Although I haven't read any of his recent stuff, I have read a lot of Stephen King books and, with a couple of exceptions, I've enjoyed them. Usually, one of his books will capture me within the first page, which is what a good book is supposed to do. The Talisman has been an exception. I have tried to read it a few times, and can't get past the first few chapters. Written by Stephen King and Peter Straub, the book is very long, which intimidates me to begin with. But I have had this book long enough that the pages are starting to yellow, and I haven't been able to get past the first couple of chapters. My wife says its one of his best books, and I have heard from several other people whose opinions I value, and they tell me that it's a good book. It might be a good book, but I don't think I've ever seen a book that got off to so bad of a start. The protagonist is Jack, who is supposed to be a twelve year-old boy, which Stephen King usually does very well. One of his strengths is that he seems to remember what it was to be a twelve year-old boy. But, although the first two chapters are told from the perspective of Jack, he doesn't seem real to me. For one thing, he orders sole from a menu, and no actual twelve year-old boy would order sole. That's just an example, however. Nothing about him seems like a young boy. Plus, he keeps jumping back and forth between memories, things that he is imagining, and what is really happening in the book, which might also include hallucinations. I'm not sure what's going on there yet. The only two characters of any significance so far are Jack and his mother, and neither one of them are compelling. Two chapters and I don't know what's going on with this kid, nor do I particularly want to. There is nothing of interest in this kid or any of the few other characters who peripherally appear in the book. People tell me that I have to get past the first few chapters, and then it will be a spectacular book, but I can't imagine why two well-known authors would write an 800 page book in such a way that people don't want to go any further after the first 20 pages. Have any of you read The Talisman?