Cover image for Sleeping beauties
Title:
Sleeping beauties
Edition:
First Scribner hardcover edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Scribner, 2017.

©2017.
ISBN:
9781501163401
Physical Description:
x 702 pages ; 24 cm
Language:
English
General Note:
Stephen King standalone novel ;
Abstract:
In this spectacular father-son collaboration, Stephen King and Owen King tell the highest of high-stakes stories: what might happen if women disappeared from the world of men? In a future so real and near it might be now, something happens when women go to sleep; they become shrouded in a cocoon-like gauze. If they are awakened, if the gauze wrapping their bodies is disturbed or violated, the women become feral and spectacularly violent; and while they sleep they go to another place. The men of our world are abandoned, left to their increasingly primal devices. One woman, however, the mysterious Evie, is immune to the blessing or curse of the sleeping disease. Is Evie a medical anomaly to be studied, or is she a demon who must be slain? Set in a small Appalachian town whose primary employer is a women's prison, Sleeping Beauties is wildly provocative and gloriously absorbing.
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On Order

Library
Copy
Status
Parts
Prescott Public Library1On Order
Prescott Public Library4Received on 10/2/17
Cottonwood Public Library2Received on 9/7/17
Prescott Valley Public Library1Received on 10/2/17
Bagdad Public Library1Received on 11/20/17
Mayer Public Library1Received on 10/2/17
Seligman Public Library1Received on 10/2/17
Yarnell Public Library1Received on 10/2/17

Summary

Summary

In this spectacular father/son collaboration, Stephen King and Owen King tell the highest of high-stakes stories: what might happen if women disappeared from the world of men?

In a future so real and near it might be now, something happens when women go to sleep: they become shrouded in a cocoon-like gauze. If they are awakened, if the gauze wrapping their bodies is disturbed or violated, the women become feral and spectacularly violent. And while they sleep they go to another place, a better place, where harmony prevails and conflict is rare.

One woman, the mysterious "Eve Black," is immune to the blessing or curse of the sleeping disease. Is Eve a medical anomaly to be studied? Or is she a demon who must be slain? Abandoned, left to their increasingly primal urges, the men divide into warring factions, some wanting to kill Eve, some to save her. Others exploit the chaos to wreak their own vengeance on new enemies. All turn to violence in a suddenly all-male world.

Set in a small Appalachian town whose primary employer is a women's prison, Sleeping Beauties is a wildly provocative, gloriously dramatic father-son collaboration that feels particularly urgent and relevant today.


Reviews 5

Publisher's Weekly Review

This delicious first collaboration between Stephen King (Doctor Sleep) and his son Owen (Intro to Alien Invasion) is a horror-tinged realistic fantasy that imagines what could happen if most of the women of the world fall asleep, leaving men on their own. No one in Dooling County figures the sickness will affect their rural Appalachian life, but TV images of women asleep and unable to be woken, with white membranous stuff wrapped around their heads, makes residents undeniably distraught. Dr. Clinton Norcross of the Dooling Women's Correctional Facility finds himself unexpectedly in charge of 114 female prisoners when an unhappy guard slips a bunch of Xanax into the coffee of warden Janice Coates, causing her to fall asleep and succumb to the sickness. Clinton's wife, county sheriff Lila Norcross, is called to the scene of a double murder and explosion; en route, she nearly runs down a half-naked woman standing in the middle of the highway. That woman, Evie, seems to have some connection to the peculiar goings-on, though no one knows what it might be. The authors' writing is seamless and naturally flowing. The book gets off to a slow start because of the amount of setup needed, but once the action begins, it barrels along like a freight train. Agent: Chuck Verrill, Darhansoff & Verrill Literary; Amy Williams, Williams Company. (Sept.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Guardian Review

