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Needful Things

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Leland Gaunt opens a new shop in Castle Rock called Needful Things. Anyone who enters his store finds the object of his or her lifelong dreams and desires: a prized baseball card, a healing amulet. In addition to a token payment, Gaunt requests that each person perform a little "deed," usually a seemingly innocent prank played on someone else from town. These practical jok Leland Gaunt opens a new shop in Castle Rock called Needful Things. Anyone who enters his store finds the object of his or her lifelong dreams and desires: a prized baseball card, a healing amulet. In addition to a token payment, Gaunt requests that each person perform a little "deed," usually a seemingly innocent prank played on someone else from town. These practical jokes cascade out of control and soon the entire town is doing battle with itself. Only Sheriff Alan Pangborn suspects that Gaunt is behind the population's increasingly violent behavior.


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Leland Gaunt opens a new shop in Castle Rock called Needful Things. Anyone who enters his store finds the object of his or her lifelong dreams and desires: a prized baseball card, a healing amulet. In addition to a token payment, Gaunt requests that each person perform a little "deed," usually a seemingly innocent prank played on someone else from town. These practical jok Leland Gaunt opens a new shop in Castle Rock called Needful Things. Anyone who enters his store finds the object of his or her lifelong dreams and desires: a prized baseball card, a healing amulet. In addition to a token payment, Gaunt requests that each person perform a little "deed," usually a seemingly innocent prank played on someone else from town. These practical jokes cascade out of control and soon the entire town is doing battle with itself. Only Sheriff Alan Pangborn suspects that Gaunt is behind the population's increasingly violent behavior.

30 review for Needful Things

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jeff

    As Jeff turned to go into Needful Things, he bumped into a woman wearing a dazed determined expression, who was hurrying out the door, clutching a stuffed warthog. Entering the store, he was greeted by a tinkling bell and what appeared to be the shop owner, walking toward him with an outstretched hand. Jeff’s first instinct was to back away in revulsion, but he extended his hand and felt a wave of nausea sweep over him. “I’m Leland Gaunt and welcome to my humble establishment. I’ve just op As Jeff turned to go into Needful Things, he bumped into a woman wearing a dazed determined expression, who was hurrying out the door, clutching a stuffed warthog. Entering the store, he was greeted by a tinkling bell and what appeared to be the shop owner, walking toward him with an outstretched hand. Jeff’s first instinct was to back away in revulsion, but he extended his hand and felt a wave of nausea sweep over him. “I’m Leland Gaunt and welcome to my humble establishment. I’ve just opened today and I haven’t gotten all my goods unpacked, but you’re welcome to look around.” Gaunt had the strangest shade of green eyes that Jeff had ever seen. It was as if Jeff was staring into a bowl of spinach. As Jeff walked around the store he noticed that, no matter where he turned his head, Mr. Gaunt never left his peripheral vision. Looking at a glass case, Jeff noticed a paper with writing. It was the cleverest, best written, funniest review he had ever read. And it was a review of the book he was currently reading. Why if Jeff put this out on Goodreads, he’d get thousands of “likes”. Thousands. Gaunt appeared over his left shoulder. “That is something, isn’t it? I just got that in today.” Jeff felt he had to have it. Maybe tens of thousands of likes. “It is pretty good. How much do you want for it?” Gaunt smiled. His teeth reminded Jeff of gravestones. “Well, how much money do you have?” How much money do I have? Jeff checked his wallet. “Only four dollars.” Gaunt gave him his best shark-like smile and said, “What a coincidence, that’s what I’m selling it for.” As Gaunt pulled it out of the case, Jeff could have sworn the page was a shopping list, but once Gaunt handed it over, he saw it was his precious review. The greatest review he had ever read. “By the way Jeff, (Jeff didn’t remember telling Gaunt his name), I’d like you to play a small prank on someone…"

  2. 4 out of 5

    Gregor Xane

    Mr. King likes to tell stories about people getting trapped. He's got one about a guy trapped in a bedroom. He's got a whole bunch of these stories, really. He's got people trapped inside a car, in a gas station, a classroom, a grocery store, a hotel, on an island, a city under a giant force field. I'm pretty sure he's got one about a lady handcuffed to a bed for the whole book. I'm just going from memory here. He's probably got a lot more. In Needful Things, the entire town of Castle Rock i Mr. King likes to tell stories about people getting trapped. He's got one about a guy trapped in a bedroom. He's got a whole bunch of these stories, really. He's got people trapped inside a car, in a gas station, a classroom, a grocery store, a hotel, on an island, a city under a giant force field. I'm pretty sure he's got one about a lady handcuffed to a bed for the whole book. I'm just going from memory here. He's probably got a lot more. In Needful Things, the entire town of Castle Rock is trapped by their possessions. Its citizens are punished mercilessly for 700+ pages with some special brand of evil that feeds off the sin of imbuing bric-à-brac with sentimental value. Admittedly, I'm oversimplifying the plot of this book quite a bit. But Needful Things is just a morality tale at its core, a boldfaced warning about materialism. The message of the book seems to boil down to something we all heard as kids, mom saying that you don't need those roller skates, you just want them. But to say that this is only a simple morality tale really does this book a disservice. It's got all the things I like in a King book: suspense, action, gore, folksy humor (the cruel and the crude varieties), characters you can identify with, protagonists you care about, insane people and perverts, monsters and great big explosions. Most importantly, it's got a great villain. Our bad guy, Leland Gaunt, isn't subtle, he chews up the scenery at every turn, but he's exactly what this novel calls for. Done well (and King does them very well), comic book villains are the best kind. All right, maybe just the most fun to read about. And, yes, this book had some of the Stephen King things I don't like so much. I feel sometimes King is writing down to his characters, like he'll create a character just for the sake of mockery. Lester Pratt, the goody two-shoes, Christian 'boy scout' character in this book is a prime example. I would be willing to bet that no one ever--no matter how repressed and/or brainwashed, sheltered, or close-minded--ever, ever had an internal monologue that's featured the celebratory phrase "rooty toot toot" repeatedly while thinking about the prospect of getting some pussy. King also has a tendency to veer into some rather cloying, almost treacly, Garrison Keillor territory, and in this book the opening and closing are perhaps the most nauseating examples of this that I've personally encountered. And then, like with many of King's novels, we have the borderline deus ex machina ending. Now, I know what you're thinking: Wow, it seemed like there for a minute you were saying you like Stephen King. But now it seems like you're being rather hard on the guy. But, you see, the thing is, Stephen King is sort of like the President of the United States of America. (Bear with me here.) The people you hear bitching about the President the most, the people who are the hardest on him, seem to always be the very same people who voted him into office. I've read over thirty books by Stephen King. So, in my mind, that pretty much means I voted that son-of-a-bitch into office over thirty fucking times! I'll say what I want. And now you're probably asking, would you vote for that son-of-a-bitch again? No question.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Carol

    "Enter freely and leave some of the happiness you bring." In the small town of Castle Rock, there's a NEW KIND of store. It has a spiffy new green canvas awning with the name of NEEDFUL THINGS, and the creepy old yellow tooth proprietor, Leland Gaunt welcomes everyone with open arms......but YOU WON'T LIKE HIS TOUCH! "EVERYTHING is for sale."......ALL those things you covet.....AND Mr. icky fingers Gaunt is very fond of playing 'Let's Make A Deal'. BUT........BUYER BEWARE! SOON after the many well-defined characters make their purchases....and play a few harmless tricks....BEWARE!Deal'.covet.....sale."......TOUCH! "Enter freely and leave some of the happiness you bring." In the small town of Castle Rock, there's a NEW KIND of store. It has a spiffy new green canvas awning with the name of NEEDFUL THINGS, and the creepy old yellow tooth proprietor, Leland Gaunt welcomes everyone with open arms......but YOU WON'T LIKE HIS TOUCH! "EVERYTHING is for sale."......ALL those things you covet.....AND Mr. icky fingers Gaunt is very fond of playing 'Let's Make A Deal'. BUT........BUYER BEWARE! SOON after the many well-defined characters make their purchases....and play a few harmless tricks....tempers flare....town residents become hostile, and all HELL breaks loose....with deadly results.The ending is definitely explosive, but not particularly frightening....not like jailbird bully Ace Merrill's encounter with evil, but still cleverly plotted and creepy. SO........come play some mind games, see a bit of powerful magic and find out what Mr. Gaunt likes to collect. Fast read for 702 pages. Enjoyed the macabre journey! (As is the norm for KING, caught a few familiar names here and there....like CUJO, SHAWSHANK, TALISMAN and FULL DARK....and betting I probably missed more.)

