September 8th, 1981
Hardcover / Paperback
The Cambers' once-friendly St. Bernard turns into a killer after being bitten by a rabid bat. Donna Trenton's husband is in New York trying to contain a disastrous ad campaign. Feeling abandoned by her workaholic husband, who is frequently out of town, Donna Trenton embarks on an affair with a local handyman. Left to fend for herself, she takes her ailing Pinto to Joe Cambers' garage for repairs only to be trapped with her son Tad in the sweltering car by the monstrous dog.
He lay on the verge of grass by the porch, his mangled snout on his fore-paws. His dreams were confused, lunatic things. It was dusk, and the sky was dark with wheeling, red-eyed bats. He leaped at them again and again, and each time he leaped he brought one down, teeth clamped on a leathery, twitching wing. But the bats kept biting his tender face with their sharp little rat-teeth. That was where the pain came from. That was where all the hurt came from. But he would kill them all. He would--
Cujo is a two-hundred-pound Saint Bernard, the beloved family pet of the Joe Cambers of Castle Rock, Maine, and the best friend ten-year-old Brett Camber has ever had. One day Cujo pursues a rabbit into a bolt-hole--a cave inhabited by some very sick bats. What happens to Cujo, and to those unlucky enough to be near him, makes for the most heart-squeezing novel Stephen King has yet written.
Vic Trenton, New York adman obsessed by the struggle to hand on to his one big account, his restive and not entirely faithful wife, Donna, and their four-year-old son, Tad, moved to Castle Rock seeking the peace of rural Maine. But life in this small town--evoked as vividly as a Winesburg or a Spoon River--is not what it seems. As Tad tries bravely to fend off the terror that comes to him at night from his bedroom closet, and as Vic and Donna face their own nightmare of a marriage suddenly on the rocks, there is no way they can know that a monster, infinitely sinister, waits in the daylight, and that the fateful currents of their lives will eddy closer and faster to the horrifying vortex that is Cujo.
Stephen King has never written a book in which readers will turn the pages with such a combination of anticipation and dire apprehension. Doing so, they will experience an absolute master at work.
In the spring of 1977 Stephen took his motorcycle to a mechanic who lived outside of Bridgton, Maine, "in the middle of nowhere". "I took the bike out there, and I just barely made it. And this huge Saint Bernard came out of the barn, growling. Then this guy came out and, I mean, he was Joe Camber-he looked almost like one of those guys out of Deliverance. And I was retreating, and wishing that I was not on my motorcycle, when the guy said, 'Don't worry. He don't bite.' And so I reached out to pet him, and the dog started to go for me. And the guy walked over and said, 'Down Gonzo,' or whatever the dog's name was and gave him this huge whack on the rump, and the dog yelped and sat down. The guy said, 'Gonzo never done that before. I guess he don't like your face.' And that became the central situation of the book, mixed with those old "Movies of the Week," the made-for-television movies that they used to have on ABC. I thought to myself, what if you could have a situation that was an extension of one scene. It would be the ultimate TV movie. There would be one set, there would be one room. You'd never even have to change the camera angle. So there was one very small place, and it became Donna's Pinto--and everything just flowed from that situation--the big dog and the Pinto."