The Long Walk
by Stephen King
Publication date: 01 April 1999 (first published 1979)
Genre: Science Fiction; Dystopia; Horror
Source: my own copy
Date Read: 09 August 2013
Narrator: Kirby Heyborne
Length: 10 hours 40 minutes
Every year, on the first day of May, one hundred teenage boys meet for an event known throughout the country as "The Long Walk." Among this year's chosen crop is sixteen-year-old Ray Garraty. He knows the rules: that warnings are issued if you fall under speed, stumble, sit down. That after three warnings... you get your ticket. And what happens then serves as a chilling reminder that there can be only one winner in the Walk - the one that survives...
When I was younger, I was a huge Stephen King fan and read anything with his name on it. As I have become older, I have read less and less of his novels as I have gradually lost interest in his writing style. I have found a few gems here and there but overall I have been disappointed.
Then I came across this audio copy of The Long Walk. I read it quite a few years ago and it was a happy surprise as I remembered the creepiness of it. I was not disappointed in this “re-read”, it held the same creep factor that I remembered loving from his earlier titles.
The Long Walk is about winning a race that will mean all your dreams coming true – for the rest of your life. So it is quite an honor for the 100 boys that is chosen from the lottery draw. Unfortunately only one boy can win and that means that 99 other boys will die. I cannot
imagine someone being eager and excited about this possibility but these teenage boys all seem to think they will live forever.
In this dystopia television extravaganza, warnings are given for any “infringement” of the rules . . . if your pace becomes too slow, you get a warning. If you sit down to rest your bleeding feet, you get a warning. If you try to leave the race in any way, you get a warning. Every warning can only be erased by walking an hour without any incident. And if you receive three warnings in an hour, you get your ticket – delivered by a gunshot. Your race is terminated – forever, while the spectators cheer.
This book is very entertaining even if it all takes place on a highway during a few days' stretch. We meet a few of the characters and not all of them are very likeable . . . The ending is somewhat strange. I have read a few reviews that speculate about the real meaning of the ending but I thought it was perfect just as it was. I recommend this for all dystopia lovers.