  4. 4 out of 5

    Dan Schwent

    A store has opened in the Maine town of Castle Rock, a store selling objects a person most desires, at a price the buyer can afford. But are the goods worth the cost? Can Sheriff Alan Pangborn get to the bottom of Leland Gaunt and his Needful Things before he falls prey to the madness that's gripping the town? In what originally was intended to be its final appearance, Castle Rock goes out with a bang in this Stephen King tome. It reads like a love letter to Castle Rock at times. I ca A store has opened in the Maine town of Castle Rock, a store selling objects a person most desires, at a price the buyer can afford. But are the goods worth the cost? Can Sheriff Alan Pangborn get to the bottom of Leland Gaunt and his Needful Things before he falls prey to the madness that's gripping the town? In what originally was intended to be its final appearance, Castle Rock goes out with a bang in this Stephen King tome. It reads like a love letter to Castle Rock at times. I caught references to The Dark Half, Cujo, Sun Dog, The Body, and I think Cycle of the Werewolf. Ace Merrill and Alan Pangborn are the only characters I remember from other books but I'm sure there were probably others. The story starts off slow as, one by one, the citizens of Castle Rock fall prey to Leland Gaunt's charms, buying his trinkets for whatever cash they have on them and doing pranks for him. These pranks are as custom tailored to the victim as the trinkets he sells and soon the denizens of Castle Rock are fuming at one another. Once things escalate to the point of violence, there's no turning back, making Needful Things very hard to put down for such a heavy book. There's not a lot more I can tell without giving things away. Alan Pangborn could have been a Gunslinger in another life and his relationship with Polly was pretty well done. Ace Merrill was a world class douche and fell into the #2 bad guy role pretty well. I thought Needful Things took the gossip and cattiness that's a staple of small town life and turned the dial up until it broke off. Things I'm still pondering: - Was the spider that appeared near the end a relative of the spider from It, only feeding on pain instead of fear? - Are Leland Gaunt and Randall Flag the same person? - What happened to Castle Rock after the conflagration at the end? Needful Things is like cooking a pot roast in a crock pot. It starts out slow, begins to simmer, and is a churning cauldron of deliciousness by the end. Four out of five stars.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Leo .

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. What a fantastic book by the great man. Needful things is a great book. A shop owner who gives everybody what they want for a price. Soon the whole town is in chaos and at each others throats. Great concept and well worth the read. The film is great too. Max Von Sydow is amazing as the character Leland Gaunt🐯👍 I see a moral to this story. How people covet the things they so desire and will do almost anything to get it. Even if it is out of reach people will covet. Result to murd What a fantastic book by the great man. Needful things is a great book. A shop owner who gives everybody what they want for a price. Soon the whole town is in chaos and at each others throats. Great concept and well worth the read. The film is great too. Max Von Sydow is amazing as the character Leland Gaunt🐯👍 I see a moral to this story. How people covet the things they so desire and will do almost anything to get it. Even if it is out of reach people will covet. Result to murder. Cain and Able springs to mind. This selfish attitude that humanity has come to. Striving to get to the top and step on many to get there. The Black Friday day when hundreds or thousands of people queue outside a department store waiting for it to open. Some even camp outside for days! Just so they can get their hands on the latest TV for a knock down price. People trampling over each other and fighting over merchandise. This book epitomizes the greed, envy, ambition and downright stupidity that us, as human beings, have come too. The temptation. The lure. The deceit. What a crazy Profitable; I say that with my tongue in my cheek for only the top profits; paradigm we live in.👍🐯

  6. 4 out of 5

    Anne

    Actual reading: 3.5🌟 As always with King, this was a very entertaining and suspenseful read the whole way through. However, somehow I just didn't connect as much to the characters as I usually do, which is why I cannot bring myself to give the full five stars. The plot itself was super interesting and I loved all the mysterious things that happened. There is also no shortage on gruesome scenes, so reading this during the spooky October time was definitely the right decision. Howe Actual reading: 3.5🌟 As always with King, this was a very entertaining and suspenseful read the whole way through. However, somehow I just didn't connect as much to the characters as I usually do, which is why I cannot bring myself to give the full five stars. The plot itself was super interesting and I loved all the mysterious things that happened. There is also no shortage on gruesome scenes, so reading this during the spooky October time was definitely the right decision. However, as I mentioned, the characters just didn't quite appeal to me this time around. I found them interesting for the time being, but none of them truly stuck in my mind for long (which is usually the case whenever I read a book by King). I'm someone who finds good characters more important than an exciting plot, so the fact that I didn't feel close to the characters bothered me a lot. If you're someone who cares more about a plot, I'm sure you will love this book, because the story on its own is unique and quite clever.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Edward Lorn

    Some authors write about king slayers. Others write about serial killers. Stephen King? He writes about fuckers capable of leveling entire towns. Whether those responsible are aliens or devils, it doesn't matter. The ride is usually a fun one. Needful Things is no different. It is, however, the epitome of a bloated Stephen King novel. There are entire characters herein that serve zero purpose. George T. Nelson and Frank Jewett's stories could have been left out. Ace Merrill is another pointless charac Some authors write about king slayers. Others write about serial killers. Stephen King? He writes about fuckers capable of leveling entire towns. Whether those responsible are aliens or devils, it doesn't matter. The ride is usually a fun one. Needful Things is no different. It is, however, the epitome of a bloated Stephen King novel. There are entire characters herein that serve zero purpose. George T. Nelson and Frank Jewett's stories could have been left out. Ace Merrill is another pointless character. I simply do not see what he added to the proceedings. I never understood why Buster couldn't do everything by himself. Even when those two split up, they're still only across the street from one another. Even the movie version cut Ace and nobody cared. I theorize that Ace was a loose end for King, the bad guy that got away, so he felt the urge to give the hood a proper send off. Insert Ace in Needful Things. Problem solved. Now I know what you're thinking. "Doesn't sound like you enjoyed this one, E." Well, that's not entirely true. Yeah, I think certain characters are useless and some scenes are pointless, but I dig this book quite a bit. King always impresses me with how he manages to create entire fictional towns populated with such true-to-life personalities and make it seem so fucking effortless. At this point in his career (1991), King had killed two small towns and crippled another three: 'Salem's Lot was sucked dry; Chamberlain was never the same after Carrie White; Derry died a special kind of death but refused to go away completely; Haven would be off-limits for decades; and Castle Rock had one bombastic enima. I remain in awe of that fact. Think about that. In less than fifteen years, one author populated and then ravaged five small towns. And we loved every minute of it. I think several things make readers ignore the bloat in Needful Things. Cora and Myra's Elvis Presley fascination is awfully hilarious, as well as some of the shenanigans other characters get into. The beshitted picture of one townie's mother had me in tears, I was laughing so hard. Buster was blissfully insane, and Nettie and Wilma's fight scene is one of the most gruesome in all of horror literature. This novel is jampacked with awesome occurrences, and that makes the bloat feel worth it. Even the uber goofy ending can be ignored because the rest of the book is... well, it's just a shitload of fun. Obvious Tie-ins: The Dark Half The Body The Sun Dog Hidden Gems: Gaunt refers to the items in his shop as "gray things", which supports my theory that all of King's works can be tied back to the Dark Tower series by way of The Tommyknockers or IT. I believe all of King's supernatural villains, all of his monsters, belong to the race of Old Ones known as the Prim. But more on that in my A Decade with King: (1985-1994) post coming in April. Notable Names: Pop Merrill Ace Merrill Evvie Chalmers (I love how this woman is in five different King books, but is never on-camera, as it were) George Bannerman Thad Beaumont (view spoiler)[(This poor fucker made it through The Dark Half only to have one of the longest off-camera downward spirals King has written. It's mentioned here that Thad's wife leaves him and takes the kids with her, and then, ten years later in Bag of Bones, King mentions how Thad ended up killing himself. Poor guy.) (hide spoiler)] In summation: It's not the best book King has ever written, but it's far, far, far from his worst. Needful Things is a favorite for many King fans, and I understand why. I simply think he could have used fewer characters to the same end. Well worth a read, whether you're a King fan or not. But, be forewarned. Whole sections of this book make no sense unless you've read The Dark Half. Final Judgment: Town slaying, like a boss.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca McNutt

    If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. This is the basic premise of Needful Things, one of the strangest Stephen King books I've ever read starring a really well-developed antagonist and a great balance of horror and fantasy. The story seems simple enough, a typical town sheriff pitted against Leland Gaunt, the mysterious and creepy owner of a shop that gives the citizens of Castle Rock anything they want for no price at all - but of course, everything has a price, and the people who don't ask If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. This is the basic premise of Needful Things, one of the strangest Stephen King books I've ever read starring a really well-developed antagonist and a great balance of horror and fantasy. The story seems simple enough, a typical town sheriff pitted against Leland Gaunt, the mysterious and creepy owner of a shop that gives the citizens of Castle Rock anything they want for no price at all - but of course, everything has a price, and the people who don't ask why are left to regret it later. As a strange bout of madness grips the town and things start to get dangerous, the book takes a very sinister turn. If you've ever watched the 1990's show Eerie Indiana's episode featuring a sinister investor who turns a small town shop into a hub of madness for desperate shoppers, or if you've ever watched Gremlins, you'll definitely like the kind of spooky store atmosphere Needful Things casts out. Stephen King crafts brilliant characters as usual, and though the Maine setting is a bit old considering it's chosen for almost all his books, the plot itself and the surprising events which unfold are definitely worth it.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Ken

