Sunday, July 31, 2011

Dolores Claiborne by Stephen King

I really enjoyed this Stephen King novel, first published in 1992.  A number of you have posted recently, and favourably, about various King novels and I realised I hadn't read any, although, I grew up really enjoying some of the movie and mini-series versions of his fiction.  This morning, I was at my local markets, and found  this lovely, hard covered, second hand copy of  Dolores Claiborne.  I'll admit it, it was partly the cover that got me in; eclipse, strange lighting and an old lady on a rocking chair.  I abandoned (temporarily) the fascinating, although more challenging, China Mieville novel I have been reading, and spent a wonderful afternoon completely immersed in the struggles of Dolores.

Firstly, to read a Stephen King novel in an afternoon it is clearly not one of his door-stoppers.  At less than 250 pages, I found it concise, engaging and thoroughly satisfying.  And for me a great introduction to Stephen King.

The story is told in a continuous chapterless narrative by Dolores as she makes a statement, at the local police station, pertaining to the sudden death of her elderly employer.  Dolores describes events, not only leading up to the death of the old lady for whom she has kept house for thirty years, but dark secrets from her own past, that shaped not only her life, but the lives of her children.  I am not going to say more because much of the enjoyment is in the surprising and wonderful plotting, except to say that the story takes place on a little island off the Maine coast where Dolores has lived all her life.  And I really admired King's ability to create two, sympathetic, strong and completely believable female characters, who pretty much carry this story.  The novel is a wonderful mixture of sensitive human drama and, what I assume to be, some of King's signature spine tingling effects and creepiness.  I loved it.

I will definitely be giving more of Stephen King's  novels a go.  Has anyone read Dolores Claiborne?  And what are others' favourites by King?


  1. I Love Your Blog. so much information about books.!!

    My 5 favorite Stephen King books(novels):
    The Langoliers
    The Mist
    The Shining
    Hearts in Atlantis

  2. Oh yay you read some SK! I really liked this one too. I think Different Seasons is a good collection of his novellas, it contains The Body (made into the film Stand By Me) and Rita Hayworth and The Shawshank Redemption. The whole of the Dark Tower series. It, The Eye of the Dragon, Salem's Lot, ok I'll stop here but I really could go on and on :-)

  3. I used to love Stephen King, though it's been a long time since I've read any of his books. The ones I remember really enjoying were Misery and The Shining. I also loved The Eyes of the Dragon which was slightly different from his other books as it was a fantasy novel he wrote for his children.

  4. Thanks for your review :) Despite reading many SK books, this is one I haven't gotten to yet. I would highly recommend The Green Mile, Different Seasons, The Mist, The Dead Zone, The Shining, and Carrie. That should get you started ;)

  5. I can't read anything scary; no horror for me, but I have read two Stephen King books. The first was Misery, which i read on a dare many years ago. I was totally creeped out, but I did think it was a good book.

    More recently, I read Dolores Claiborne, an I thought it was excellent. I have also seen the movie, which I thought was just as good as the book.


Comments are very welcome.