Thinner (novel)

Thinner (novel)

infobox Book |
name = Thinner
author = Richard Bachman


image_caption = First edition cover
country = United States
language = English
genre = Horror novel
publisher = Putnam
release_date = November 19, 1984
pages = 309
isbn = ISBN 0453004687
preceded by = The Running Man
followed by = The Regulators

"Thinner" is a 1984 novel by Stephen King, published under his pseudonym, Richard Bachman. It would be the last novel which King released under the Richard Bachman pseudonym until the release of "The Regulators" in 1996 (the initial hardcover release of "Thinner" included a fake jacket photo of "Bachman"). The novel was adapted for the screenplay of a 1996 film of the same title. Set in 1980s New England, the novel focuses on an obese lawyer named William "Billy" Halleck, who has recently fought an agonizing court case in which he was charged with vehicular manslaughter after receiving a handjob from his wife Heidi while driving, causing him to run over an old woman who was part of a group of traveling Romani people. (Although the book contains passages supposedly in the Romani language, they are actually in Swedish, and are more or less gibberish.) Halleck is acquitted thanks to the judge, who just so happens to be a close friend of Billy's. As Halleck leaves the courthouse in his affluent Connecticut town, the old woman's ancient father strokes his cheeks and whispers one word to him: "Thinner." The word, and the old man's behavior, startle Halleck.

From this point on, Halleck quickly loses weight (about two pounds a day); the loss becomes more and more rapid as he realizes the Romani man has cursed him. He also learns that the judge who heard his case and gave the unfair verdict was given another curse by the old man—scales eventually grow on his skin. A town police chief who also helped soft-pedal the charges against Halleck is similarly cursed with a horrifyingly extreme case of acne.

With the help of a friend, a former client who is a Mafia figure, named Richie "The Hammer" Ginelli (who is also mentioned in King's "The Drawing of the Three"), an emaciated and desperate Halleck tracks the Roma band north along the seacoast of New England to Maine, where the stage is set for a confrontation between him and the aged Romani leader, resolving the issue of the curse and the blood-debt owed by Halleck.

Themes

The novel deals with social issues such as materialism and how people gain and express power within their daily life. Additionally, the Romani curse provides ample opportunity for numerous musings on the nature of guilt. Justice is also a heavy theme throughout, including the chapter titled "The Scales of Justice."


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