Thursday, October 25, 2012

11/22/63, by Stephen King

I have not read many books by Stephen King--he is too good at writing scary stuff for me--but I try to read the World Fantasy Award nominees each year, and 11/22/63 is one.  And I'm sure glad I did, it is one of the best books I have read this year.

The book has a few gory moments, but it is mostly a very sophisticated, and of course beautifully written, time travel story.  Our protagonist, Jake Epping, is offered an opportunity to go back in time to prevent the assassination of John F. Kennedy.  King succinctly and cleverly describes the possible rules and inconsistencies the first discoverer of the "rabbit hole" back to 1958, the owner of the diner where it manifests, has noted.  Things one brings back persist, and one seems to be able to bring the same thing back over and over.  Otherwise, events appear to reset to their normal course each time one goes back.  But there's someone at the entrance, a messed up drunk, who seems aware of what's happening...

The characters are vividly real and I was engaged every minute I was reading it.  Finished an 850 page book in two weeks, which is fast for me.  And I learned quite a bit about the time period and the Kennedy assassination, which made it very worthwhile.  In the afterword, King comments on how ugly Dallas was in 1963.  "Confederate flags flew right side up, and American flags upside down".  He reflects on the parallels between then and now, as forces of ignorance, intolerance and prejudice gain strength. 

This book is a great bit of storytelling and a good window on history.  Well worth sitting down for a read, and many copies are available at your public library.  Four stars here.

No comments:

Post a Comment