TITLE: NEEFDFUL THINGS
AUTHOR: STEPHEN KING
PUBLISHER: HODDER & STOUGHTON
GENRE: HORROR FICTION
COVER TYPE: HARD BACK
BLURB FROM THE COVER
Castle Rock, Maine, where Polly Chalmers runs You Sew and Sew and Sheriff Alan Pangborn is in charge of keeping the peace. It’s a small town, and Stephen King fans might think they know its secrets pretty well, they’ve been here before.
Leland Gaunt is a stranger – and he calls his shop Needful Things. Eleven-year-old Brian Rusk is his first customer, and Brian finds just what he wants most in all the world: a 1956 Sandy Koufax baseball card. By the end of the week, Mr Gaunt’s business is fairly booming. At Needful Things there’s something for everyone.
And, of course, for everyone there is a price. For Leland Gaunt, the pleasure of doing business lies chiefly in seeing how much people will pay for their most secret dreams and desires. And at Needful Things the prices are high indeed.
For Alan and Polly, this autumn week will be an awful test – a test of will, desire, and pain. Above all, it will be a test of their ability to grasp the true nature of their enemy. They may have a chance…
But maybe not, because, as Mr Gaunt knows, almost everything is for sale; love, hope – even the human soul.
In a small town, the opening of a new store is big news.
Needful Things is one of my favourite King novels. I’ve read it at least five times maybe more. I have the movie adaptation on DVD and it’s one of my favourite films. I had a great time reading Needful Things again. I love King’s concept for the novel. It’s not the most original idea but King tackles the story in such a way he makes it seem original. King’s writing is on top form. The characters became people I loved and very close friends.
I love the title of the novel. Needful Things is the name of the shop Gaunt opens. The title perfectly describes what Gaunt offers the people of Castle Rock and how he is able to have such influence over them.
I loved King’s concept for Needful Things. Gaunt is the devil. He sells people’s most secret dreams and desires which include a special signed baseball card and a game that can predict all the winning horses in the races. He only charges people what they can afford, a few dollars here and there. The real price is a piece of his customer’s soul. He gets them to play tricks on each other, cruel tricks that poke and pry at the already simmering animosity between people. This spirals out into chaos, violence and murder with the fuming citizens turning to Gaunt for weapons they can use on each other.
I thought the characterisation was excellent in Needful Things. King offers us a large cast of characters. Each person is well written, well rounded and believable. I felt like some of the characters especially Alan and Polly were close friends, people I loved. I felt sympathy for them. I cried with them. I shared their pain. Needful Things was even more enjoyable because I cared about the great characters so much.
Needful Things is very well written. King is on top form. Being able to tell great stories is one of his strengths as a writer. Needful Things is a shining example of just how good he can be when he puts his mind to it. There are some great scenes in Needful Things. One of my favourites is when Nettie Cobb and Wilma Jerzyck, after being pitted against each other by some of Gaunt’s ‘pranks’ hack each other to pieces in the middle of the street. Another favourite scene is when Polly discovers the spider living inside the charm that has been taking away her pain from arthritis. The spider grows to a massive size when she breaks the charm and she fights and kills it. I love the way King builds tension and suspense through events gradually escalating. The pranks become increasingly personal and cruel. Alan and Polly end up at each other’s throat because of a ‘prank’ that is played on Polly. Gaunt enlists local scumbag Ace Merrill to help him blow the town up. He also enlists head selectman, Danforth ‘Buster’ Keeton, whose bordering on the edge of insanity to help him. In a matter of pages people are bumping each other off left, right and centre. I love the end of Needful Things. King goes out with a bang. I love how Alan saves the day by confronting Gaunt and sending him, in his true form running for the hills.
Needful Things is set in the fictional town of Castle Rock, Maine. Castle Rock is the setting for numerous novels, novellas and short stories. These include The Dead Zone, The Body (a novella from Different Seasons), The Dark Half and Mrs Todd’s Shortcut (a short story from Skeleton Crew). One of the reasons I love King is because of all the little links and threads that run through and connect so much of his work.
I loved Needful Things. It’s an example of King at his best. Needful Things is the first novel he wrote after his rehabilitation from drugs and alcohol. It is the last full length fiction to be set in Castle Rock. The explosive end sort of hammers a nail on the lid of the town’s coffin. Needful Things ticks all of the boxes. It’s a great read. I haven’t read it for a few years so it was great to fall in love all over again.