    King writes small town claustrophobic so well, the idea of a shop that sells any item that a customer need for just the smallest of price is a great Pack with the Devil tale. Set in Castle Rock this story is bursting with Easter eggs as shop owner Leland Gaunt of the recently opened ‘Needful Things’ slowly manipulates the town against each other. It’s a great take on materialistic items and the price people are willing to pay for that ‘must have’ item, whilst exploring the King writes small town claustrophobic so well, the idea of a shop that sells any item that a customer need for just the smallest of price is a great Pack with the Devil tale. Set in Castle Rock this story is bursting with Easter eggs as shop owner Leland Gaunt of the recently opened ‘Needful Things’ slowly manipulates the town against each other. It’s a great take on materialistic items and the price people are willing to pay for that ‘must have’ item, whilst exploring the effect of one or two small incidents can slowly snowball into something bigger. It’s one of my favourite King stories, a great good vs evil battle along with at the time a final hurrah around Castle Rock.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Bradley

    With this tome of Stephen King small town horror, I'm constantly amazed that I had missed picking this up and geeking out over it when it first came out. I'm certain that I would have. It has all the things I'd been learning to geek out about with his general horror universe, including Cthulhu references, homages to his previous works including events and characters, all of them strung up as if on a map of homicide victims on a perp board, and of course, Castle Rock, itself.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Paul

    still a solid king entry. read 3 times there is a lot of characterization and setting but also some good king creepiness. having said all that i may deduct 1/2 star upon most recent reread. 3.5 adjusted stars

  12. 5 out of 5

    AMEERA

    Like always stephen King knows how to surprises us ???

  13. 5 out of 5

    Ron

    ”Little shop. Little shop of horrors. Little shop. Little....” Hey, it's much better when you sing it. ”Little shop. Little shop of horrors. Little shop. Little shop of terror. Call a cop. Little shop of horrors...” Kind of fitting? Okay, so not exact. I mean, there's no giant plant inside yelling, “Feeeed me Seymore!” But there might just be a monster of sorts inside the quaint new shop called Needful Things. He doesn't look like a monster. No, monsters never do. He looks like a man of course. Nice en/> ”Little shop. Little shop of horrors. Little shop. Little....” Hey, it's much better when you sing it. ”Little shop. Little shop of horrors. Little shop. Little shop of terror. Call a cop. Little shop of horrors...” Kind of fitting? Okay, so not exact. I mean, there's no giant plant inside yelling, “Feeeed me Seymore!” But there might just be a monster of sorts inside the quaint new shop called Needful Things. He doesn't look like a monster. No, monsters never do. He looks like a man of course. Nice enough looking guy, the owner. Trustworthy eyes too. Brown...or were they blue? Sells the most interesting items in that new shop on Main. Things you hadn't thought about before, or even knew you needed. Now that I think about it, a very kind man, that Leland Gaunt is. Cares about the community of Castle Rock and the people here. Strange how he cares, seeing he's only just arrived. Yeah, the horror is not in the shop. It's on the outside. Them people in town. Stir the pot Leland Gaunt. Just a little stir required. Cause it don't take much in the town of Castle Rock to get things a going. I passed the shop today, but I won't be buying. Nope, not me. Hmm, would you look at that thing sittin' in the window. Well, maybe I'll just pop in real quick. But I won't be buyin'.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Nicholas Armstrong

    I was going to say that the reason I didn't like this book was the huge cast of characters, but that isn't true. Sure, the huge cast bothered me, but I've read books like that before, the problem was far more to do with the writing. The writing was belabored, tired, and trite. I say this with the utmost respect for King, but it was. For example, the huge cast of characters followed a largely identical format. With a book rocking 730 or so pages of small font, that's a lot of reading, I was going to say that the reason I didn't like this book was the huge cast of characters, but that isn't true. Sure, the huge cast bothered me, but I've read books like that before, the problem was far more to do with the writing. The writing was belabored, tired, and trite. I say this with the utmost respect for King, but it was. For example, the huge cast of characters followed a largely identical format. With a book rocking 730 or so pages of small font, that's a lot of reading, and, as with Atlas Shrugged, it had better be worth it. But it wasn't. Scenes were repeated, almost identically, with different characters. A dozen characters marched into Needful Things, had a nearly identical conversation with Leland Gaunt, and then marched out. Different characters vandalized cars and I had to watch them both. Even though they were there for the same reason, doing the same thing, and it was largely the exact same scene. THAT was the problem with Needful Things. It was that the book was extremely repetitive with no payoff. Additionally, the end was far, far too gimicky. The ending was just a variation of riding off into the sunset but with the identical language that every other book/movie uses. "what happened?" "we'll never know" blah, blah, blah. I know endings are hard, I really do, but using a cliche one is not okay. Use a variation, spice it up, do something new. To top it off, the final, final, ending was the end of 90% of horror movies "Is it REALLY over?" It was unnecessary. It added nothing, and it didn't improve the story or development. Sorry to say, but this is the worst King book I've read, and I really hope it is the worst of them all.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Ahmad Sharabiani

