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Lisey's Story  
First edition cover
Author Stephen King
Country USA
Language English
Genre(s) Fantasy, horror
Publisher Scribner
Publication date October 24, 2006
Media type Print (Hardcover)
Pages 528
ISBN 978-0743289412
Preceded by Cell
Followed by Duma Key

Lisey's Story is a psychological horror novel by Stephen King. It was released on October 24, 2006, and was nominated for the World Fantasy Award in 2007.[1]



Lisey's Story is the story of Lisey (pronounced LEE-see) Landon, who is the widow of a famous and wildly successful novelist, Scott Landon. The book tells two stories--Lisey's story in the present, and the story of her dead husband's life, as remembered by Lisey during the course of the novel.

It has been two years since her husband's death, and Lisey is in the process of cleaning out her dead husband's writing area. A series of events occurs that causes Lisey to begin facing certain realities about her husband that she had repressed and forgotten. As Lisey is stalked, terrorized, and then mutilated by an insane fan of her husband's, Lisey begins recalling her husband's past--how he came from a family with a history of horrible mental illness that manifested as either an uncontrollable homicidal mania or as a deep catatonia, how he had a special gift, an ability to transport himself to another world, called by Scott Landon "Boo'ya Moon," how Scott Landon's brother was murdered by his father when his brother manifested an incurable insanity, and finally how Scott Landon murdered his father to save his father from the madness that had finally taken him over.

As the novel progresses we see the complexity of Lisey's marriage to Scott, and their deep and abiding love for each other. The novel takes place over a very short period of time--a matter of days--but the real story is told in Lisey's remembrances of her husband, her ability to harness his special power to save herself (and her sister), and finally to find the gift that her dead husband had left for her in Boo'ya Moon--a story just for Lisey. Lisey's story.

Connections to other works by King

Lisey's Story, like many of King's novels, takes place in Maine--in this case Castle Rock, a fictional town created by King.

Derry Home, the hospital in Derry, and Arcadia Mental Health, the mental hospital in Derry, are both mentioned in Lisey's Story. Derry is a major landmark in several of King's works (including It, Insomnia, Dreamcatcher and Bag of Bones), and is in close proximity to the main location of Lisey's Story.

Near the end of Lisey's Story, the reader discovers that Dooley was born in Shooter's Knob, Tennessee. In King's 1990 story "Secret Window, Secret Garden," Mort Rainey is confronted by a man named Shooter from Mississippi; he was named because of Mort's ex-wife's new lover - also from the South - who grew up in Shooter's Knob.

A poem written in college by Stephen King, quoted by Jack Torrance in Chapter 44 of The Shining ("The arguments against insanity fall through with a soft shurring sound, layer upon layer..."), is also recalled by Lisey Landon in this novel.

While driving to her sister Amanda's house, Lisey crosses Deep Cut Road, a major landmark in King's novel Dreamcatcher.

Lisey's sister Darla waives Lisey's offer of company on the drive back to see Amanda, saying that she has a Michael Noonan novel on audio cassette that she can listen to. Mike Noonan was the lead character of King's 1998 novel, Bag of Bones. Also, a man is mentioned wearing a Dark Score Lake souvenir shirt, Dark Score Lake being the setting of Bag of Bones.

Lisey compares her resurfacing memories to events happening "on some level of time's great tower," and also mentions "Gilead" (a location in the series) as a nearby town. The phrase "Bool! The end!" appears in Wizard and Glass. Lisey's license plate number for her BMW is 5761RD. The numbers in the plate add up to 19, and RD are the initials of Roland Deschain.

An earlier version of the second chapter was published in McSweeney's Enchanted Chamber of Astonishing Stories in which Scott Landon states "Discordia rises", a reference to the Crimson King's brand of evil. In the finished novel, however, the reference is absent.

When discussing treatment at a nearby hospital, the option of "Kingdom" is offered.

Lisey calls the police looking for Norris Ridgewick and insteads gets Andy Clutterbuck. Both of these characters played supporting roles in Needful Things. This reference is curious, considering that Andy Clutterbuck, an alcoholic widower, is said to have died (by drowning) two years after the events of Needful Things. Needful Things takes place in the early 1990s.

References to Non-King Works

  • King's use of the term 'gomer' is a reference to Samuel Shem's The House of God. According to a character in Lisey's Story, a gomer is a catatonic person; in The House of God, a gomer is used to describe a very ill hospital patient who frustrates the staff by being "too old to die." 'Gomer' is an acronym for Get Out of My Emergency Room.
  • A short excerpt from the first chapter, in King's own "handwriting" (actually just a different type font), was included in his previous novel, Cell.
  • King often references musicians and bands in his writing; in Lisey's Story, the pool is widened after his discovery of younger bands (which he has written about in his Entertainment Weekly article, The Pop of King). Here, Bright Eyes and My Chemical Romance are referenced--with Bright Eyes being alluded to as a band preferred by people who take themselves too seriously.


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