Dolores Claiborne is a 1993 novel by Stephen King. Unlike the majority of King's work, the book has no clear supernatural element. It is instead a work of social realism, with a crime element. The book takes the form of a monologue by the titular character, Dolores Claiborne, where she confesses to a pair of detectives how her husband died.

The confession she gives takes place at roughly the time the book was written, with the events described taking place in 1963. The story begins because a woman who Dolores has been the housekeeper for since the 1950s dies in an accident, which some suspect is the work of Dolores. She denies having murdered her employer, but in doing so, reveals long lost secrets about her own family. The book is a monologue, a 2 or 3 hour tale told by Dolores, with no chapter breaks and phrased in Dolores voice. This literary device, although taking some time to get accustomed to, provides the book with a nice atmosphere.

This book was a best seller, and was adapted into a movie. It was a very popular work. King is often considered to be a "popular" writer, sometimes in a negative sense. And it is true that some of King's horror writing has left me less than impressed, especially with stories where he writes about an evil inanimate object. However, this book is a nuanced and textured look at life in rural Maine, and a realistic depiction of how people living in poverty have to deal with troubles when their lives go from bad to worse. Indeed, other than the somewhat easier read it is, I don't know why we can't compare Stephen King's gothic tale of murder in rural New England with, say, William Faulkner's gothic tales of murder in rural Mississippi.

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