Sunday, March 11, 2012

"11/22/63" by Stephen King

It's been a while since I've read a novel by Stephen King. The last one I read was "Under the Dome," and though I usually try to get back to some stretch of Roland's journey to the Dark Tower at least once a year, I've not been back recently.

It didn't take me long to realize I've been missing King once I started reading "11/22/63." As most of his Constant Readers know, King is one of those authors that makes you feel at ease while making you feel ill at ease. When you read him, you feel like he's right there in the room with you, relaying events and mind-trips while we lean forward, aptly devouring the story.

The story in this novel is pretty basic from all outward appearances: a man travels back in time to stop the Kennedy assassination. Easy enough, right? If you agree, then you've clearly never read a Stephen King novel.

Jake Epping is a divorced high-school English teacher, (surprise surprise! Someone should go through all of King's novels and count up how many of his protagonists have been English teachers...). The way Jake goes back in time is clever, and King doesn't get bogged down in the logistics of how to take the ultimate road trip. What could have been a pretty straight forward narrative gets turned around when we discover that Jake is an unwilling participant in the story from the get go. Certainly, his feelings concerning the assassination waver back and forth throughout, but his initial trepidation about stepping back in time make his character much more engaging.

Stopping the assassination is not the only mission Jake has in the past, a fact that fleshes out the book and makes it much more believable in the process. Something else that makes the book so believable is the ridiculous amount of research King put in to make every detail just right. You get to the point where you can smell the choking blue haze of cigarette smoke and hear the rumble of the big Ford Sunliner's engine.

In the end, "11/22/63" is one part history lesson, one part time-travel epic, and one part engaging love story. The result is a damn fine book.



5 out of 5 stars.

1 comment:

city said...

nice opinion.. thanks for sharing....