Dolores Claiborne

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This article is about the novel. For the film, see Dolores Claiborne (film). For the opera, see Dolores Claiborne (opera).
Dolores Claiborne
First edition cover
Author Stephen King
Audio read by Frances Sternhagen
Cover artist Rob Wood
Country United States
Language English
Genre Psychological thriller
Publisher Viking
Publication date
November 1992
Media type Print (hardcover)
Pages 305
ISBN 978-0-670-84452-4

Dolores Claiborne is a 1992 psychological thriller novel by Stephen King. The novel is narrated by the title character. Atypically for a King novel, it has no chapters, double-spacing between paragraphs, or other section breaks; thus the text is a single continuous narrative which reads like the transcription of a spoken monologue. It was the best-selling novel of 1992 in the United States.[1]

The book is dedicated to King's mother: "For my mother, Ruth Pillsbury King."[2]

Plot summary[edit]

While being interrogated, Dolores Claiborne wants to make clear to the police that she did not kill her wealthy employer, an elderly woman named Vera Donovan whom she has looked after for years. She does, however, confess to orchestrating the death of her husband, Joe St. George, almost 30 years before, after finding out that he sexually molested their fourteen-year-old daughter, Selena. Dolores's "confession" develops into the story of her life, her troubled marriage, and her relationship with her employer.


Unlike many other works by King, there is little focus on the supernatural;[3] the only such events in the book are two telepathic visions, which, along with the solar eclipse backdrop, form a link to King's novel Gerald's Game.[4]


The novel was adapted into a 1995 film directed by Taylor Hackford. It starred Kathy Bates as Dolores, with Jennifer Jason Leigh as her daughter Selena, and Judy Parfitt as Vera Donovan.[5]

Dolores Claiborne, the operatic adaptation of the novel composed by Tobias Picker to a libretto by J.D. McClatchy, premiered on 18 September 2013 at San Francisco Opera with Patricia Racette in the title role.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Albert Rolls, Stephen King: A Biography, page 109 (Greenwood Publishing Group, 2009). ISBN 978-0-313-34572-2
  2. ^ George W. Beahm, Stephen King: From A to Z. An Encyclopedia of his Life and Work, page 62 (Andrews McMeel Publishing, 1998). ISBN 0-8362-6914-4
  3. ^ Gina Wisker, Horror Fiction: An Introduction, page 120 (The Continuum International Publishing Group Inc., 2005). ISBN 0-8264-1561-X
  4. ^ Heidi Strengell, Dissecting Stephen King: From the Gothic to Literary Naturalism, page 48 (The University of Wisconsin Press, 2005). ISBN 0-299-20970-9
  5. ^ "Memory, Haunting, and Revenge in Dolores Claiborne" by Laura Grindstaff, in Martha McCaughey, Neal King (editors), Reel Knockouts: Violent Women in the Movies (University of Texas Press, 2001). ISBN 0-292-75250-4
  6. ^ Woolfe, Zachary (19 September 2013). "From the Page to the Stage, a Confession Receives an Operatic Turn". New York Times. Retrieved 27 May 2014.

External links[edit]