11/22/63, by Stephen King
Jake Epping travels back in time to save a friend and stop the Kennedy assassination.
I cried at the end of this book. It was beautiful, the way King wove the story together. The past harmonizes, and so does this book.
It’s King’s best book I’ve read in years, possibly his best ever. It combines an enormous amount of research with King’s creativity, creating a mammoth powerhouse of literary genius.
At this point, it is worth noting that I listened to the audiobook. Audible.com had a deal whereby I could get a free one, and I wanted to read this book for some time. It’s huge – something around 35 hours long. The reader, Craig Wasson, did a wonderful job. He has a pleasant voice, and he’s very good at creating voices for the different characters – affecting accents from Maine to Texas.
Most of the book is action-less. The main character spends much of his time collecting evidence – was Lee Harvy Oswald the lone shooter? Only the best read Kennedy scholars could match the way King works the events into the story, though he admits he twisted things to fit the story as it was needed.
The book is ostensibly about stopping Kennedy’s death, but that event comes much later in the book – almost the end. If you are expecting a long diatribe about what would have happened had Kennedy lived, look somewhere else.
The story revolves around a high school English teacher, Jake Epping, and his adventures in “the land of ago”. King does a fantastic job of creating a world for readers, filling the senses with the sights and sounds of a world foreign to 21st century readers.
The book bears many of King’s trademarks. It isn’t quite as eerie as some of his other books, but it has a healthy dish of the supernatural – time travel, for one.
I like the way King doesn’t explain the supernatural – it just is. The point isn’t to discover the cause of the supernatural, like the rabbit hole that takes Epping back in time. Rather, King’s focus is on how characters react and overcome the supernatural. 11-22-63 is no different.
This book is magic. Events small and large weave together to make a wonderful tapestry. More often than I could count, things came together the way a puzzle comes together – I got that excited feeling of a new revelation. Few people are as good at producing that feeling as King is.
I cried at the end of this book. And I am not a crying man.