The Talisman

Discussion in 'Reading & Writing' started by Ken Anderson, Jul 26, 2016.

  1. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Veteran Member
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    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?
     
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    Last edited: Jul 26, 2016
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  2. Tim Burr

    Tim Burr Well-Known Member
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    I have read a lot of his works, and I agree it does take a bit to get into this one. If you have read any of the 'Dark Tower' books, this one reminds me of those. I liked it. Not one of my favorites by him.
    'It' and 'The Stand' among the ones I really enjoyed.
    '11-22-63' was the last one I read, and I enjoyed that one also.
     
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  3. Chrissy Cross

    Chrissy Cross Veteran Member
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    I'll have to take a look at it. I have tried reading "The Stand" a few times and just can't get into it.

    Also, my now 17 yr old grandson is a gourmet eater and would at 12 order trout and other fish at restaurants.

    He will still order something different but really still loves Fish and ahi tuna and poke and all those raw goodies.

    Also Lobster and crab. His 12 year old brother is less adventurous and orders Mac and cheese or chicken nuggets. He's a very picky eater.

    Edit: took a look at the book on Wikipedia and nope, not my kind of story. Sounds too weird.
     
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  4. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Veteran Member
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    I haven't been willing to put the time aside to read The Stand.
     
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  5. Chrissy Cross

    Chrissy Cross Veteran Member
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    I've tried a few times because my daughter kept insisting she loved it but it just wasn't doing it for me.

    I would probably say I loved half his books and the other half I didn't. Same with Dean Koontz but maybe I loved 75% of his books and the rest were disappointing.
     
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  6. Corie Henson

    Corie Henson Very Well-Known Member
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    Last Saturday, we were in the mall to watch a movie. What caught our fancy was the movie Cell. It's a science fiction about a cellphone signal that controls people - all those using cellphones became robot-like in their action. My husband loves science fiction but I was hesitant until I saw that the story was by Stephen King. I even told my husband that it surely is a good story because Stephen King is famous for his suspenseful stories.

    Unfortunately, the movie did not live to its billing. From the point of view of my husband (who knows about film-making), it is the director's fault that the movie has many holes in the story. I will not elaborate so as not to reveal the point of the movie.
     
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  7. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Veteran Member
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    I just saw the book in Goodwill last week, and hadn't heard of Cell before that. After he was run down by a drunk, Stephen King got very strange for a long time and I didn't like the books that he wrote during that period so there are a lot of recent books that I haven't read. I've heard that he's returned to better writing but, although Cell has been out long enough for a hardcover copy to find its way into a second-hand store, I hadn't heard of it. I didn't buy it because, though I am going to give Talisman another try, I don't have a lot of time for fiction, particularly long books.
     
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  8. Von Jones

    Von Jones Very Well-Known Member
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    I've always enjoyed Stephen King's novels mainly because of their weirdness . Reading the preface is a good lead before getting into the meat of the story.
     
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  9. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Veteran Member
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    After the first two chapters, the book starts making some sense. I'm about one quarter of the way through it now and, while I don't yet share my wife's enthusiasm about it, I will be able to finish it. I still don't know why they'd spend the first two chapters trying to discourage people from continuing, or why they'd make the protagonist so uninteresting. He doesn't have much of a personality, and that's not like Stephen King.
     
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  10. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Veteran Member
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    I am nearly through with The Talisman. It's a good story, but poorly told, in my opinion, the biggest problem being a lack of effective character development. It's a fairly long book as it is, so this was probably done for the sake of brevity, but I don't feel like I am involved with any of the characters in the book.
     
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  11. K E Gordon

    K E Gordon Very Well-Known Member
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    So funny you would be mentioning this because last night I watched the movie "The Dark Half" It was an SK book that was turned into a movie like many of his were. I vaguely remembered the book after watching the movie. The movie starred Timothy Hutton, and it did actually make me jump in spots, so I would consider it to be a success. I read most of Cell but not the whole thing since it was mammoth. In my opinion, King did his best work in the first half of his career. The last book of his I read, although I don't remember the name of it..was so full of extraneous and nonsensical dialogue..I wanted to say.."Just tell the story."
     
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  12. Chris Ladewig

    Chris Ladewig Well-Known Member
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    SK does have some very good stories but like K E I have always had a problem with his long winded descriptions.Taking a hundred words to describe what could be done adequately in ten just is not my style. Dean Knootz is a lot easier reading.
     
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  13. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Veteran Member
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    Okay, I've finished it. My opinion is the same. It's a very good story but not very well told. Nevertheless, I have ordered the sequel: The Black House. I'm not sure why. I don't like leaving things unfinished, I suppose.
     
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