone else, prank kicks off an escalating spiral of violence, someone dies horribly. Worse, we are treated to all of these people’s inner monologues since they obsess over their Needful Things treasure, and they sound exactly alike: greedy and vindictive. The chapters act as Stephen King Mad Libs, going through the same steps in almost the exact same voice, with only the occasional reversal of noun. Stephen King Needful Things Audiobook.
In the end of the audio book, matters take a turn to the territory of the serious cliché. Taking a cue from It, Sheriff Pangborn utilizes novelty things imbued with all the Magical Power of Believing to combat Gaunt, then he creates shadow puppets of the sparrows from The Dark Half and of Cujo out of Cujo to whip him into submission. There’s a supernatural car, like in Christine, in the orgasm, too. It is as if King has run out of imagination, something you can see from everything from Leland Gaunt’s on-the-nose name to his, literally, writhing black bag of individual souls.
But there’s something a bit more poisonous here, also. In an interview, King talks about how he follows his characters where they lead.
“When I begin a novel I’m mainly considering how neat and humorous certain ideas and scenes are. With Needful Things, once I came out of it I still was kind of saying ‘How amazing,’ whereas when you put the thoughts into practice they generally stop being neat and funny. Stephen King – Needful Things Audiobook Free. Indeed, there is a subplot at Needful Things about both of these homosexual high school teachers that have a falling out over a few misplaced cocaine and shoot each other. That’s the kind of thing where, when I thought that up I said: ‘How awesome, just how funny,’ and in regards out it’s sort of sad and dreadful.”
Stephen King Needful ThingsThat’s the least of it. The dark secrets that King grasps for in this music publication are the type of hoary old clichés last seen in made-for-TV films from the Seventies. His homosexual characters turn out to be closeted pedophiles. The only mum who had a baby out of wedlock is haunted by remorse over hiring a junkie babysitter who burned down her home. Stephen King Needful Things Audiobook (streaming online). Catholics and Baptists can’t get along. And Leland Gaunt is essentially an update of this iconic Wandering Jew personality from folklore and legend, an immortal peddler that comes to a city filled with Christians, puts them against each other using the power of economics, and then sells them firearms to capitalize on the hatred he himself has awakened. It’s definitely an accidental institution, but a toxic one, also it makes King seem older, fearful, narrow-minded, shallow, and it leaves a bad aftertaste from the reader’s mouth.
Stephen King Needful ThingsBut despite these defects the evidence is in the pudding: 1.5 million copies sold. The success of Needful Things has been credited to lots of things. The simple fact that it was a Stephen King audio book, printed at the height of his fame. Stephen King – Needful Things Audiobook. The fact that it had been marketed as “The Last Castle Rock Story” and each reader wants to pick up an event sound book, exactly the exact same way every comic audio book reader wishes to pick up the narrative that “Will Change Everything!”.
Even when they know it won’t. Some people have stated that the mania for antiques in the time it had been published had something to do with it, and there is something to this. In the Eighties, about thirty sound books a year about antiques and collectibles were published, but from 1989 to 1991, 300 were published (110 in 1991 alone). Perhaps those three items combined lifted sales to 1.5 million copies. But the audio book hasn’t had the lasting energy of additional Stephen King audio books, and its profile has mostly been maintained from the 1993 movie version starring Max Von Sydow and Ed Harris. Stephen King – Needful Things Audiobook Free.
Stephen King Needful ThingsBut as unpleasant as Needful Things is, and it’s the very definition of a slog (although individual readers’ taste for slogs may vary), it served an essential function. King strikes moments in his career when he needs to write big audio publications that purge him of his present obsessions so he can proceed to a new area of interests. And it definitely happened with Needful Things. This is the audio book where King cleaned his basement, threw all his old tricks into the incinerator, and burnt them up. From the ashes came among the most unique audio books, Gerald’s Game and Dolores Claiborne, two challenging books that, although not ideal, do not rely upon one hint from Stephen King’s Great Big Bag of Tricks. Which is a fantastic thing because by the time he reached Needful Things that bag was as filled and worn outside as Leland Gaunt’s ridiculous, writhing tote of spirits. Stephen King – Needful Things Audiobook.