    Needful Things, Stephen King Leland Gaunt opens a new shop in Castle Rock called Needful Things. Anyone who enters his store finds the object of his or her lifelong dreams and desires: a prized baseball card, a healing amulet. In addition to a token payment, Gaunt requests that each person perform a little "deed," usually a seemingly innocent prank played on someone else from town. These practical jokes cascade out of control and soon the entire town is doing battle with itself. Only Sherif Needful Things, Stephen King Leland Gaunt opens a new shop in Castle Rock called Needful Things. Anyone who enters his store finds the object of his or her lifelong dreams and desires: a prized baseball card, a healing amulet. In addition to a token payment, Gaunt requests that each person perform a little "deed," usually a seemingly innocent prank played on someone else from town. These practical jokes cascade out of control and soon the entire town is doing battle with itself. Only Sheriff Alan Pangborn suspects that Gaunt is behind the population's increasingly violent behavior. تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز دهم ماه اکتبر سال 2014 میلادی عنوان: چیزهای ضروری؛ نویسنده: استیفن کینگ ؛ مترجم: سهیلا فرزین‌نژاد؛ تهران: روشنگران و مطالعات زنان‏‫،‫1391؛ در 778 ص؛ ‬‬شابک: 9789641940968؛ موضوع: داستانهای ترسناک از نویسندگان ایالات متحده امریکا - سده 20 م باز شدن یک فروشگاه تازه بنام «چیزهای ضروری» در یک شهر کوچک به نام «کاسل« در ایالت «مین»، جوششی در شهر پدیدار می‌کند. مدیر فروشگاه یک مرد میانسال خوش چهره، و آقامنش به نام «لیلاند گرانت» است، که به نظر میرسد همیشه چیزی در فروشگاهش دارد، تا مناسب خواسته ی یکی از اهالی شهر باشد. چیزهای متنوع، از بلیت مسابقه‌ ی بیسبال گرفته، تا چوب ماهیگیری. اما آیا هدف واقعی او جلب رضایت مردم شهر است یا هدف خبیثانه‌ ی دیگری در پشت این چهره‌ ی به ظاهر آرام پنهان است؟ نقل نمونه متن: «تو پیش از اینم اینجا بودی: آره جونم، معلومه. من هیچ وقت قیافه ی کسی رو فراموش نمیکنم. بیا اینجا، بذار دستتو فشار بدم! بذار یه چیزی رو بهت بگم؛ حتی پیش از اینکه صورتتو خوب ببینم، از راه رفتنت شناختمت. دیگه هیچ روزی بهتر از اینو نمیتونستی برای برگشتن به کاسل راک پیدا کنی. راستی شهرعجیبی نیست؟ فصل شکار همین روزا شروع میشه. احمقا تو جنگل به طرف هر چیزی که تکون بخوره تیر در میکنن، تازه جلیقه ی نارنجی تندشونم نمیپوشن. بعدشم برف و بوران تموم میشه، ولی اون مال بعده. حالا فعلا اکتبره، اینجا تو راک ما میذاریم اکتبر هر چی دلش میخواد طول بکشه. به نظر من این بهترین وقت ساله. بهار اینجا قشنگه اما من همیشه اکتبرو به مه ترجیح میدم. ماین غربی یه قسمت از ایالته، که وقتی تابستون تموم میشه و اون مردمی که لب دریاچه یا بالای ویو کلبه ی ییلاقی دارن برمیگردن نیویورک و ماساچوست، دیگه پاک فراموش میشه. مردم اینجا اونا رو تماشا میکنن که هرسال میآن و میرن. سلام، سلام، سلام. خدافظ، خدافظ، خدافظ. وقتی که میآن خوبه، چون دلارهای شهرشونو میآرن، اما وقتی هم که میرن خوبه، چون موقع اومدن دردسرای شهرشونم میآرن. منم بیشتر میخوام درباره ی دردسرا با تو حرف بزنم. میتونی یه کم پیش من بشینی؟ اینجا روی پله های جای ارکستر، خوبه! آفتاب گرمه و از اینجا، درست وسط میدون اجتماعات شهر، میتونیم تقریبا تموم مرکز شهرو ببینیم. فقط باید تراشه ها رو بپایی، همین. این پله ها باید سمباده بخورن، و بعدشم رنگ بشن. این کارم باید هیو پریست بکنه، اما هیو هنوز وقتشو پیدا نکرده. میدونی، عرق میخوره. این دیگه یه راز نیست. تو کاسل راک اسرار رو میشه نگه داشت، و همین طورم هست، منتها باید خیلی سعی کنی تا موفق بشی، بیشتر ماها میدونیم که از اون زمانهایی که هیو میونه اش با کار سخت خوب بود خیلی گذشته. چی گفتی؟ آهان! اون! میگم ها، پسر – این خودش کاریه ها. این همه اعلامیه تو همه جای شهرچسبوندن. من فکر میکنم وندا همفیل (که شوهرش دان فروشگاه همفیل رو میگردونه) خودش تنهایی بیشتر اونا رو چسبونده. از روی اون میله بکن بدش به من. خجالت نکش، تازه از اولش هم کسی حق نداشته که روی جای ارکستر میدون اجتماعات اعلامیه بچسبونه. لعنت خدا! اینو نیگا گن، میبینی؟ همین بالاش چاپ زدن «تاس و ابلیس». حروف قرمز درشت که ازشون دود میآد بیرون و انگاری با پست سفارشی از توفت اومدن اینجا. هه! فکر کنم اگه کسی راس راسی ندونه این شهر چه جای کوچولوی خواب آلودیه، فکر میکنه که جدی جدی ما داریم فنا میشیم. اما میدونی توی یه شهر اینقدری، بعضی وقتها چه طوری همه چی گنده میشه. و جناب کشیش ویلی این دفعه دیگه حتما کک به تنبونش افتاده، هیچ شکی دراینباره نیست. کلیساها تو شهرای کوچیک… خب فکر کنم مجبور نیستم که بهت بگم وضع از چه قراره. یه جورایی با هم کنار میآن، اما خب هیچ وقت از همدیگه راضی نیستن. یه مدتی همه چی آروم پیش میره و بعدش یه هو جنجالی به پا میشه. گرچه این دفعه جنجال تقریبا شدید بود، با کلی دلخوری، میدونی کاتولیکها دارن اونور شهر تو تالار شوالیه های کلمبوس، یه چیزی راه میاندازن که اسمشو گذاشتن کازینو نایت. شنیدم پنج شنبه ی آخر هر ماه. سودش هم قراره که برای تعمیر سقف کلیسای بانوی آبهای آرام ما مصرف بشه. اگه از طرف کاسل ویو اومده باشی تو شهر، حتما اونو سر راهت دیدی. کلیسای کوچولوی قشنگیه، مگه نه؟ کازینو نایت اولش فکر پدر برایهام بود، اما دخترهای ایزابلا در واقع کسایی بودن که فکرو گرفتن و رفتن دنبالش، مخصوصا بتسی ویگ. فکر کنم خوشش میآد که چسبونترین لباس مشکیشو بپوشه و سر میز بیست و یک ورق بده یا صفحه ی رولتو بچرخونه و بگه «پولاتونو بذارین، خانم ها و آقایون، لطفا پولاتونو بذارین». وای که فکر میکنم همشون یه جورایی از این ایده خوششون میآد. فقط سرِ چندرغازه، بیضرره، اما خوب فرقی نمیکنه، یه کمی هم به نظرشون شریرانه میآد. فقط به نظر عالیجناب ویلی این موضوع بیضرر نمیآد و از نظر اون و جماعتش خیلی بیشتر از یه کم شریرانه ست. راستشو بخوای عالیجناب ویلیام رز اسم اصلیشه، هیچ وقتم از پدر برایهام خوشش نمیاومده، پدر برایهام هم علاقه ای به اون نداره. در واقع اول از همه پدر برایهام بود که اسم «کشتی بخار ویلی» رو روی عالیجناب رز گذاشت، و خود عالیجناب ویلی هم این موضوعو میدونه. قبلاً هم جرقه هایی بین این دوتا جادوگر قبیله رد و بدل شده بود، اما این مساله ی کازینو نایت دیگه از جرقه یه کمی بیشتره؛ گمون کنم بتونی بهش بگی آتیش تند. وقتی ویلی شنید که کاتولیکها میخوان یه شبو تو تالار شوالیه های کلمبوس، به قمار بگذرونن، کم مونده بود از عصبانیت اون کله ی تیز و کوچولوشو بکوبه به طاق. اون اعلامیه های تاس و ابلیس رو هم با پول خودش درست کرد، و وندا همفیل با دوستای دوره ی خیاطیش اونارو به همه جا چسبوندن. از اونوقت به بعدم تنها جایی که کاتولیکها و بابتیستها با هم حرف میزنن ستون «نامه ها»ی هفته نامه ی کوچیک ماست، که اونجا هم به همدیگه بد و بیراه میگن و پرت و پلا بار هم میکنن و به همدیگه میگن که جاشون ته جهنمه. اونجا رو نیگا کن، خودت میفهمی من چی میگم. اون نان روبرتس بود، که همین الان از بانک دراومد بیرون. صاحاب غذاخوری «نانه». فکر کنم الان که پوپ مریل به اون بازار مکاره ی بزرگ تو آسمونا رفته، «نان» تقریبا پولدارترین آدم شهره. از وقتی هم که هکتور یه توله ی کوچولو بود، «نان» بابتیست بوده. از اونطرف هم «ال گندرون» بزرگ داره میآد. یارو اونقدر کاتولیکه که پاپ پیش اون کاشر به نظر میآد، بهترین دوستش هم «جانی برایهام» ایرلندیه. حالا، خوب بپا! میبینی چه جوری دماغاشونو بالا گرفتن؟ هی هی، خنده دار نیست؟ من سر یه دلار به یه دونات، باهات شرط میبندم درست جایی که اون دوتا، از بغل همدیگه رد شدن، درجه حرارت بیست درجه پایین افتاد. به قول مادرم، آدما از همه بیشتر خوش میگذرونن غیر از اسبها و اونام نمیتونن. حالا اون ورو بپا. ماشین گشت کلانترو میبینی که دم پیاده رو نزدیک مغازه ی ویدیو پارک شده؟ اونم جان لاپوینت که توی مغازه اس. قراره مواظب کسایی باشه که تند میرونن، آخه میدونی مرکز شهر محدوده ی سرعت کمه، مخصوصا وقتی که بچه های مدرسه میریزن بیرون، اما اگه دستتو سایبون چشمت کنی و درست نیگا کنی، میبینی کاری که واقعا داره میکنه اینه که زل زده به یه عکس که از توی کیفش درآورده. از اینجا نمیتونم اونو ببینم اما عکسیه که تقریبا یه سال پیش اندی کلاترباک از جان و «سالی راتکلیف» تو نمایشگاه ایالتی فرایبرگ گرفت. تو اون عکس، بازوی جانی دورشونه ی سالیه و سالی هم یه خرس عروسکی رو که جانی تو سالن تیراندازی برنده شده دستش گرفته و هردوشونم اونقدر خوشن که نزدیکه از خنده روده بر بشن. اما اون مال اون روزا بود، نه الان. اینطور که میگن این روزا سالی با لستر پرات مربی تربیت بدنی دبیرستان نامزد کرده. اونم مث سالی یه بابتیست خالص و پروپا قرصه. جان هنوز از شوک از دست دادن سالی بیرون نیومده. دیدی چه آهی کشید؟ اون سر این مساله خیلی ناراحت شده. فقط مردی که هنوز عاشقه (یا فکر میکنه که هست) میتونه آهی به این عمیقی بکشه. ...؛»؛ پایان نقل. ا. شربیانی

