Cover image for Desperation
King, Stephen, 1947-
Personal Author:
[Large print edition].
Publication Information:
Boston : Compass Press, 1997.

Physical Description:
761 pages (large print) ; 24 cm
Geographic Term:
Format :


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X Adult Large Print Large Print

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Now repackaged with stunning new cover art, this #1 bestseller is a chilling story set in a lonely Nevada town where the evil embedded in the landscape is awesome--but so are the forces summoned to combat it. Reissue. Copyright © Libri GmbH. All rights reserved.

Author Notes

Stephen King was born in Portland, Maine, on September 21, 1947. After graduating with a Bachelor's degree in English from the University of Maine at Orono in 1970, he became a teacher. His spare time was spent writing short stories and novels.

King's first novel would never have been published if not for his wife. She removed the first few chapters from the garbage after King had thrown them away in frustration. Three months later, he received a $2,500 advance from Doubleday Publishing for the book that went on to sell a modest 13,000 hardcover copies. That book, Carrie, was about a girl with telekinetic powers who is tormented by bullies at school. She uses her power, in turn, to torment and eventually destroy her mean-spirited classmates. When United Artists released the film version in 1976, it was a critical and commercial success. The paperback version of the book, released after the movie, went on to sell more than two-and-a-half million copies.

Many of King's other horror novels have been adapted into movies, including The Shining, Firestarter, Pet Semetary, Cujo, Misery, The Stand, and The Tommyknockers. Under the pseudonym Richard Bachman, King has written the books The Running Man, The Regulators, Thinner, The Long Walk, Roadwork, Rage, and It. He is number 2 on the Hollywood Reporter's '25 Most Powerful Authors' 2016 list.

King is one of the world's most successful writers, with more than 100 million copies of his works in print. Many of his books have been translated into foreign languages, and he writes new books at a rate of about one per year. In 2003, he received the National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. In 2012 his title, The Wind Through the Keyhole made The New York Times Best Seller List. King's title's Mr. Mercedes and Revival made The New York Times Best Seller List in 2014. He won the Edgar Allan Poe Award in 2015 for Best Novel with Mr. Mercedes. King's title Finders Keepers made the New York Times bestseller list in 2015. Sleeping Beauties is his latest 2017 New York Times bestseller.

(Bowker Author Biography) Stephen King is the author of more than thirty books, all of them worldwide bestsellers. Among his most recent are "Hearts in Atlantis", "The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon", "Bag of Bones", & "The Green Mile". "On Writing" is his first book of nonfiction since "Danse Macabre", published in 1981. He served as a judge for Prize Stories: The Best of 1999, The O. Henry Awards. He lives in Bangor, Maine with his wife, novelist Tabitha King.

King's book, The Bazaar of Bad Dreams: Stories, made the 2015 New York Times bestseller list.

(Publisher Provided)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

King's third new yarn this year is as pell-mell an action thriller as any he has written and one of his sweetest performances. It has several links to his new Richard Bachman opus, The Regulators ; for instance, it has some characters with the same names and occupations, though not personalities, and the same vaporous alien antagonist at the bottom of the same mine. The alien force is loose in Desperation, Nevada, and, having occupied the bodies of a succession of citizens (it needs to pass from one human vehicle to another because its vigor is so intense that its host hemorrhages to death within hours), has gruesomely slaughtered everyone else in town. Now in the body of a patrolling cop, it is picking up people motoring by on U.S. 50. Foremost among those are burned-out novelist Johnny Marinville and 11-year-old David Carver, who barely a year ago underwent a serious religious conversion and occasionally hears the voice of God. It is God--the God of the Christian Bible, both Testaments--Who eventually saves Johnny, David, and the rest of those who survive Desperation, but saves them only by means of their own free will and their own heroic and gory exertions. If King wants to show how to inject religion honestly and effectively into the normally crass horror genre, he succeeds beautifully. (Reviewed Aug. 1996)0670868361Ray Olson

Publisher's Weekly Review

If the publishing industry named a Person of the Year, this year's winner would be Stephen King. Not only is he writing the first modern novel to be serialized in book form (The Green Mile), but with the publication on Sept. 24 of The Regulators (Dutton; Forecasts, June 17) and Desperation, he becomes the first bestselling author‘maybe the first author ever‘to issue three new major novels in one calendar year. And there's more. With this astonishing work, King again proves himself the premier literary barometer of our cultural clime. For if The Regulators is a work of secular horror, this is a novel of sacred horror (King's first), and explicitly so. Like the second panel of a diptych, Desperation employs, with one major exception, the same characters as The Regulators, and the same source of horror: an evil force named Tak. (The novels aren't sequential, however; people who die in one can live, then die, in the other.) The exception is David Carver, 11, who, with a handful of other passers-through, including a major writer who's recently embraced sobriety, is trapped in the desert mining town of Desperation, Nev. There, Tak stalks them by possessing humans and turning them into homicidal maniacs, and by unleashing armies of coyotes, spiders and scorpions. The terror is relentless‘this is King's scariest book since Misery‘though the storytelling is looser than in The Regulators to allow room for spiritual themes. For united against Tak are not only David and his pals, but also God, who moves through the boy. King's God is the God of Job, implacable, beyond human ken. As the savageries inflicted upon David and others multiply, they must discern: What is God's will? And, how can God's will be done, when it seems so cruel? Near the story's end, the writer muses that horror "isn't the sort of stuff of which serious literature is made." King knows better, and so will anyone who reads this deeply moving and enthralling masterpiece of the genre. 1,750,000 first printing; BOMC main selection; simultaneous Penguin Audiobook. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Penguin Audiobooks' release of Desperation (Audio Reviews, LJ 8/96) marked the first-ever abridged version of King's work. Fittingly, this recording is unabridged‘and more than twice as long as the Penguin release‘thereby appeasing King's desire that all his audio-based work be available in unabridged format. Desperation, easily the author's best novel in recent memory, tells of a disparate group of highway travelers who find themselves trapped in a deserted Nevada town by a supernatural menace. The only caveat here is that King reads the material himself, and one can't help but wonder how much better this production might have been had Recorded Books used its own crew of professional readers. As it is, King's reedy tones are eerily reminiscent of Bill Gates, and listeners who sampled Gates's The Road Ahead (Audio Reviews, LJ 1/96) may suspect that King and Gates are in fact one and the same person. Nonetheless, most medium to large public libraries should have both the abridged and unabridged versions; most smaller libraries can make do with the abridgment.‘Mark Annichiarico, "Library Journal" (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.