The master of horror collaborates with his son on this epic, colourful story of global pandemic, and shows a youthful vigour not seen in years The Aurora virus is a pandemic that drops on the world like some fairytale enchantment. It seals the women inside fibrous cocoons and leaves the men in a state of bull-headed disarray. There are riots outside the White House; an apocalyptic gang war in the streets of Chicago. Meanwhile, in Dooling, West Virginia, the battle of the sexes boils down to a joust between Clinton Norcross, a harried prison psychiatrist, and Evie Black, a supernatural girl drifter, incarcerated for the murder of a pair of crystal meth cookers. The clock is ticking, the end is nigh, and yet these two remain locked in their Mars-versus-Venus dispute. "We could go on like this for ever," Evie sighs in her cell. "He said, she said. The oldest story in the universe." While the entertaining Sleeping Beauties -- written by Stephen King in tandem with his novelist son, Owen -- doesn't quite last for ever, its allegorical drama extends across 736 pages. It's a bulging, colourful epic; a super-sized happy meal, liberally salted with supporting characters and garnished with splashes of arterial ketchup. These women are sleeping but they must not be disturbed. Tear off the cocoon and the females awaken as zombies, or possibly as angels of vengeance, and immediately start murdering their husbands and sons. Evie -- whom the Kings refer to as "the black angel" -- clearly regards this response as a kind of cosmic payback. It may even be that she is pulling the strings from afar. In framing small-town America as the microcosm of a single-sex planet, Sleeping Beauties could be the Y-chromosome sibling to Charlotte Perkins Gilman's Herland, in which three explorers gatecrash a feminist utopia. But devotees of King Sr will find more familiar echoes here, too. The undervalued Insomnia, for instance, tackled the queer counter-life of the unconscious. Under the Dome showed how an isolated community could overheat and turn ugly. Most obviously, the account of a global pandemic harks back to The Stand, arguably the author's greatest work, right down to its teeming cast of casualties and survivors. Recalling his struggle to write that novel, King would later lament that his story became overcrowded, infested -- "a veritable Calcutta" of crisscrossing characters. Sleeping Beauties has similar issues and even goes so far as to provide an extended glossary of Dooling's inhabitants. This includes various spouses and cousins, bakers and mechanics, along with "a common fox, between four and six years of age". Eventually -- thankfully -- several of these characters detach themselves from the herd. Clinton is our flawed new-man hero, struggling to salvage his marriage and watching as his sheriff wife, Lila, doses herself with caffeine and cocaine in a vain attempt to stay awake. Then, when Lila goes under, her post is filled by unreconstructed Frank Geary, a former pest-control officer with a hair-trigger temper. Geary is determined to save his daughter and rightly believes Evie Black is the key. And yet Evie, for all her prominence, remains the vaguest, least fleshed-out member of Dooling's cast of hundreds. She is a plot device in the guise of an "enchanted being"; part succubus, part virago; brought in to frame an argument and dispense the clues. Even the fox has more emotional range. Sleeping Beauties is at its most satisfying during its breakneck opening half, as the crisis takes hold, before the allegorical baggage piles up. One of King Sr's great strengths as a writer is his mastery of the milieu of small-town USA, his uncanny ability to ventriloquise its inhabitants and keep his myriad pieces in play. His tale only falters when it doubles down on its premise, belatedly introducing a parallel Dooling, a shadow world for the sleeping women that is "so much better than the old man-driven one" -- although even here it manages to redeem itself. The denouement is ambiguous, elegantly open-ended. Assuming the two tribes can be reconciled, one is left with the sense that they are destined to remain at a distance. Was the writing of this book dependent on a similar creative friction? Did Stephen call the shots and have his son play apprentice? Or was this truly a joint effort; a collaboration between two writers blessed with the same DNA? It's hard to tell -- and this is surely for the best. But perhaps it's no accident that this epic feels so vital and fresh. Sleeping Beauties comes fuelled by a youthful vigour that King Sr hasn't shown us in years -- probably not since 2008's Duma Key. He appeared to have lost interest, dozed off, when maybe all he required was his son's intervention. I like the image of Owen peeling back the cocoon, jolting his insensible father back into murderous bloody life. - Xan Brooks.


