My Thoughts (Spoilers)

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Grant87

Well-Known Member
Jan 3, 2015
339
1,689
30
#1
I finished The Long Walk a few days ago, and I think I'm ready to post a few thoughts about the novel. This novel has really been stuck in mind ever since I finished it, and it hasn't been easy to wrap my head around it, especially the ending. I think that says a lot about what King has written here. I'm amazed that SK was so young when he wrote The Long Walk, a fact I didn't learn until after reading the novel. Some very deep stuff for such a young writer!

For some reason, I've always enjoyed stories that take place entirely in one place. 12 Angry Men would head that list for me. I throw The Long Walk into that category because the story takes place exclusively on the road, albeit throughout the state of Maine. It takes a talented writer to craft an engaging story which takes place in one "location", and with a relatively small cast of characters.

I enjoyed the ambiguous ending as well. It's been on my mind since I finished the final page, which was, no doubt, the author's intent. Personally, I believe Garraty died soon after winning the competition. Throughout the novel, he and the other contestants slowly come to terms with their impending deaths, and I believe Garraty truly "lived" in the end by facing his own mortality. He finally learned there are no winners in The Long Walk.

Not my favorite King novel, but light years ahead of Rage, the only other Bachman novel I have read thus far. This is one that will stay with me, and may creep up my personal rankings as time goes on.

Rating: 8/10

Up Next: The Dead Zone
 

Pucker

We all have it coming, kid
May 9, 2010
2,906
6,209
56
#2
Throughout the novel, he and the other contestants slowly come to terms with their impending deaths, and I believe Garraty truly "lived" in the end by facing his own mortality. He finally learned there are no winners in The Long Walk.
You may have something there.

Intellectually, all the Walkers know from the very beginning that they're dead already -- the glimpses we get show that few of them really believe they can "win" -- but it seems to me that by the end, the ordeal has destroyed whatever "Garraty" there ever was before The Walk, and all that was left at the end was the Walker. The only way he could "survive" was to keep walking, that was what he had learned, and that was what he had to do, whether they were still going to shoot him or not. He made the critical mistake:

He came to care about people, and once he did that, he couldn't stop doing it.

Why else would he run to catch up?
 

Doc Creed

Well-Known Member
Nov 18, 2015
14,836
65,855
United States
#4
I finished The Long Walk a few days ago, and I think I'm ready to post a few thoughts about the novel. This novel has really been stuck in mind ever since I finished it, and it hasn't been easy to wrap my head around it, especially the ending. I think that says a lot about what King has written here. I'm amazed that SK was so young when he wrote The Long Walk, a fact I didn't learn until after reading the novel. Some very deep stuff for such a young writer!

For some reason, I've always enjoyed stories that take place entirely in one place. 12 Angry Men would head that list for me. I throw The Long Walk into that category because the story takes place exclusively on the road, albeit throughout the state of Maine. It takes a talented writer to craft an engaging story which takes place in one "location", and with a relatively small cast of characters.

I enjoyed the ambiguous ending as well. It's been on my mind since I finished the final page, which was, no doubt, the author's intent. Personally, I believe Garraty died soon after winning the competition. Throughout the novel, he and the other contestants slowly come to terms with their impending deaths, and I believe Garraty truly "lived" in the end by facing his own mortality. He finally learned there are no winners in The Long Walk.

Not my favorite King novel, but light years ahead of Rage, the only other Bachman novel I have read thus far. This is one that will stay with me, and may creep up my personal rankings as time goes on.

Rating: 8/10

Up Next: The Dead Zone
You make some astute observations. I share your affinity for books that take place in a single location or limited geography; Misery was like that. (Misery was supposed to be the next Bachman book until King was forced to "unmask", to borrow a phrase from The Shining. Conversely, The Long Walk (and Thinner) have a stronger Stephen King footprint, I think.)
 

Grant87

Well-Known Member
Jan 3, 2015
339
1,689
30
#5
You make some astute observations. I share your affinity for books that take place in a single location or limited geography; Misery was like that. (Misery was supposed to be the next Bachman book until King was forced to "unmask", to borrow a phrase from The Shining. Conversely, The Long Walk (and Thinner) have a stronger Stephen King footprint, I think.)
After reading Different Seasons, I thought Apt Pupil felt more like a Bachman novella than a King one.
 

Mr. Cranky

Well-Known Member
Feb 18, 2013
3,733
15,127
#6
Curley had a Charley Horse. Juniper Lane. Narragansett beer. Hank Aaron. P.F. Flyers. Art Fleming. (My opinion: I think King grew up fascinated/resenting game shows as being the epitomy of falseness in capitalist society); In this story, do you think King is Harkness or Pearson?; Lightning bugs; E.V.'s Market; Caribou Paper Mills; I'm like Collie Parker; Reid Beach; Jimmy Owens; Burrs Building Material); There's a 'typo' on page 82 "The Bachman Books" paperback 2012 edition on line 15, there is an 'of' that should be an 'off'; 'cadge of him'; Steubenville State Fair. I'm still reading this story, I like it better now than I read it a while ago.
 

Wab

Well-Known Member
Oct 29, 2017
85
300
#7
After reading Different Seasons, I thought Apt Pupil felt more like a Bachman novella than a King one.
Generally early King books met the criteria laid out in Danse Macabre in which the agent of chaos was met and the norm restored. Bachman books were usually more ambiguous. The big exception was Pet Sematary but that was never supposed to see the light of day.
 

Zone D Dad

Well-Known Member
Apr 17, 2017
358
1,786
Chicago Suburbs
#8
I've always loved The Long Walk, although it's been awhile since I've read it. I remember the first time through being frustrated by the ending (I was younger then, not appreciating the ambiguity), and then learning to love it. Personally, I've always thought that after a bout of relatively temporary insanity, Ray Garraty lived on, albeit with some serious PTSD. I'd love to know how he chose to receive his prize. I imagine him trying to go off the grid in a spiral of alcoholism or drug abuse. Charming, I know. Or perhaps he would find a remote place along the route of the walk itself, where if listening carefully, he can faintly hear the sound of the carbines claiming their next victim in the next year's Walk.
 
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