  16. 5 out of 5

    Paul Nelson

    'Everyone loves something for nothing . . . even if it costs everything.' When new shop Needful Things opens in Castle Rock, there is soon an avalanche of customers desperate to 'buy now' but as the front cover says, you will pay later. Leland Gaunt is the proprietor and he has an extensive stock, something will definitely catch your eye, I guarantee it. Is it the perfect store? Well it possesses the thing you desire most and its available for whatever you think it's worth, with a small proviso, 'Everyone loves something for nothing . . . even if it costs everything.' When new shop Needful Things opens in Castle Rock, there is soon an avalanche of customers desperate to 'buy now' but as the front cover says, you will pay later. Leland Gaunt is the proprietor and he has an extensive stock, something will definitely catch your eye, I guarantee it. Is it the perfect store? Well it possesses the thing you desire most and its available for whatever you think it's worth, with a small proviso, you have to do something in return, a small prank or an undercover delivery. Nothing to worry about, honestly? We then meet what appears to be the whole town as various characters visit Needful Things and become enthralled by what's on offer. Everyone it seems has a trick to play for Leland Gaunt and the repercussions get ever closer to a violent outcome of catastrophic proportions. So once again it's not a review as such but more a gushing of what I loved about Needful Things, so if you've not read it then proceed with caution, there will definitely be spoilers. First off young Brian Rusk and his baseball card, the start point of a particularly harrowing battle between two ladies equal in determination and destined to meet amidst knife and cleaver. Nettie Cobb, Polly's housekeeper, and her enemy Wilma Jerzyck, a strong minded but not really likable woman. A tragic ending befalls all three participants of this game and three brilliant second tier characters. And Brian's Mother Cora, versus Myra Evans in the battle of Elvis, an unhealthy infatuation with the King of rock n roll 'thank you .... thank you very much' and someone will be dying for a hunka-hunka burning love. 'He had discovered another large fact about possessions and the peculiar psychological state they induce; the more one has to go through because of something one owns, the more one wants to keep that thing.' Needful Things and Leland Gaunt have a profound and dire effect on anyone who visits his shop and obtains an item, they are bound to him as much as to the item purchased. Not the thing you really, really wanted it to be, but in your mind it is that thing and it’s the only thing you can think of. Possessed mind, body and soul, by the trickster in his lair. Just a touch of his wares or a step into his hide is all it takes and you want it, can't get enough of it and you'll do anything to keep and protect it. 'He closed his hand around it in a fist to keep it from falling to the floor . . . and at once a feeling of oddness and distortion swept over him.' My favourite characters were of course Sheriff Alan Pangborn and his partner Polly Chalmers, Alan blessed with speed of hand, is one of the last people to meet the true trickster Leland Gaunt. He is a gifted amateur magician and is able to produce a number of different and complex shadow puppets and sleight-of-hand tricks. After overcoming his own bind to Gaunt at the game end, courtesy of Polly his tricks prove to be the deciding factor in the fight against evil. And Polly is just lovely, the pain, the pills, her terrible loss and the fight to overcome her purchase from Needful Things. Her own Lucifer’s locket in the shape of a magic artefact, a spider that feeds on her pain amongst other things and she so wanted the pain to be gone, it was the thing she wanted most of all but not without cost. ’He makes you buy back your own sickness, and he makes you pay double! Don’t you understand that yet? Don’t you get it?’ I love the way Stephen King brushes past a character, almost nonchalantly, he gives you a snippet of what they're about, something that defines them, a piece of their history, a reaction, anything and it leaves them embedded in your memory, like someone you've briefly met. Your first opinion well and truly formed. And we meet plenty of characters in this story, the majority of them memorable not all of them likeable but none without consequence. If I had anything near a criticism it would be an over indulgence in characters, when we hit the religious group action and the street fight, I wasn't bothered so much with the lead up. Just wanted to get back to Alan, Leland Gaunt, Polly and the one and only Ace Merrill. ' Misdirection. It was a five-foot-long snake hidden inside a can of nuts . . . or, he thought, thinking of Polly, it’s a disease that looks like a cure.' Loved the ending though, brilliant stuff. So where does Needful Things sit in my list of King Favourites, well if you trawl the net you won't find this book in anyone's top ten it's more likely to be in the bottom half in fact. I really enjoyed it, both the story and the characters sparked my interest immediately, it may have gone round the mountain to get to the top but I like good characterization and this has it in abundance. I think this definitely sits in my top ten, not quite up there with The Stand and IT but not a million miles away. Also posted at http://paulnelson.booklikes.com/post/...

  17. 5 out of 5

    Tyler J [They/He] (Wickedjr Reads)

    3.5 Mr. Gaunt comes to town, opens a shop, Needful Things, and sells people exactly what they want....for a price of course. But that price isn't entirely money. Part money, part deed or trick really. And he always knows exactly what people want. I really enjoyed the writing, the characters, the plot. Everything really. I liked the messages I got through-out the book and how it made me think. I didn't care for the ending though and, to me, it felt like it lost a bit of the point. A bi 3.5 Mr. Gaunt comes to town, opens a shop, Needful Things, and sells people exactly what they want....for a price of course. But that price isn't entirely money. Part money, part deed or trick really. And he always knows exactly what people want. I really enjoyed the writing, the characters, the plot. Everything really. I liked the messages I got through-out the book and how it made me think. I didn't care for the ending though and, to me, it felt like it lost a bit of the point. A bit too...religious...for my taste. Though apart from the ending I loved how the religions of the towns people (Baptist and Catholic) played a (large) part in the story. My dad is Baptist and i've heard how much he hates Catholics so it all felt very realistic to me. I know (way too many) people exactly like those in this book. Sure i'm not entirely sure that every character really played an important part in the story but I had fun with it. Oh and I really related to Polly with her chronic pain (from arthritis in her case). I definitely have tabs in this book because of it and it made me cry. I felt so much for her. Plenty of content warnings would apply in this book.

  18. 5 out of 5

    ~Geektastic~

    Stephen King’s approach to horror is much less about the supernatural than I think his reputation suggests. Before approaching his work back in high school, I was vaguely aware of books like Cujo, Pet Sematary, Christine and It (mostly due to their movie incarnations), and based on these, I assumed that King was all about the thrills and chills of the unexplained or just plain weird. It turns out the real horrors of his books are quite easy to explain, but no less frightening for this. Human nature is really all there i Stephen King’s approach to horror is much less about the supernatural than I think his reputation suggests. Before approaching his work back in high school, I was vaguely aware of books like Cujo, Pet Sematary, Christine and It (mostly due to their movie incarnations), and based on these, I assumed that King was all about the thrills and chills of the unexplained or just plain weird. It turns out the real horrors of his books are quite easy to explain, but no less frightening for this. Human nature is really all there is to it; there may be a homicidal clown on the loose in a small town, but you can bet it will be the people of that town that demonstrate the most monstrosity. A little boy is raised from the dead by a supernatural force, but is it the force that is frightening, or what it does to people who should leave the dead well enough alone? A teenage girl exhibits frightening telekinetic powers, but would these abilities have turned to destruction without the impetus of cruelty and isolation? The truly horrific is always human in King’s best works; everything else is just the trappings of the tale. Needful Things is very much a story about people and the horrors they inflict on each other, with little or no help from sinister forces. Don’t misunderstand me, there is a very sinister force involved here, but he’s really just working with something that is already there. Leland Gaunt, a charming man with a sixth sense for a deal (and some strange physical attributes), blows into the tiny town of Castle Rock to peddle his wares. Gaunt’s shop, the titular Needful Things, is ordinary and nondescript, and only in a town as small as The Rock would it cause much of a sensation. Well, make a sensation it does, and only King could create such an odd mixture of small-town life and big-time evil working in perfect conjunction with each other. The fictional Maine town of Castle Rock has made several appearances in King’s earlier novels; it was the setting for Cujo and The Dark Half, as well as the short stories “The Body” (which became the film Stand By Me), and “The Sun Dog.” Also, the protagonist of The Dead Zone stopped by just long enough to catch the Castle Rock Strangler, twenty years before the events of NF. Needful Things is billed as “the last Castle Rock story,” so from the very beginning it’s almost certain that something pretty sinister is going to go down. Castle Rock is a highly believable community, full of characters that successfully tread the line dividing people from morality tale archetypes. Some of them are “small town types,” but most of them have their own stories and idiosyncrasies, which is imperative to the story, as the psychology of Castle Rock’s inhabitants is the basis from which everything springs. Leland Gaunt offers amazing merchandise for a steal. Brian Rusk, a fairly typical eleven-year-old boy, collects 1956 baseball cards, and when Mr. Gaunt offers him a valuable Sandy Kofax card, signed to a boy named Brian no less, for ninety-eight cents, how can Brian say no? It doesn’t really matter that the rest of the payment is to be made by way of a “harmless prank” on another inhabitant of the town. And it doesn’t seem all that strange that when Brian holds his beloved card, he can see Kofax, smell the grass and dust of the diamond, and hear the long-dead pitcher’s voice clear as day. As Mr. Gaunt meets more of the Castle Rock folks, and sells them more of his astounding merchandise, some strange and sinister events begin to unfold, much to the consternation of Sheriff Alan Pangborn. Alan, like Castle Rock, has made a previous appearance in King’s oeuvre (The Dark Half). Sheriff Pangborn is like many of King’s protagonists in that he is almost too good to be true. He carries some typically heroic emotional baggage (dead wife and son), but his character is essentially untarnished by his suffering, and even a little unnatural. Alan is an amateur magician; when he’s nervous or stressed, he makes elaborate shadow puppets and pulls collapsing bouquets from his sleeves, and he has almost frighteningly good reflexes. He is a bit odd, but in the way that only charming and highly conscientious men can be. He is also the consummate gentleman, as his love affair with the mysterious Polly constantly illustrates. While a character like Alan is usually irritating in a book so fundamentally free of optimism as Needful Things, there is also something very basic and natural about the White Knight Alan facing the sinister Gaunt for the souls of Castle Rock. Alan and Gaunt don’t even meet until the last few chapters, but their face off is inevitable from the start. While Good vs. Evil is a big theme in Needful Things, I think Leland Gaunt’s character could have used a little more subtlety. It is pretty obvious from the start that there is something not quite right about him; he’s up to something, and his plan seems subtle at first, but soon becomes as nuanced as a slap in the face. While the set-up of playing people against each other and their baser instincts is not new to horror, King does take an interesting sort of domino approach to the overall plot, setting up seemingly unrelated characters to force simmering, small town grudges to the murderous boiling point. I also give King credit for using the inherent (and believable) selfishness of the characters to his own advantage, keeping the plot rolling through over 700+ pages. And he is rarely kind to his characters; even the most innocuous and kindly characters are subject to some pretty gruesome stuff. While it’s painful to watch a character you like suffer, it also gives a whiff of realism to an otherwise over-the-top story. There is one element of the story I find a little confusing. About two-thirds of the way through the story, Ace Merrill, an aging hood who works for Gaunt, runs across a bit of bizarre graffiti. Spray painted on a rundown old garage is the phrase “Yog-Sogoth Rules.” I’m not a huge horror fan; in fact, Stephen King is the only horror writer I read with any regularity. I have never been able to slog my way through Lovecraft (though god knows I’ve tried), but I am vaguely aware of the Cthulu mythos, and the association of the name Yog-Sogoth with said mythos. The thing is, I’m not quite sure what this has to do with the story King is telling. After a little research (thank you Wikipedia), I was able to draw a couple of possible conclusions, but they’re foggy, (view spoiler)[ as the name is only mentioned twice in the whole book, and is never satisfactorily tied to Gaunt or any higher power Gaunt may be subject to. (hide spoiler)] Yog Sogoth is also known as “Aforgomon,” (in works by Clark Ashton Smith, whoever that is) and this character/creature/what-have-you is known to only reveal himself to those who anger him. (view spoiler)[There are moments in the book when Gaunt becomes enraged by his customers, and when this happens he does have a tendency to “reveal” himself, which usually consists of a crack in his “kindly old gentleman” façade and the occasional shift in eye color. (hide spoiler)] So there is a connection, but it is either just an interesting bit of horror trivia, or you would have to be a much more informed Lovecraftian than myself to understand any deeper meaning. (If anyone can clarify any of this for me, feel free to comment with your theory.) I was pretty thoroughly immersed in Needful Things, though I can’t rank it with my favorites by King (It, The Dead Zone, Carrie, Firestarter, The Talisman, The Stand, Pet Semetary, The Shining and ‘Salem’s Lot are all superior, I believe). Oddly enough, this book reminded me of Jane Austen, and no, I’m not losing my mind or trying to make some high flown literary allusion. The two incredibly disparate writers simply share a rare talent for creating highly believable communities that are integral to their storytelling methods. Austen’s Emma relies heavily on the neighborhood surrounding the main plot, and Needful Things has a similar structure. If these were just a few unrelated characters living in proximity to one another, the whole thing would never have held up with any success, but the community feels very real, so it is both sad and terrifying when the whole thing essentially implodes and neighbors show their true colors to one another. Ok, this could go on forever, so I'll wrap it up. This was a top notch read, really. As I said, not the absolute epitome of King’s abilities, but very solid and enjoyable.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Matt

