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The Dark Half

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The Dark Half

The Dark Half
First edition cover
Author Stephen King
Country United States
Language English
Genre Horror novel
Publisher Viking
Publication date
October 20, 1989
Media type Print (Hardcover)
Pages 431
ISBN

The Dark Half is a horror novel by Stephen King, published in 1989. Publishers Weekly listed The Dark Half as the second best-selling book of 1989 behind Tom Clancy's Clear and Present Danger. It was adapted into a feature film of the same name in 1993.

Stephen King wrote several books under a pseudonym, Richard Bachman, during the Seventies and Eighties. Most of the Bachman novels were darker and more cynical in nature, featuring a far more visceral sense of horror than the psychological, gothic style common to many of King's most famous works. When King was discovered to be Bachman, he wrote The Dark Half in response to his outing.

Plot summary

Thad Beaumont is an author and recovering People magazine article. Stark's epitaph says it all: "Not A Very Nice Guy".

Stark, however, emerges from the mock grave as a physical entity and goes on a killing spree, gruesomely murdering everyone he perceives responsible for his "death" – Thad's editor, agent, and the People interviewer, among others. Thad, meanwhile, is plagued by surreal nightmares. Stark's murders are investigated by Alan Pangborn, the sheriff of the neighboring town of Castle Rock, who finds Thad's voice and fingerprints at the crime scenes. This evidence, and Thad's unwillingness to answer his questions, causes Pangborn to believe that Thad – despite having alibis – is responsible for the murders. Later, it is discovered that George Stark has the same fingerprints as Thad Beaumont, a clue to the twinship he and Thad share.

Thad eventually discovers that he and Stark share a mental bond, and begins to find notes from Stark written in his own handwriting. The notes tell Thad what activity Stark has been engaging in. Observing his son and daughter, Thad notes that twins share a unique bond. They can feel each other's pain and at times appear to read the other's mind. Using this as a keystone to his own situation, he begins to discover the even deeper meaning behind himself and Stark.

Pangborn eventually learns that Thad had a twin. The unborn brother was absorbed into Thad in utero and later removed from his brain when the author was a child. He had suffered from severe headaches and it was originally thought to be a tumor causing them. The neurosurgeon who removed it found the following inside: part of a nostril, some fingernails, some teeth, and a malformed human eye. This leads to questions about the true nature of Stark, whether he is a malevolent spirit with its own existence, or Thad himself, manifesting an alternate personality. Thad eventually vanquishes Stark, but the book ends on an unhappy note with Thad's wife having serious doubts about the future of their relationship: she is appalled that Thad not only created Stark (if unintentionally), but that a part of him liked Stark.

Adaptations

The novel was adapted as a film, Washington and Jefferson College and other locations in southwestern Pennsylvania. It starred Timothy Hutton as Thad/Stark, Michael Rooker as Alan Pangborn, and featured Julie Harris as an eccentric colleague of Thad's who provides some vital information about the supernatural.

See also

References

External links

  • The Dark Half at MobyGames
  • The Dark Half Official Website
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