Jul 26, 2019
Welcome back to King of the Dark, our special summer series on the B&N Podcast devoted to Stephen King's monumental career. Every week this summer, Liz Braswell, Louis Peitzman and Bill Tipper pick one of King's bestsellers for a deep dive. King famously sets much of his fiction in his home state of Maine, but that's not true of this week's book, 1987's bestselling, award-winning Misery, which unfolds in a small house in a remote area in Colorado. Bestselling writer Paul Sheldon has finally shaken himself free of the long-running, saccharine character -- Misery Chastain -- who has powered his successful career. Paul has killed off his beloved heroine in the pages of his last novel, and written the bracing literary work he's dreamed of. But an auto wreck in the mountains leaves him badly wounded, and he wakes up in the house of Annie Wilkes, a nurse who has pulled him from his car. She says she's Paul's "number one fan" -- but what happens when she finds out Misery is dead will change everything. The result is a game of wits that revolves around obsession, addiction, manipulation and sheer madness as gripping as anything Stephen King is ever written -- and gave Kathy Bates an Oscar-winning role as Annie in the 1990 screen adaptation. It's a novel that many King fans rate among his very best. And as Liz Braswell remarked at the beginning of our conversation, it's also one that makes readers wonder about the intersection between fiction and reality.