    A reread for me. Absolutely amazing and epic tale that perfectly captures and creates the quintessential essence of small town America. The large cast of characters are all so unique, perfectly fleshed out and entertaining. Leland Gaunt is badass and so cleverly, evil and cunning that he's one of King's best characters in my opinion. This is a hell of a read and King outdid himself with this one. The plot may seem simple but it's far from it. The way King was able to concoct such a harrowing and A reread for me. Absolutely amazing and epic tale that perfectly captures and creates the quintessential essence of small town America. The large cast of characters are all so unique, perfectly fleshed out and entertaining. Leland Gaunt is badass and so cleverly, evil and cunning that he's one of King's best characters in my opinion. This is a hell of a read and King outdid himself with this one. The plot may seem simple but it's far from it. The way King was able to concoct such a harrowing and complex tale of diabolical wickedness is astounding. It's a long tome but it's well worth the time and it goes by quickly because it's so engrossing. In my top 3 King books of all time. What a book!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Latasha

    first time reading this, have not seen the movie. I had a vague idea what this story was about, though. While is was (kinda) spoiled for me, it was still very enjoyable. I'm always so delighted when the Lovecraft mythos makes an appearance. Yog'sothoth rocks! i liked all the Cujo references and all the others he made (the dead zone, idk what all else). I liked the characters and thought Mr. Gaunt was a very interesting villain. There's some different theories i've seen as to who or what he was. first time reading this, have not seen the movie. I had a vague idea what this story was about, though. While is was (kinda) spoiled for me, it was still very enjoyable. I'm always so delighted when the Lovecraft mythos makes an appearance. Yog'sothoth rocks! i liked all the Cujo references and all the others he made (the dead zone, idk what all else). I liked the characters and thought Mr. Gaunt was a very interesting villain. There's some different theories i've seen as to who or what he was. what's your theory?

  21. 5 out of 5

    M.G. Mason

    Despite that The Stand is my favourite King novel, Needful Things comes a very close second. In some ways it is a much more intriguing story in that it deals with a much more base issue: human greed and the things people will do for personal gain. Leland Gaunt arrives in Castle Rock, the setting for a good handful of King’s novels, opening up a bric-a-brac shop. The thing is with this shop is that it always seems to have the customer’s most secret desire and Gaunt never see Despite that The Stand is my favourite King novel, Needful Things comes a very close second. In some ways it is a much more intriguing story in that it deals with a much more base issue: human greed and the things people will do for personal gain. Leland Gaunt arrives in Castle Rock, the setting for a good handful of King’s novels, opening up a bric-a-brac shop. The thing is with this shop is that it always seems to have the customer’s most secret desire and Gaunt never seems to require much money for the sale. But there is always a second price, to perform a small prank on somebody else. Needless to say, the pranks become increasingly malevolent and re-ignites old animosities between individuals. Soon the whole town has descended into chaos and murderous violence and it is down to Sheriff Pangborn to put it right. Long-term fans of King will know Pangborn from The Dark Half and The Sun Dog. Because of the subject matter, the story required a bit more in-depth characterisation than we might be used to from Stephen King. This he does very well and the interactions, positive and negative flow well with the plot. Despite the fantastical setting, the plot is believable because it criticises human greed and explores how it consumes, asking us all the way “how far would you go to obtain your inner-most secret desire?” See more book reviews at my blog

  22. 4 out of 5

    Ashley Daviau

    I don’t feel quite right giving this book 4 and not 5 stars because I really did love it and it features one of my new favourite villains. But there’s one aspect of the book that just won’t let me give it a full 5 stars. And that is the fact that there’s SO many damn characters and it was incredibly difficult for me to keep them all straight and remember their stories. There were a few I obviously couldn’t help but remember but some didn’t stick and I’d have to go back and find where they were i I don’t feel quite right giving this book 4 and not 5 stars because I really did love it and it features one of my new favourite villains. But there’s one aspect of the book that just won’t let me give it a full 5 stars. And that is the fact that there’s SO many damn characters and it was incredibly difficult for me to keep them all straight and remember their stories. There were a few I obviously couldn’t help but remember but some didn’t stick and I’d have to go back and find where they were introduced. Despite that minor detail this is one phenomenal story! I definitely think it’s one of those Kings that get better each time you read it because you absorb more each time. It also features one of my new favourite King villains. I LOVED Leland Gaunt, he truly is a deliciously evil character! The chaos he causes is spectacular and I loved seeing it all build up to the final event where everything just completely degenerates and Castle Rock goes wild!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Bri | bribooks

    Needful Things is my favorite Stephen King novel. Hell, it's probably my favorite novel, period. I felt that way going into this reread, and those feelings did not change upon reading it for the...fourth time, I think it is now. King nails everything here: exceptional character work, horror and comedy in equal measure, and one of his most memorable endings to date. I know this novel has its detractors, and that's cool. Different strokes for different folks, brother. This novel is long (but not extraneous Needful Things is my favorite Stephen King novel. Hell, it's probably my favorite novel, period. I felt that way going into this reread, and those feelings did not change upon reading it for the...fourth time, I think it is now. King nails everything here: exceptional character work, horror and comedy in equal measure, and one of his most memorable endings to date. I know this novel has its detractors, and that's cool. Different strokes for different folks, brother. This novel is long (but not extraneous, he emphasized) and stars one of King's largest casts. I dig that, and some readers don't. Personally, I love every character here: Buster Keeton, Nettie Cobb, Hugh Priest, Willie Rose — that old Catholic-hating reverend. This novel is King at his most Dickensian: these small town people are folks all readers can relate to; the way these characters' lives intertwine with one another are an absolute joy to read about. And like the best of Dickens's work, this book is fucking hilarious at times. I laugh until I cry every time I read Needful Things; typically I find King's humor to be a little hit or miss. In this 1991 satire, he hits the nail on the head every. single. time. I would wager SK had a ton of fun writing this novel because it's a blast to read. That's not to say this book is lighthearted or breezy; it's anything but. While it has it's hilarious moments, those are contrasted sharply with some of the darkest, most despairing scenes King has ever penned. Why is this book not mentioned in the same breath as Pet Sematary or Cujo when this author's bleakest works are discussed? Some of the text is almost too downtrodden to bare (I'm thinking, for instance, of Cora Rusk's distraction — her longing to go back to her Elvis fantasy — and inability to understand what has just happened to her son. No spoilers!) As well, it is as relevant today as it was in 1991 — if not more so. For the last eighteen months or thereabouts, I have watched roughly 40% of my country's citizens fall victim to an aging con man, someone who preyed and still preys on the weak, scared, angry and greedy to win the presidential election and further his agenda (or sow chaos; whatever you want to call it). In a sense, this novel feels just as chilling and timely in the Trump era as 1984 or It Can't Happen Here. Needless to say, this is King's masterwork — at least, for me it is. Some folks would say that title falls to the Dark Tower series or It or The Stand. That's fine. Literature is so damn subjective and every Constant Reader is different. But for me, Needful Things is the tome that shows the impossible heights King is capable of climbing to. He's come close since — and he had come close before this novel released — but this is in a class all its own. My highest recommendation, and then some. Favorite Quote "The goods which had so attracted the residents of Castle Rock — the black pearls, the holy relics, the carnival glass, the pipes, the old comic books, the baseball cards, the antique kaleidoscopes — were all gone. Mr. Gaunt had gotten down to his real business, and at the end of things, the business was always the same. The ultimate item had changed with the years, just like everything else, but such changes were surface things, frosting of different flavors on the same dark and bitter cake. At the end, Mr. Gaunt always sold them weapons . . . and they always bought." King Connections Confession: I did not take notes while reading this. I know, I know; bad Cody! I just wanted to enjoy the ride. This is subtitled "The Last Castle Rock Story", so of course it's the punctuation mark on the Castle Rock saga. Connections big and small to The Dead Zone, The Body, Cujo, The Dark Half, and The Sun Dog pop up. The book's epilogue is set in Junction City, Iowa, which was the setting for 1990's novella The Library Policeman. The car Ace Merrill picks up for Mr. Gaunt is a Tucker Talisman — a type of car that does not exist, and I am almost tempted to say its name is a reference to The Talisman. As well, when Ace sits in the Talisman for the first time he thinks about how fine a new car smells. "Nothing smells better," he remarks, "except maybe pussy." This line is almost certainly a throwback to Christine, as that same thought is expressed by a character in that novel. Pretty cool. I am sure there are many more connections to be found here (there are references to Derry and some scenes are set in Cumberland Hospital, which is close to Jerusalem's Lot), but I didn't feel like chasing them. Say sorry. Up Next I am going to reread King's scariest novel; it's Gerald's Game!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Bentley ★ Bookbastion.net

