Its structure includes a prologue, epilogue, and three main parts each with their own chapters (which each have their own segments). The book was the second best-selling fiction book of 1989, and was adapted into a feature film directed by horror icon George A. Romero released in 1993, which spawned it's own video game adaption.
The novel was written, in part, as a commentary on King's pseudonym Richard Bachman. The book was written after King was revealed to be behind the pen name, and was written in Bachman's darker style. The novel's plot is symbolic to how King felt about the debacle, featuring an author who's scared of his own violent pseudonym who comes to life and acts as an unwelcome guest. Because of this, The Dark Half is seen as Bachman's epitaph.
This book is for Shirley Sondregger, who helps me mind my business, and for her husband, Peter.
The prologue details main character Thad Beaumont's early childhood in the town of Bergenfield, New Jersey. As a boy, he developed a fondness for writing and displayed much talent in the form. Those around him believed big things were in stock for him. Unfortunately, they were right, as grim symptoms of a bigger problem started to affect him. He suffered unbearable migraines and was quickly rushed in for a check-up by his parents. It was written off as migraine episodes which, according to Thad, were accompanied by the sounds of many Sparrows flying at once. These were diagnosed as "sensory precursors".
The diagnosis proved wrong when Thad suddenly fell to the ground in a violent siezure. He was quickly rushed in to and E.R. where Dr. Pritchard, the state's best neurologist, awaited to treat him. X-Rays showed a brain tumor and Thad was quickly put into risky surgery. Inside Thad's skull was something that surprised the surgeons : Remnants of a would-be twin which was absorbed in-utero. These Remnants included an eye and bits of fingernails and teeth. They were excised and covered up by the surgeon, who instead referred to the problem as a run of the mill tumor. Thad eventually grew into a successful writer with an even more successful pubis
Stark Takes Charge
The Coming of the Psychopomps
The film is faithful in many regards, but there was several key changes were made. The biggest of these changes were George Stark's appearance and attributes. His blonde hair was changed to black, and his overall stature is more similar to Thad's. While his quiet and nimble ways of killing and maneuvering remained, his heightened sense of hearing did not. Stark's biodegrading was lessened, possibly due to budgetary constraints. Thad's personality changed in the beginning of the film, where he acted slightly psychopathic (probably to make the audience suspect that he was the true perpetrater). The character of Rawlie Delesseps also changed, from a man to a woman with roughly the same characterization intact. The only difference is a change in first name (from Rawlie to Reggie) and a bigger role as the source of exposition. Clawson, instead of being a faithful fan of both names who noticed the connection, was a random lowlife who caught wind of a staff slip-up. His method of contacting Thad changed from writing a letter to a confrontation during one of Thad's classes at the university. The character of Homer Gamauche was changed from a chance killing to intentional, as he replaced the role of the uptight female vagina from New York.
Key events were also changed, such as the order of events surround Thad's run from his police protection. Instead of occurring to find George Stark after his family was taken, he avoids his police to speak with Dr. Pritchard, which is a duty handled by Pangborn originally. Pangborn's importance in the ending was also downplayed, he arrived much later than in the novel. The whistle and Thad's control of the birds was taken away, making Stark's forceful return by the Sparrows seem inconsequential to any outside action. This in turn changes the climactic confrontation into symbolic fist fight between the two struggling halves. The film ends abruptly as Stark is taken into shifting red clouds, avoiding the ambiguous ending.
The audiobook version of The Dark Half is read by Grover Gardner.