Beyond the Book: Background information when reading Heart-Shaped Box

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Heart-Shaped Box

A Novel.

by Joe Hill

Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill
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  • First Published:
    Feb 2007, 384 pages
    Paperback:
    Apr 2008, 320 pages

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Beyond the Book

Print Review

Joseph Hillstrom King (pen name: Joe Hill), born in 1971, is the oldest son of Tabitha and Stephen King. He has an older sister, Naomi, and a younger brother, Owen. His stories have appeared in a variety of magazines and his first book, a collection of short stories, 20th Century Ghosts, won the British Fantasy Award for "Best Collection" and "Best Short Fiction" in 2006, but was not published in the USA until October 2007.

On the one hand, Hill appears to have made a point of not mentioning the fact that he is the son of Stephen King, and his first collection of short stories, although a relative success in the UK, was not published in the USA until after Heart-Shaped Box took off last year, which implies that he has not gone out of his way to use his parental influence. On the other hand it's doubtful that a first time novelist without his connections would have garnered the pre-publication buzz that he had for Heart-Shaped Box, including an appearance on Good Morning America. So it would appear that Hill might be reluctant to use his connections but his publisher is happy to pull whatever strings it takes to get him noticed!


Useful to know:

The title of Heart-Shaped Box is a reference to the Nirvana song of the same name written by Kurt Cobain.

The character of Jude could easily be modeled on the public perception of any number of aging rock-stars including Alice Cooper who, as it happens, published his first book last May: Alice Cooper, Golf Monster: A Rock 'n' Roller's 12 Steps to Becoming a Golf Addict - which just goes to show that perception isn't always reality!

This article was originally published in February 2007, and has been updated for the April 2008 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.

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