Stephen King's most gripping and unforgettable novel, Bag of Bones, is a story of grief and a lost love's enduring bonds, of a new love haunted by the secrets of the past, of an innocent child caught in a terrible crossfire.
Set in the Maine territory King has made mythic, Bag of Bones recounts the plight of forty-year-old bestselling novelist Mike Noonan, who is unable to stop grieving even four years after the sudden death of his wife, Jo, and who can no longer bear to face the blank screen of his word processor.
Now his nights are plagued by vivid nightmares of the house by the lake. Despite these dreams, or perhaps because of them, Mike finally returns to Sara Laughs, the Noonans' isolated summer home.
He finds his beloved Yankee town familiar on its surface, but much changed underneath -- held in the grip of a powerful millionaire, Max Devore, who twists the very fabric of the community to his purpose: to take his three-year-old granddaughter away from her widowed young mother. As Mike is drawn into their struggle, as he falls in love with both of them, he is also drawn into the mystery of Sara Laughs, now the site of ghostly visitations, ever-escalating nightmares, and the sudden recovery of his writing ability. What are the forces that have been unleashed here -- and what do they want of Mike Noonan?
As vivid and enthralling as King's most enduring works, Bag of Bones resonates with what Amy Tan calls "the witty and obsessive voice of King's powerful imagination." It's no secret that King is our most mesmerizing storyteller. In Bag of Bones -- described by Gloria Naylor as "a love story about the dark places within us all" -- he proves to be one of our most moving.
Four years after the death of his beloved wife, Jo, novelist Mike Noonan is ready to do something about his prolonged writer's block and his intense nightmares, which feature his summer cottage on Dark Score Lake in rural Maine. He returns to the cottage, called Sara Laughs, and upon moving in, his life is taken up with various supernatural experiences. He also falls in love with a young widow and her three-year-old daughter, begins writing again, and discovers dark undercurrents at work in his seemingly tranquil community. King's (The Gunslinger, Audio Reviews, LJ 11/15/98) strength here, as always, is weaving a compelling story of the supernatural into the apparent normalcy of everyday life. His reading of this novel is at best a mixed bag (no pun intended), lacking the resonance and character/voice differentiation that we would find in the performance of a professional reader, but, and not surprisingly, he does have the regionalism of the rural Maine voice nailed. In any case, this program will be extremely popular. Recommended. Kristen L. Smith, Loras Coll. Lib., Dubuque, IA -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
Showing 1-4 of the 4 most recent reviews
1 . One of his best.
Posted June 04, 2011 by LittleLill , Lakeland, FLI read this book a long time ago. I'v read about 75% of his books. (No Dark Towers).
I also found a used copy of it on books on tape. I think it had 21 tapes. My husband and I lisened to it from NY to Fl. It was definitely one of his very best books. I lent out the tapes and never got them back, I could listen to it again. I love his books, I'm his #1
fan, don't you know!!!!!
2 . great language
Posted January 10, 2011 by amy , ohioBag of Bones is one of my favorite Stephen King novels. King has a great knack for describing relationships, perhaps because he has been married for long himself. After reading many of his pages in this book and "Lisey's Story" I always find myself nodding my head, thinking "yes, it's just like that!" The story in itself is interesting and always leaves me feeling creeped by the end, but my favorite part of this book, which I have now read three times, is the language. The language he uses for love, loss, and life. Thanks Stephen, you haven't let me down yet.
3 . Decent Stephen King
Posted August 10, 2009 by James Davis , Dallas, TXAs are most of King's novels, it's a long read filled with lots of creepy and foreboding moments. Alas the ending was a little anti-climatic. Oh, it's not a passive ending by any means but I was fairly neutral about where King took it. King really attaches you to the characters and this one will fly by as you dig into it.
4 . Great, chilling story.
Posted March 19, 2009 by Bill Curtis , St. Louis, MOI, like many others, am a fan of suspense/horror stories. In this genre Stephen King has earned a reputation like no other and clearly sets himself apart. For me, his best seller Bag of Bones stands out as a favorite because of the depth of the story (more than the typical one-dimensional "spooky story") and interwoven themes. Definitely worth it!
June 01, 1999
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Excerpt from Bag Of Bones by Stephen King
On a very hot day in August of 1994, my wife told me she was going down to the Derry Rite Aid to pick up a refill on her sinus medicine prescription -- this is stuff you can buy over the counter these days, I believe. I'd finished my writing for the day and offered to pick it up for her. She said thanks, but she wanted to get a piece of fish at the supermarket next door anyway; two birds with one stone and all of that. She blew a kiss at me off the palm of her hand and went out. The next time I saw her, she was on TV. That's how you identify the dead here in Derry -- no walking down a subterranean corridor with green tiles on the walls and long fluorescent bars overhead, no naked body rolling out of a chilly drawer on casters; you just go into an office marked PRIVATE and look at a TV screen and say yep or nope.
The Rite Aid and the Shopwell are less than a mile from our house, in a little neighborhood strip mall which also supports a video store, a used-book store named Spread It Around (they do a very brisk business in my old paperbacks), a Radio Shack, and a Fast Foto. It's on Up-Mile Hill, at the intersection of Witcham and Jackson.
She parked in front of Blockbuster Video, went into the drugstore, and did business with Mr. Joe Wyzer, who was the druggist in those days; he has since moved on to the Rite Aid in Bangor. At the checkout she picked up one of those little chocolates with marshmallow inside, this one in the shape of a mouse. I found it later, in her purse. I unwrapped it and ate it myself, sitting at the kitchen table with the contents of her red handbag spread out in front of me, and it was like taking Communion. When it was gone except for the taste of chocolate on my tongue and in my throat, I burst into tears. I sat there in the litter of her Kleenex and makeup and keys and half-finished rolls of Certs and cried with my hands over my eyes, the way a kid cries.
The sinus inhaler was in a Rite Aid bag. It had cost twelve dollars and eighteen cents. There was something else in the bag, too -- an item which had cost twenty-two-fifty. I looked at this other item for a long time, seeing it but not understanding it. I was surprised, maybe even stunned, but the idea that Johanna Arlen Noonan might have been leading another life, one I knew nothing about, never crossed my mind. Not then.
Jo left the register, walked out into the bright, hammering sun again, swapping her regular glasses for her prescription sunglasses as she did, and just as she stepped from beneath the drugstore's slight overhang (I am imagining a little here, I suppose, crossing over into the country of the novelist a little, but not by much; only by inches, and you can trust me on that), there was that shrewish howl of locked tires on pavement that means there's going to be either an accident or a very close call.
This time it happened -- the sort of accident which happened at that stupid X-shaped intersection at least once a week, it seemed. A 1989 Toyota was pulling out of the shopping-center parking lot and turning left onto Jackson Street. Behind the wheel was Mrs. Esther Easterling of Barrett's Orchards. She was accompanied by her friend Mrs. Irene Deorsey, also of Barrett's Orchards, who had shopped the video store without finding anything she wanted to rent. Too much violence, Irene said. Both women were cigarette widows.
Esther could hardly have missed the orange Public Works dump truck coming down the hill; although she denied this to the police, to the newspaper, and to me when I talked to her some two months later, I think it likely that she just forgot to look. As my own mother (another cigarette widow) used to say, "The two most common ailments of the elderly are arthritis and forgetfulness. They can be held responsible for neither."