11/22/63: Book summary and reviews of 11/22/63 by Stephen King

11/22/63

A Novel

By Stephen King

11/22/63
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  • Published in USA  Nov 2011,
    960 pages.

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Book Summary

On November 22, 1963, three shots rang out in Dallas, President Kennedy died, and the world changed. What if you could change it back? Stephen King's heart-stoppingly dramatic new novel is about a man who travels back in time to prevent the JFK assassination - a thousand page tour de force.

Following his massively successful novel Under the Dome, King sweeps readers back in time to another moment - a real life moment - when everything went wrong: the JFK assassination. And he introduces readers to a character who has the power to change the course of history.

Jake Epping is a thirty-five-year-old high school English teacher in Lisbon Falls, Maine, who makes extra money teaching adults in the GED program. He receives an essay from one of the students - a gruesome, harrowing first person story about the night 50 years ago when Harry Dunning's father came home and killed his mother, his sister, and his brother with a hammer. Harry escaped with a smashed leg, as evidenced by his crooked walk.

Not much later, Jake's friend Al, who runs the local diner, divulges a secret: his storeroom is a portal to 1958. He enlists Jake on an insane - and insanely possible - mission to try to prevent the Kennedy assassination. So begins Jake's new life as George Amberson and his new world of Elvis and JFK, of big American cars and sock hops, of a troubled loner named Lee Harvey Oswald and a beautiful high school librarian named Sadie Dunhill, who becomes the love of Jake's life - a life that transgresses all the normal rules of time.

A tribute to a simpler era and a devastating exercise in escalating suspense, 11/22/63 is Stephen King at his epic best.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Though his scenarios aren't always plausible in strictest terms, King's imagination, as always, yields a most satisfying yarn." - Kirkus Reviews

"The pages of 11/22/63 fly by, filled with immediacy, pathos and suspense. It takes great brazenness to go anywhere near this subject matter. But it takes great skill to make this story even remotely credible. Mr. King makes it all look easy, which is surely his book's fanciest trick." - The New York Times

"...King smoothly blends... romance into the main story line, setting up the bittersweet ending that's as apt as it is surprising." - Publishers Weekly

"For all its historical heft, 11/22/63 bears many of Mr. King's trademarks. It's ultra-violent and suspenseful, with supernatural overtones." - Wall Street Journal

"The combination of King's love of the '50s and his deeper search into the Kennedy assassination make this novel a terrifically entertaining work of fiction." - NPR

"In [this book], the reader feels the benefit of 40 years of narrative craftsmanship and reflection on his nation's history." - The Guardian (UK)

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Rated 5 of 5 of 5 by Cloggie Downunder
King at the top of his game:
11/22/63 is the 34th stand-alone novel by popular American author, Stephen King. This time, the master craftsman of storytelling turns his prodigious talents to time travel. In 2011, schoolteacher and budding novelist, Jake Epping is shown a portal into the past, into 1958, and convinced that he can change certain events: specifically, he is to prevent Lee Harvey Oswald from assassinating President John Kennedy on 11/22/63. But as Jake makes his way from 1958 towards his goal, he finds that the past resists change, that the past is obdurate, and that every change has consequences. Fans of King’s work will be pleased to pass through Derry, Maine just after the events of “It”, and encounter some of that novel’s protagonists. King’s extensive research into the time period and the events surrounding the Kennedy assassination is apparent in every paragraph: the feel of the late fifties and early sixties is very convincing. Once the reader suspends disbelief about time travel, the rest of the novel is utterly believable and, despite the volume, eminently readable. King paints for the reader a very plausible picture of a nascent assassin. This novel has romance, nostalgia, humour, sadness and an exciting climax. King’s main character is appealing and easy to identify with; the supporting characters, no less engaging. The plot is original and brilliantly executed. This is King at the top of his game: an excellent read.

Rated 4 of 5 of 5 by Suzanne G.
KING
The story is a time-travel epic that at times is long-winded. It is a different plot than King’s usual narratives. I was so engrossed with what would happen next, that I read it almost nonstop. It is romantic, dramatic and a great storyline. The ending was abrupt but since I’m not a writer, I have no idea how it might have been better. . . .

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Author Information

Stephen King Author Biography

© Tabitha King

Stephen King has written more than forty novels and two hundred short stories. He has won the World Fantasy Award, several Bram Stoker Awards, the O. Henry Award, and the National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters.

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