    See this review and more like it on www.bookbastion.net! _____ So, we all have establish that I love horror – I love being scared – but one author’s catalog that I’ve been woefully under-read in is Stephen King. I read a few of his books as a young teenager, but those years are so far behind me now that I barely remember most of them! This is the year of reading things that have been on my list for awhile, and reading what’s been calling to me and this book was on the top of the list. When an author develops a pantheon of bestsellers, See this review and more like it on www.bookbastion.net! _____ So, we all have establish that I love horror – I love being scared – but one author’s catalog that I’ve been woefully under-read in is Stephen King. I read a few of his books as a young teenager, but those years are so far behind me now that I barely remember most of them! This is the year of reading things that have been on my list for awhile, and reading what’s been calling to me and this book was on the top of the list. When an author develops a pantheon of bestsellers, it’s inevitable that some of those stories become a bit overshadowed, especially by the giants that the media chooses to recreate on the big and silver screens. Don’t let the lack of word-of-mouth around this one fool you: there’s a lot of meat to really dig into in this novel, in terms of plot, character, setting, (and even nods to earlier novels) that any fan of horror or thriller genres is sure to be entertained. Even though Needful Things might not have captured the attention of Hollywood’s remake and reboot machine – just yet anyway – it is directly connected to the Hulu show Castle Rock, which is an anthology series of untold stories conceptualized by Stephen King over the course of his career but never written. Both the show, and Needful Things, take place in the fictional Maine town that King has centered a number of his stories in, and both share a few characters that made both watching the show and reading this book at the same time a great deal of fun. Anyone who has read even one Stephen King novel knows that where he really shines – aside from the horror – is in his characters. King is a master at building a vividly realized world that is perfectly emblematic of small town life and the people living within it. He brings his characters to life more and more with ever passing page. Even the smaller characters are detailed in their motivations and backstories. Truly everyone in this novel has their place and purpose, as Leland Gaunt, the proprietor of Needful Things uses their own desires to turn friends and neighbors against each other. Not one line of characterization is wasted in King’s depiction of a small town brought to its knees by greed, and avarice. At the time of its release this book was touted as “the end of Castle Rock,” and with good reason. It is clearly the culmination of years of work on King’s part. This book is chock full of references to earlier horrors that have visited the town, and the way those events have effected the characters. Like I said before, I haven’t read much of King’s works, but even I was able to pick up on some of the references. A more well-versed fan of his novels is sure to get a lot of enjoyment out of the way this novel pays respect to those earlier stories. I have to pay respect to the way this book is plotted as well. I’d call this a slow burn from start to finish, but there’s just enough sinister shenanigans going on throughout that I found myself entertained, and it culminates in one hell of an epic showdown that I’m not soon to forget. As King has his characters give in to their desires and pay a visit to the darkened doorway of the new shop in their town, so too does he begin to pit his characters against each other. The reader can see the chaos coming, but it doesn’t make the resultant horror any less scary to see unfold. Clocking in at 790 pages, it is a trifle long, even for me. There’s a lot to dive into here. Fans of fully realized characters and an examination of the destructiveness of materialism on society will have a great deal of fun digging into this one, but you absolutely have to be ready to work for it. If you think you’re prepared, step right up to the door of Needful Things. This is one store that is always open, for those willing to pay the price. 4.5 out of 5 stars follow me on instagram @bookbastion for more snaps of my books.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Mike (the Paladin)

    So are you familiar with the Lemony Snicket book, A Series of Unfortunate Events? Well this book could be, a series of depressing dark events. I am a bit ambivalent about Mr. King's books anyway. I have for years found his books a "mixed bag"...that is for me of course. I know many love his every comma, period and blood stain. I have liked many of his more recent books so when I hit a dry spell recently and no book drew me in I decided to drop back and pick up one of his books I never read.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Celeste

    You can find this review and more at Novel Notions. “Ladies and gentlemen, attention, please! Come in close where everyone can see! I got a tale to tell, it isn’t gonna cost a dime! (And if you believe that, we’re gonna get along just fine.)” Are you a seasonal reader? I sure am. Winter is for classics and childhood favorites and romances. Spring is for fiction that builds my faith and fantasies that build intricate worlds in my mind. Summer is for rereads when I’m feeling lazy and new-to-me realms of fant You can find this review and more at Novel Notions. “Ladies and gentlemen, attention, please! Come in close where everyone can see! I got a tale to tell, it isn’t gonna cost a dime! (And if you believe that, we’re gonna get along just fine.)” Are you a seasonal reader? I sure am. Winter is for classics and childhood favorites and romances. Spring is for fiction that builds my faith and fantasies that build intricate worlds in my mind. Summer is for rereads when I’m feeling lazy and new-to-me realms of fantasy when I’m not. But autumn is without a doubt the season that dictates my reading the most. For the past few years, October has been for horror in general and Stephen King in particular. This year, I kicked my King-a-Thon off a little early. And I’m happy to report that I started it off with a bang. Though I’ve visited through film and the novella Gwendy’s Button Box, Needful Things marks my first novel-length journey into Castle Rock. It was quite the introduction, let me tell you. Originally billed as the last Castle Rock novel, you know going in that things probably aren’t going to end well. King is a master of the slow burn, of stories that so gradually develop their tone of impending doom that you find yourself suddenly frightened with no way to pinpoint what it is exactly that is scaring you. Needful Things was no exception. Castle Rock is a quaint little town that has experienced it share of weird. It’s the setting of The Dead Zone, Cujo, and The Dark Half, all of which took place prior to this book. But as with all small towns, they’ve done their best to sweep the weird under the proverbial rug and pretend that it never happened. Whether that willful ignorance has any impact on the events of this book is for the reader to decide. “Love, the simplest, strongest, and most unforgiving of all emotions.” The story opens with townspeople whispering excitedly over the opening of a new shop. In a town this size, change is rare and is made much of, though the citizenry is sure to feign disinterest; no one wants to seem too excited, as that would reveal a lack of restraint and refinement to others in town. Regardless, nearly everyone in town ends up paying Mr. Leeland Gaunt a visit at his curiosity shop, Needful Things. And every single visitor finds within the shop the fulfillment of their deepest and most treasured wish in the form of an object on the shelves of the new shop. Every customer is desperate to secure said object, but certain it’s something they could never afford. “Because in America, you could have anything you wanted, just as long as you could pay for it. If you couldn't pay, or refused to pay, you would remain needful for ever.” Imagine their absolute delight when Mr. Gaunt quotes them a rock-bottom price on the item that physically embodies their wildest dream. They get a steal of a deal, as long as they’re also willing to perform a tiny favor for the proprietor in the form of a harmless prank played on another Castle Rock citizen. What’s the harm, right? These purchases begin to change the people of the town, bringing out the darkness inside them. Greed and selfishness, suspicion and mistrust begin to bleed onto the streets and into the hearts of those who walk out the doors of Needful Things. Even though each customer has just made the purchase of a lifetime, there is no rushing to show off these remarkable finds to family or bragging of them to friends. Each treasure is jealously guarded, and each owner lives in terror of someone stealing this prized possession from them. Because they never share their treasures with each other, no one sees said treasure for what it really is: a lie. “Everyone loves something for nothing...even if it costs everything.” Each of Mr. Gaunt’s customers becomes so obsessed with their purchase that they fail to see the malice festering all over town. Those “harmless” pranks? When you have enough of them built up, they’re not so harmless. Neighbor is pitted against neighbor, lover against love, friend against friend and church against church as parties are framed for stunts they never pulled. When all of this mischief finally comes to a head, the whole town is likely to explode. “Men and women who can't get over their past . . . That's what ghosts are.” Mr. Gaunt is a fascinating character who is undoubtedly a supernatural being, though what exactly he is never comes to light. He is the most masterful manipulator of people I have ever come across. But he’s not what made this story so scary. What frightened me was King’s portrayal of human nature. While Gaunt is the orchestrator of the madness that takes hold of the town, its people are willing participants. Each is out for their own gain, and are quick to accept that whoever Gaunt framed is to blame for their misery without every asking said person if they really did these hurtful things. We see an entire town of diverse individuals become replicas of Tolkien’s Gollum, focused single-mindedly on guarding their precious object and mistrusting of everyone around them, convinced that a potential thief lives in the shadowed hearts of their family and friends and neighbors. Man’s readiness to see the worst in his fellow man with no effort to investigate for himself is mind boggling to me, even though I’ve seen it countless times in both fiction and reality. The scariest monsters to leave King’s mind for a home on a page are not the killer clown or rabid dog or reanimated cats, but the men and women who find themselves twisted and do nothing to fight the change, choosing instead to embrace their inner darkness. His take on humanity is terrifying in its probability. “Some tears have to be cried no matter what the hour- until they are, they simply rave and burn inside.” What keeps me coming back to King isn’t the fear factor, but the hope that finds a way to shine through the utter bleakness of his stories. While he shows humanity at its worst, he also shows it at its best. There is always someone who rises up to fight the darkness, even when they fight alone. But the tiniest ray of light can banish the darkest shadows, and King is wonderful at showing the power of that light. Evil might not be forever defeated, but it has been vanquished for a time to lick its wounds. Good triumphs in the battle, even if the war wages on. “That was what I wanted, but I don't need it to be gone. I can love you and I can love life and bear the pain all at the same time. I think the pain might even make the rest better, the way a good setting can make a diamond look better.” King is kind of known for not being able to stick the landing when it comes to ending a story. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve come to expect so little from his endings or because it was legitimately better than most, but I was super happy with the way this book wrapped up. Everything built up to this epic battle, and I wasn’t disappointed with either the battle itself or the outcome. I didn’t feel like cheated in anyway by the final pages, which I have in the past. Whatever the case, I’m so glad I kicked off my King-a-Thon with this book. Time to backtrack and dig into the rest of Castle Rock’s history!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Andrea ❤Ninja Bunneh❤

