Book Review: 11/22/63 – by Stephen King

This is the fastest I have ever read an 850-page book. Stephen King is a master story-teller. Characters come alive in front of your eyes. I have read many of King’s books, and this is one of the best, right up there with The Stand. King does not make pretenses with his books; he simply entertains.

Many of Stephen King’s books are based on a simple premise: What If….

That applies to The Stand as well as Under The Dome, and of course 11/22/63. In this case, the question is: What if there were a time travel portal in the pantry of the local diner that allowed you to travel into the past and then come back. No explanation how this might be possible. It really does not matter. You have to accept this What If premise, and you have yourself a marvelous story.

I love time travel books, and this one reminded me of a few others, and particularly of Replay by Ken Grimwood. There are many similarities in the concept.

Al Templeton ran a diner in rural Maine. He discovered a time portal in his pantry that instantly transported him from the present back to an exact  time and date in September 1958. No matter how long he spent there, no matter what he did there, when he returned through the portal he’d be back exactly two minutes after he left.

Eventually he convinced his good friend Jake to travel back, wait 5 years in the past to prevent the assassination of Kennedy on 11/22/63.

This seems simple, when you know the history and the exact events of the assassination, but it turns out that the past is obdurate. It does not want to be changed, as Jake found out many times over.

11/22/63 is a history lesson, a love story, a time travel speculation and a tour de force action book all in one. I could not put it down. When I was done, I wanted it to go on.

4 thoughts on “Book Review: 11/22/63 – by Stephen King

  1. Eric Petrie

    Well I loved DeLillo’s story of Oswald and the assassination (_Libra_) and that plus your review here makes me ready to tackle 11/22/63. I’ve never read a Stephen King novel, but this might be it. By the way, great use of the word “obdurate.”

  2. Oh, Eric, a Stephen King virgin! This is the one to start. Then you might pick up The Stand. It’s a book to immerse yourself in. Another good one, that I should re-read, is The Talisman.

  3. Well Norb, I took your advice and started browsing your book reviews and stumbled upon this one. This sounds exactly like the “kind” of SK I like to read. I’ve read Dreamcatcher, and the Dark Tower Series. Now it seems I am missing out on so much. I guess it’s time to pick up Stephen King again!

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