Kirkus Review

Another horror blockbuster, Mercedes and all, from maestro King (End of Watch, 2016, etc.) and his heir apparent (Double Feature, 2013, etc.).A radio crackles in the cold Appalachian air. "We got a couple of dead meth cookers out here past the lumberyard," says the dispatcher. A big deal, you might think, in so sparsely populated a place, but there are bigger issues to contend with: namely, half-naked women appearing out of the mist, as if to taunt the yokels. But that's nothing: the womenfolk of the holler are drifting off to sleep one after another, and they become maenads on being disturbed, ready to wreak vengeance on any dude stupid enough to demand that they make him a sandwich. In a kind of untold Greek tragedy meets Deliverance meetswell, bits of Mr. Mercedes and The Shawshank Redemption, perhapsKing and King, father and son, take their time putting all the pieces into play: brutish men, resourceful women who've had quite enough, alcohol, and always a subtle sociological subtext, in this case of rural poverty and dreams sure to be dashed. But forget the fancy stuff. The meat of the story is a whirlwind of patented King-ian mayhem: "It wasn't every day," observes our narrator, "that you were taking a whiz in your drug dealer's trailer and World War III broke out on the other side of the flimsy shithouse door," delivered courtesy of a womanhalf-naked, yeswho's pounding the tar out of a miscreant, smacking his face into the nearest wall. Is this what gender relations have come to? In the Kings' near future, so it would seem. The boys get their licks in, too, even if a woman scornedor awakened too sooncan do an awful lot of damage to an unwary bike gang. A blood-splattered pleasure. It's hard to say what the deeper message of the book is save that life goes on despite the intercession of supernatural weirdnessesor, as one woman says, "I guess I really must not be dead, because I'm starving." Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Booklist Review

A sleeping sickness quickly takes over the world, affecting only females. As they drift off (and enter a different dimension, the reader soon learns), a white, mossy substance covers them, leaving them in a sort of cocoon. No one knows why or how this is happening, but it soon becomes clear that trying to wake any of these sleeping beauties results in deadly, horrifying acts. Evie appears in town out of nowhere and seems to be the only female unaffected by this event but she's got supernatural powers, natch. The Kings set their tale in a small Appalachian town, home to a women's prison. Dr. Clinton Norcross, the staff psychiatrist, finds himself in charge as all of the female leadership falls asleep. It might not seem so hard to run a prison of sleeping women, right? Well, it's not so easy when Evie is there, still awake and doing strange things, and Norcross' wife, Lila the town sheriff succumbs despite her best efforts. This allegorical fantasy has a rich premise but is overly long, which may put off readers who aren't already King fans. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Two Kings in one, father and son, are bound to attract readers.--Vnuk, Rebecca Copyright 2017 Booklist


Library Journal Review

Women worldwide are falling prey to an unusual sleeping sickness that shrouds them in a white cocoon. Anyone who tries to interrupt their otherworldly slumber are killed, as the somnambulic women turn murderous. In a small, economically depressed Appalachian town, Evie emerges half-naked from a trailer park to smite an abusive drug dealer before she's arrested and put in the local women's prison just as the outbreak reaches a fever pitch. While the males ponder a world without women, the enigmatic Evie remains unaffected. Meanwhile, the sleeping women are in an alternate dimension, a near-postapocalyptic version of their hometown. Following the renewed interest in Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale and an increasing climate of wolf-whistle politics, this examination of gender stereotypes, systems of oppression, and pervasive misogyny within American culture feels especially timely, though the exploration is centered in a cisgender, fairly heteronormative experience. VERDICT Violent, subversive, and compulsively readable, this latest novel from King (Mr. Mercedes), collaborating here with son Owen (Double Feature), derives more horror from its realistic depiction of violence against women than from the supernatural elements.-Kiera Parrott, School Library Journal and Library Journal © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.