Christine is a 1983 novel by the American writer Stephen King, published by Viking Publishing in New York . The German translation by Bodo Baumann was published by Bastei-Lübbe in the same year. A film of the same name also dates from 1983.
It tells the story of a schoolboy and his love for and dependence on a car, a 58 Plymouth Fury . He calls it Christine because the previous owner named the car that too. The novel is largely told from the perspective of Dennis Guilder, friend of the main character Arnie Cunningham.
In 1978, Arnie Cunningham is 17 years old and an outsider at school. His only friend is the sporty and popular Dennis. One day Arnie discovers a wrecked car in a meadow, a two-tone 1958 Plymouth Fury. Against Dennis' advice, Arnie buys the classic car and begins restoring it at a nearby junkyard. He is not allowed to bring the car home because his parents reject the project.
Dennis soon realizes that Christine is not a normal car. The restoration is making unusually rapid progress that cannot be achieved with the time and money budget of a student. Arnie gains confidence. He even manages to win the school crush, Leigh Cabot, as a friend. Dennis Guilder has to experience that he is no longer as important to Arnie as he used to be.
Arnie continues to change, but for the worse. Confidence turns into arrogance. He becomes irascible, quick-tempered and behaves more and more like the first owner of the Plymouth, a US Army veteran named Roland D. LeBay, who died shortly after his car was sold. Leigh also senses that something is wrong with Arnie. She suspects the car is behind it and speaks to Dennis in confidence. Together with him she tries to get to the bottom of Arnie's and Christine's secret in order to save her boyfriend.
They soon notice that Christine and, with her, Roland LeBay have taken Arnie into possession. LeBay appears to be haunted in the car. People who become dangerous to him - Witnesses or some youths who terrorize Arnie - LeBay brutally kills by chasing them in his car and running them over. But whenever the police become suspicious and examine "Christine" for signs of an accident, they only find a shiny car without any scratches, as Christine bulges herself after every murder.
LeBay and Christine seduce young Arnie, so that he only feels comfortable in his car and can hardly think of anything else. The spirit of LeBay begins to take possession of Arnie, so that Arnie takes on more and more distinct features of LeBay. Outwardly, this is shown by the fact that he is wearing a corset, just like the veteran of the US Army. More and more he takes the same narrow-minded and racist views as LeBay. Dennis learns more about the past of the former owner of Christine from LeBay's brother , and so he is not surprised when Leigh tells him that Christine wanted to kill her - a person died in it when the car was still LeBay's. Arnie's father Michael is also killed by Christine.
While they are doing research together, Dennis and Leigh fall in love. Arnie and Christine try in vain to separate them. Finally Dennis Guilder and Leigh Cabot manage to destroy Christine . Shortly thereafter, Arnie and his mother Regina die in a mysterious car accident. Eyewitnesses report that they fought with a third person and that Regina - who is actually a safe driver - got off the road. But nobody else can be found in the wreck.
Dennis and Leigh later split up, but remain in friendly contact. A few years later, Dennis hears of a strange incident in a drive-in theater.
Links with other works
- A ghost in It drives a red and white Plymouth, apparently Christine.
- Megan, the girl from the novel Zeit Lapse (In Night ), believes in ghosts and 'cars that come to life and run over people'.
- In the movie Riding the Bullet , George Staub drives a 1960 Plymouth Fury that resembles Christine. In the book of the same name, however, a Ford Mustang is George Staub's car.
- In the film adaptation of the novel Cat's Eye , the cat that links the episodes is almost run over by a red and white Plymouth.
- In The Stand , two of the main characters drive a Plymouth. The letters "AC" (= Arnie Cunningham) can be seen on the leather tag of the key ring.
- In the novel The Attack , Jake Epping laid his hand on a brand new Plymouth Fury as soon as it landed in 1958. Jake's girlfriend Sadie's ex-husband also drives a red and white 58 Plymouth Fury.
- In the US television series Supernatural , Sam and Dean chase a ghost car, the driver of which hunted and killed black people in the 1960s and was themselves killed in a fight.
- Stephen King: Christine , Ullstein Taschenbuch, 2005, ISBN 3-548-26306-2