    "YOU’VE BEEN HERE BEFORE.    Sure you have. Sure. I never forget a face." Whoever said "nothing in life is free", has apparently read this book. A small town (one Constant Readers have seen many times before) is about to get a brand new business. Anything your tiny heart desires is in that store. Anything at all! There's that rare baseball card you've been hunting for ages! Oh, and look at those sunglasses worn by The King himself! Have you seen that gorgeous lamp you were never able to afford? Well, there it i "YOU’VE BEEN HERE BEFORE.    Sure you have. Sure. I never forget a face." Whoever said "nothing in life is free", has apparently read this book. A small town (one Constant Readers have seen many times before) is about to get a brand new business. Anything your tiny heart desires is in that store. Anything at all! There's that rare baseball card you've been hunting for ages! Oh, and look at those sunglasses worn by The King himself! Have you seen that gorgeous lamp you were never able to afford? Well, there it is! Ripe for the pickin'. You can buy all these and more for a small monetary fee. Oh, yes. But there is a catch. Isn't there always? The only thing that remains to be seen is if that price is worth it in the end. This is written by SK, after all. "Can I read the sign? You bet I can! It says OPENING SOON on top, and under that, ANSWERED PRAYERS, A NEW KIND OF STORE. And the last line-wait a minute, it’s a little smaller-the last line says You won’t believe your eyes! Interesting name for a store, ain’t it? Answered Prayers. Makes you wonder what’s for sale inside. Why, with a name like that it could be anything. Anything at all.” 5 Ninja-Bunnehs-A-Fishin'

  28. 5 out of 5

    C.W.

    Always said this was one of my favorites of his, from when I read it many years ago, but never gave it a reread - still good, had a lot of fun listening to it this time around, but didn't enjoy it quite as much as I remembered. Original rating still stands (my tastes have just morphed slightly I suppose) but definitely wanted to give a rating to the audiobook. Still highly recommended, if you're looking for that creepy small-town feel!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Will M.

    Special mention to Kat Stark! Because of her 4 star rating of this, and a really favorable review, I decided to pick this up again, as it was lying around on break for over 3 months already. I completely forgot about it (blame the really long to-read shelf). Thanks Kat! Your review was amazing, and it ended up making me finish an amazing novel. Here's a link to her review: my link text Finally finished this, and I'm really glad I did. What a freakin' ending that was. The best Ste Special mention to Kat Stark! Because of her 4 star rating of this, and a really favorable review, I decided to pick this up again, as it was lying around on break for over 3 months already. I completely forgot about it (blame the really long to-read shelf). Thanks Kat! Your review was amazing, and it ended up making me finish an amazing novel. Here's a link to her review: my link text Finally finished this, and I'm really glad I did. What a freakin' ending that was. The best Stephen King book that I've read, alongside The Long Walk. Kindly consider though that I've only read three as of this moment. Needful Things, The Long Walk and Carrie. Carrie was another great novel, but Needful Things and The Long Walk were far more superior for me. Not really sure why this has a low rating on Goodreads. Better read around and find out. It had a diverse set of characters, and all of them were interesting in their own ways. I'm not going to mention all of them anymore, as it would lengthen this review, and that's quite unnecessary anyway. Some of the notable characters though were Nettie, Polly, Alan, Brian, Ace, and Sean. Okay I was kidding, of course we need to add Mr. Leland Gaunt. He was one of the most powerful characters I've ever encountered. Aside from all the symbolism he portrayed, his character alone made the novel as amazing as it was. All the fighting around town were really interesting in their own ways, and we can all blame the "devil" Leland Gaunt for that. One thing that I didn't like about this novel though was the length. It could've been lessen down to around 300-500 pages, then it would be more bearable than its current state. But aside from the length, I couldn't find anymore flaws. I did bear with it, but it took me around 4 months to finish this. I did take a break during the middle part though. So if I were to exclude the break that I took, I probably finished this in a week or so. Needful Things is the name of the shop where all your wishes can come true, but it's for a price. There's nothing in the world that's free nowadays, unless there's a mad"man" who wants to cause havoc in the vicinity. An interesting name like that would tempt and catch anyone's attention, thus the havoc began. Honestly the blurb alone made me want to pickup this novel right away. Interestingly new for me, so I gave it a try. When I did pick this up though, I was still in the state wherein I didn't like reading huge novels, thus the break commenced. Now though, I am more interested in Fantasy novels, and Sci-Fi, so the length does not bother me anymore. Special mention to you A Song of Ice and Fire. That being said, I think that if I were to reread this right now, I would enjoy it even more, and it might even make it to my favorites shelf, but that's not going to happen right now. With my to-read shelf as long as the great wall of China, I can't really afford to reread as of right now. In the future though, I'm going to read this again for sure. I pretty much rambled on about useless things in the previous paragraph/s, so I'm going to wrap things up right now. A very interestingly good novel. Have yourself a different read, and have a great time in the process too. Honestly a few dull moments here and there, but just a few paragraphs or so, very bearable in my case. This will not be my last ever Stephen King novel, in fact, I have around 5 more sitting impatiently on my bookshelf. I'm going to read another, if not more of his works in the near future.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Fred

    The book theme I recognize is "did you have a favorite candy shop as a kid with everying you want". In the small town Castle Rock, Maine, a new "Needful Things " store opens, residents love the store & keep coming in - but it's not just a favorite antique shop. The owner is Leland Gaunt, an old man & always has what a customer wants, items sold at low prices to make people happy for small little "favors" to damage property, pull pranks & kill. Brian Rusk(11) is the first customer for a r The book theme I recognize is "did you have a favorite candy shop as a kid with everying you want". In the small town Castle Rock, Maine, a new "Needful Things " store opens, residents love the store & keep coming in - but it's not just a favorite antique shop. The owner is Leland Gaunt, an old man & always has what a customer wants, items sold at low prices to make people happy for small little "favors" to damage property, pull pranks & kill. Brian Rusk(11) is the first customer for a rare LA Dodger's "Sandy" Koufax baseball card & many "favors"!! (view spoiler)[Can Sheriff Alan Pangborn & the town close "Needful Things"? What could the Gaunt devil do, go riding off somewhere else? (hide spoiler)] (I read the book then watched the "horror" movie, knowing Gaunt before the movie adds some humor. Agree?) Needful Things - Movie Trailer 1993

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