Summary and book reviews of Bag of Bones by Stephen King

Bag of Bones

by Stephen King

Bag of Bones by Stephen King X
Bag of Bones by Stephen King
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Sep 1998, 529 pages
    Paperback:
    May 1999, 732 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Book Summary

A story of grief and a lost love's enduring bonds, of a new love haunted by the secrets of the past, of an innocent child caught in a terrible crossfire.

Stephen King's most gripping and unforgettable novel, Bag of Bones, is a story of grief and a lost love's enduring bonds, of a new love haunted by the secrets of the past, of an innocent child caught in a terrible crossfire.

Set in the Maine territory King has made mythic, Bag of Bones recounts the plight of forty-year-old bestselling novelist Mike Noonan, who is unable to stop grieving even four years after the sudden death of his wife, Jo, and who can no longer bear to face the blank screen of his word processor.

Now his nights are plagued by vivid nightmares of the house by the lake. Despite these dreams, or perhaps because of them, Mike finally returns to Sara Laughs, the Noonans' isolated summer home.

He finds his beloved Yankee town familiar on its surface, but much changed underneath -- held in the grip of a powerful millionaire, Max Devore, who twists the very fabric of the community to his purpose: to take his three-year-old granddaughter away from her widowed young mother. As Mike is drawn into their struggle, as he falls in love with both of them, he is also drawn into the mystery of Sara Laughs, now the site of ghostly visitations, ever-escalating nightmares, and the sudden recovery of his writing ability. What are the forces that have been unleashed here -- and what do they want of Mike Noonan?

As vivid and enthralling as King's most enduring works, Bag of Bones resonates with what Amy Tan calls "the witty and obsessive voice of King's powerful imagination." It's no secret that King is our most mesmerizing storyteller. In Bag of Bones -- described by Gloria Naylor as "a love story about the dark places within us all" -- he proves to be one of our most moving.

Chapter 1

On a very hot day in August of 1994, my wife told me she was going down to the Derry Rite Aid to pick up a refill on her sinus medicine prescription -- this is stuff you can buy over the counter these days, I believe. I'd finished my writing for the day and offered to pick it up for her. She said thanks, but she wanted to get a piece of fish at the supermarket next door anyway; two birds with one stone and all of that. She blew a kiss at me off the palm of her hand and went out. The next time I saw her, she was on TV. That's how you identify the dead here in Derry -- no walking down a subterranean corridor with green tiles on the walls and long fluorescent bars overhead, no naked body rolling out of a chilly drawer on casters; you just go into an office marked PRIVATE and look at a TV screen and say yep or nope.

The Rite Aid and the Shopwell are less than a mile from our house, in a little neighborhood strip mall which also supports a video store, a used-book ...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Reviews

Media Reviews

Author Blurb Amy Tan
What I admire most about Bag of Bones is its intelligence of voice, not only the craftsmanship -- the indelible sense of place, the well-fleshed characters, the unstoppable story line -- but the witty and obsessive voice of King's powerful imagination. It places both the ghost story and Stephen King in their proper place on the shelf of literary American fiction.

Author Blurb Anne Rivers Siddons
I loved Bag of Bones. It's Stephen King for the new millennium, with all the heart and wit showing through the suspense. I always knew he'd do this. Such an evocation of love, grief and healing.

Author Blurb Gloria Naylor
For years, I've been saying that Stephen King is much more than just a horror fiction writer. And I believe that he's never been given credit for taking American literature and stretching its boundaries. Bag of Bones proves me right. It is a love story about the dark places within us all, a metaphor for the act of creativity itself.

Reader Reviews

Mary

Bag of Bones
Great book, horrible movie!
Laura H.

I loved this book because it wasn't just a horror story, but it was also a love story, mixed with twists and turns. King's characterization is so detailed that the reader feels as if he/she knows the characters personally. Some of the foreshadowing...   Read More
Swinger

This is a MasterPiece for the lovers of Stephen King. Although this was my second book it got me hooked to his style. The past is so wonderfully interwoven with the present bringing psychology, mystique and mystery into a most realistic setting. The ...   Read More
Sage

This is a really really great book ive read it up to 13 times because it just sticks to me

Write your own review!

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Readalikes

Read-alikes Full readalike results are for members only

More books by Stephen King

If you liked Bag of Bones, try these:

Non-members are limited to two results. Become a member
Search read-alikes again
How we choose readalikes
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Join BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten.

Find out more


Today's Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: The Secret Keeper of Jaipur
    The Secret Keeper of Jaipur
    by Alka Joshi
    Alka Joshi's The Secret Keeper of Jaipur is the sequel to her 2020 bestseller The Henna Artist and ...
  • Book Jacket: Seek You
    Seek You
    by Kristen Radtke
    In the first pages of Seek You: A Journey Through American Loneliness, Kristen Radtke's sophomore ...
  • Book Jacket: The Man Who Hated Women
    The Man Who Hated Women
    by Amy Sohn
    If debates over women's reproductive health seem stuck in an earlier era — the fact that birth...
  • Book Jacket: The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois
    The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois
    by Honorée Fannone Jeffers
    Honorée Fannone Jeffers' The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois explores the Black experience in ...

Book Club Discussion
Book Jacket
In Every Mirror She's Black
by Lola Akinmade Akerstrom
An arresting debut for anyone looking for insight into what it means to be a Black woman in the world.

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Blind Man's Bluff
    by James Tate Hill

    A writer's humorous and often-heartbreaking tale of losing his sight—and how he hid it from the world.

  • Book Jacket

    Never Saw Me Coming
    by Vera Kurian

    "Fun, entertaining and hard to put down."
    The New York Journal of Books

Who Said...

Children are not the people of tomorrow, but people today.

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

Pull Y U B T B

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.