What Happens When History Fights Back — A Review of “11/22/63: A Novel” by Stephen King

11/22/63 11/22/63Stephen King; Scribner 2011WorldCatLibraryThingGoogle BooksBookFinder 
Pluck a string and it vibrates. As it vibrates there are points along the string where it is absolutely still. Pluck a companion string and sometimes those points line up. If you pull that string tighter there are more points of stillness and a greater chance that points will line up. If you pull it too tight, it snaps.

In Stephen King’s 11/22/63: A Novel, Jake Epping is a high school English teacher that plucks the strings of time through a wormhole in the back of a friend’s diner. The wormhole leads to a New England town in 1958, and no matter how many times Jake goes through the scene seems to reset itself back to the same point in 1958. A wandering soul in 2011, Jake takes on the challenge of changing one particular event on the date of the book’s namesake — the assassination of President Kennedy. What happens in the five years between 1958 and 1963 is a masterfully woven story of strings plucked — as he kills a father before that father murders his family, as he saves a child from a hunting accident, as falls in love with a high school librarian — and the unexpected highs and lows as the strings of time line up at those points of stillness.

This is not the typical Stephen King horror story; if that is what you are expecting, you will be sorely disappointed. 11/22/63: A Novel is a story that is infused and lubricated by deep research into the places and collective psyche of Dallas, Texas, in general and the specific people surrounding Lee Harvey Oswald. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this story and feeling the rush of the ending. This is also a story that I can now put aside for a few years and read again to savor the nuances embedded in the narrative. While King kindly signals the obvious points of absolute stillness, I’m sure there are other points of near stillness that are just waiting to be discovered.

Disclosure: I was given a free product or sample because I’m a Klout influencer. I was under no obligation to receive the sample or talk about this company. I get no additional benefits for talking about the product or company.