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Needful Things (1991)

por Stephen King

Otros autores: Ver la sección otros autores.

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9,261111627 (3.71)1 / 166
A newcomer opens a shop in Castle Rock, Me., bringing bargains as well as nightmares and disasters to the town.
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4.5⭐️ ( )
  deannachapman | Sep 15, 2021 |
Through this long journey back through the King bibliography, I've discovered that some books I thought were great the first time around were even better the second time around (The Shining, Cujo, The Stand, It). Some I didn't think that much of the first go-round aged much better than expected (The Long Walk, Pet Sematary). Some that I enjoyed the first time around didn't measure up the second time (Four Past Midnight, The Dark Half).

But rarely have I remembered the feeling I had for a book and have the exact same feeling the second time around. Until Needful Things.

This was never one of my favourite books the first time around--despite, if I recall, King calling his "last Castle Rock novel" at the time. With a statement like that, I remember anticipating the hell out of this novel, but it just didn't work for me.

I wasn't crazy about the characters. And, though Leland Gaunt was fun, the whole "Gaunt wasn't sure why he did what he did. He did it just because" thing flat out bugged me. I'm not saying I need everything spelled out, but that just felt lazy to me.

Interesting side note - I remember being confused after having finished The Dark Half because I distinctly remembered someone picking up a car and there being a straight-up Lovecraft reference, and yet, it wasn't there.

It wasn't until Ace Merrill picked up Gaunt's Tucker that it came back to me. It was in this novel, not that one. Huh.

One final note. Not sure who thinks it's a good idea to add dramatic music and/or sound effects to audiobooks, but please, for the love of all that's holy, fucking stop it. It's irritating as all hell. ( )
  TobinElliott | Sep 3, 2021 |
Liked it, but not too much. Got a bit strange at the end, but the book was strange as a whole. Liked the references to Cujo even though I've never read it. There are a lot of other references that I don't understand, but maybe I will later. ( )
  jhavens12 | Sep 1, 2021 |
NEEDFUL THINGS is one Stephen King book that sat on my shelf far too long before I got around to reading it. It uses one of his basic tropes, that of the small community beset by an outside evil, one that worms its way into the heart of said community, and then wrecks havoc. In SALEM’S LOT, the title town met the evil that was Mr. Barlow, the vampire; in IT, the town is Derry and the villain is Pennywise the Dancing Clown, in THE TOMMYKNOCKERS, it’s the little town of Haven overrun by an alien presence let loose from a long buried spacecraft. In this book, the town in question is Castle Rock, Maine, the setting of a number of King’s previous works, and the evil, which sets up shop on Main Street, is Leland Gaunt, the proprietor of a new knickknack store called Needful Things. Those who enter Gaunt’s establishment find an item that is their heart’s desire, be it a Sandy Koufax baseball card, a pair of sunglasses worn by Elvis himself, a Bazun fishing rod, or a charm that miraculously cures arthritis. Once the unsuspecting lay eyes on the item they secretly lust after, they will do anything to have it, and it is their lucky day, for Mr. Gaunt doesn’t ask for payment in currency, instead asking his ensnared customers to perform a “harmless” prank on another member of the community. These pranks are anything but benign; instead they push the buttons of their victims, hitting them right in their fears, hates, and resentments. Soon, a chain reaction of escalating violence is rippling through the town of Castle Rock, building toward a bloodbath while Mr. Gaunt patiently waits inside his store for it all go down.

I liked this book a lot, it’s not THE STAND or THE SHINING, but for a plot that is a basic potboiler, King gets everything out of it that he possibly could. Maybe a more subtle writer might have done more with the story, it certainly has possibilities, but subtlety is not why I read Stephen King. My paperback copy comes in at 700+ pages, so there is space to set the table and introduce the varied citizens of Castle Rock, recognizable to any Constant Reader as his usual crew of narrow minded, covetous, foul tempered and foul mouthed small town Maine residents. One particular rotten apple has a first name of Danforth, which surely was a swipe at J. Danforth Quayle, who was Vice President at the time the book was written, and who was considered to be rather feckless by his critics. There are references to VCRs, fax machines, Princess Phones, the movie YOUNG GUNS, that does date the book to the early ‘90s, but once I was immersed in the story, I didn’t really notice. The pace in the middle section does sag a bit – Ace Merrill’s trip to Boston goes on too long – but once the story really gets going at the end of the second act, it becomes a real page turner. Alan Pangborn and Polly Chambers, the novel’s main characters, are the kind of flawed protagonists King writes well, and Leland Gaunt is the kind of antagonist familiar to King’s books, an evil that is never quite truly explained, and that’s just fine. Like the malevolent force behind the doors at the Overlook Hotel, Gaunt appears to be an entity who feeds upon human weakness, and in Castle Rock, he finds a buffet. There’s a creepy spider, and plenty of gore, but one of the more horrific aspects of the story was how well King gets into the tyranny of constant pain, as with Polly’s arthritis of the hands. There are references to earlier King books set in and around Castle Rock – CUJO, THE BODY, THE DEAD ZONE, THE SUN DOG, THE DARK HALF – that are a real treat for us Constant Readers. This being a Stephen King book, there are some heavy handed knocks at organized religion, and having one prominent town resident being a closeted homosexual comes off as a tired cliché now. In the end, if NEEDFUL THINGS (an apt description of Gaunt’s unwary victims) doesn’t quite measure up to King’s best books, it is because we have seen its premise, themes, and tropes in earlier books. Still, there’s nothing wrong with using familiar chords to play a different tune.

After this book, King washed his hands of Castle Rock, but reading this novel now, and looking back at the passage of time, I wish King in the latter part of his career might reconsider, and give us a story that tells us what happened to that town in the years since. If not, at least King should think about bringing back Leland Gaunt for another appearance in a different book, he’s a great villain. And looking back, maybe we shouldn’t have had so much fun at Dan Quayle’s expense, we’ve seen much worse than him come and go in the years since. ( )
  wb4ever1 | Jul 30, 2021 |
Needful Things by Stephen King (1997)
  arosoff | Jul 10, 2021 |
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Nombre del autorRolTipo de autor¿Trabajo?Estado
King, StephenAutorautor principaltodas las edicionesconfirmado
Dobner, TullioTraductorautor secundarioalgunas edicionesconfirmado
Rekiaro, IlkkaTraductorautor secundarioalgunas edicionesconfirmado
Wiemken, ChristelTraductorautor secundarioalgunas edicionesconfirmado
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Ladies and gentlemen, attention, please!
Come in closed where everyone can see!
I got a tale to tell, it isn't gonna cost a dime!
(And if you believe that,
we're gonna get along just fine.)
-Steve Earle
"Snake Oil"
I have heard of many going astray even in the village streets, when the darkness was so thick you could cut it with a knife, as the saying is . . .
-Henry David Thoreau, Walden
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A newcomer opens a shop in Castle Rock, Me., bringing bargains as well as nightmares and disasters to the town.

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