|Genre||Dark Fantasy, Southern Gothic, Magic Realism|
|Media type||Print (Paperback)|
The Green Mile is a 1996 serial novel by American writer Stephen King. It tells the story of death row supervisor Paul Edgecombe's encounter with John Coffey, an unusual inmate who displays inexplicable healing and empathetic abilities. The serial novel was originally released in six volumes before being republished as a single-volume work. The book is an example of magical realism. The subsequent film adaptation was a critical and commercial success.
Featuring a first-person narrative told by Paul Edgecombe, the novel switches between Paul as an old man in the Georgia Pines nursing home writing down his story in 1996, and his time in 1932 as the block supervisor of the Cold Mountain Penitentiary death row, nicknamed "The Green Mile" for the color of the floor's linoleum. This year marks the arrival of John Coffey, a 6 ft 8 in (2.03 m) tall powerfully built black man who has been convicted of raping and murdering two young white girls. During his time on the Mile, John interacts with fellow prisoners Eduard "Del" Delacroix, a Cajun arsonist, rapist, and murderer; and William Wharton ("Billy the Kid" to himself, "Wild Bill" to the guards), an unhinged and dangerous multiple murderer who is determined to make as much trouble as he can before he is executed. Other inhabitants include Arlen Bitterbuck, a Native American convicted of killing a man in a fight over a pair of boots; Arthur Flanders, a real estate executive who killed his father to perpetrate insurance fraud; and Mr. Jingles, a mouse, to whom Del teaches various tricks.
Paul and the other guards are irritated throughout the book by Percy Wetmore, a sadistic guard who enjoys antagonizing the prisoners. The other guards have to be civil to him despite their dislike of him because he is the nephew of the Governor's wife. When Percy is offered an administrative position at the nearby Briar Ridge psychiatric hospital, Paul thinks they are finally rid of him. However, Percy refuses to leave until he is allowed to supervise an execution, so Paul hesitantly allows him to run Del's. Percy deliberately avoids soaking a sponge in brine that is supposed to be tucked inside the electrode cap to ensure a quick death in the electric chair. When the switch is thrown, the current causes Del to catch fire in the chair and suffer a prolonged, agonizing demise.
Over time, Paul realizes that John possesses inexplicable healing abilities, which he uses to cure Paul's urinary tract infection and revive Mr. Jingles after Percy stomps on him. Simple-minded and shy, John is very empathic and sensitive to the thoughts and feelings of others around him. One night, the guards drug Wharton, then put a straitjacket on Percy and lock him in the padded restraint room so that they can smuggle John out of prison and take him to the home of Warden Hal Moores. Hal's wife Melinda has an inoperable brain tumor, which John cures. When they return to the Mile, John passes the "disease" from Melinda into Percy, causing him to go mad and shoot Wharton to death before falling into a catatonic state from which he never recovers. Percy is then committed to Briar Ridge as a patient.
Paul's long-simmering suspicions that John is innocent are proven right when he discovers that it was actually Wharton who raped and killed the two girls and that John was trying to revive them. Later, John tells Paul what he saw when Wharton grabbed his arm one time, how Wharton had coerced the sisters to be silent by threatening to kill one if the other made a noise, using their love for each other. Paul is unsure how to help John, but John tells him not to worry, as he is ready to die anyway, wanting to escape the cruelty of the world. John's execution is the last one in which Paul participates.
As Paul approaches the conclusion of his written story, he offers it to his friend Elaine Connelly to read. After she finishes doing so, he introduces Mr. Jingles to her just before the mouse dies – it had been alive the past 64 years. Paul explains that those healed by John gained an unnaturally long lifespan. Elaine dies shortly after. The novel ends with Paul all alone, now 104 years old, wondering how much longer he will live.
The Green Mile won the Bram Stoker Award for Best Novel in 1996.  In 1997, The Green Mile was nominated as Best Novel for the British Fantasy Award and the Locus Award.  In 2003 the book was listed on the BBC's The Big Read poll of the UK's "best-loved novel". 
Frank Darabont adapted the novel into a screenplay for a feature film of the same name. Released in 1999, the film was directed by Darabont and stars Tom Hanks as Paul Edgecombe and Michael Clarke Duncan as John Coffey. The setting is changed from 1932 to 1935 in order to include the film Top Hat , which does not appear in the book. The film was nominated for four Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Supporting Actor for Duncan.
The Green Mile was first published in six paperback volumes. The first, subtitled The Two Dead Girls was published on March 28, 1996, with new volumes following monthly until the final volume, Coffey on the Mile, was released on August 29, 1996. The novel was republished as a single paperback volume on May 5, 1997. On October 3, 2000, the book was published in its first hardcover edition ( ISBN 978-0743210898). In 2007, Subterranean Press released a 10th anniversary edition of the novel in three different versions, each mimicking the original six-volume release: the Gift Edition, limited to 2,000 copies, containing six unsigned hardcover volumes of each separate part, housed in a slipcase; the Limited Edition, limited to 148 numbered copies, and signed by Stephen King, housed in a slipcase; and the Lettered Edition, limited to 52 lettered copies, and signed by Stephen King, housed in a traycase. Every edition contained new illustrations by Mark Geyer, the novel's original illustrator. Each version had its own design, and cost $150, $900, and $2,500, respectively.  There were other versions published as well, including a "pocketbook" sized hardcover by Paw Prints ( ISBN 9781439182789). 
King was first made aware of the possibility to publish stories in shorter instalments by Ralph Vicinanza, who, after a conversation with British publisher Malcolm Edwards, learned that Charles Dickens had often published his stories in shorter instalments by either folding them into magazines, or by publishing the instalments on their own as a chapbook.
After a lengthy struggle to write the novel, Vicinaza pitched the idea of writing the book "the same way it would be read - in installments" to King the year before the initial release of the first instalment. The idea of serialized publication appealed to King on multiple levels; from the writers responsibility to finish the story once the first installment is published, to the reders inability to skip to the end of the story and ruin the suspense. 
In the introduction to the first collected edition of the story, King also explains the financial aspect of initially publishing the book in six installments :
The part-by-part publication was a score point with me and some readers as well, because the price was very high for a paperback; about nineteen dollars for all six installments (considerably less if bought at a discount store). For that reason a boxed set never seems like the ideal solution. This volume, a trade paperback available at a more sane price, seemed to be the ideal solution.— Stephen King, Bangor, Maine. February 6, 1997 
|The Two Dead Girls||March 28, 1996||92 pp||ISBN 978-0451190499|
|The Mouse on the Mile||April 25, 1996||96 pp||ISBN 978-0451190529|
|Coffey's Hands||May 30, 1996||96 pp||ISBN 978-0451190543|
|The Bad Death of Eduard Delacroix||June 27, 1996||96 pp||ISBN 978-0451190550|
|Night Journey||July 25, 1996||96 pp||ISBN 978-0451190567|
|Coffey on the Mile||August 29, 1996||144 pp||ISBN 978-0451190574|
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