On November 22, 1963, three shots rang out in Dallas, President Kennedy died, and the world changed. What if you could change it back?
In this brilliantly conceived tour de force, Stephen King - who has absorbed the social, political, and popular culture of his generation more imaginatively and thoroughly than any other writer - takes listeners on an incredible journey into the past and the possibility of altering it.
It begins with Jake Epping, a 35-year-old English teacher in Lisbon Falls, Maine, who makes extra money teaching GED classes. He asks his students to write about an event that changed their lives, and one essay blows him away: a gruesome, harrowing story about the night more than 50 years ago when Harry Dunning’s father came home and killed his mother, his sister, and his brother with a sledgehammer. Reading the essay is a watershed moment for Jake, his life - like Harry’s, like America’s in 1963 - turning on a dime.
Not much later his friend Al, who owns the local diner, divulges a secret: his storeroom is a portal to the past, a particular day in 1958. And Al enlists Jake to take over the mission that has become his obsession - to prevent the Kennedy assassination.
So begins Jake’s new life as George Amberson, in a different world - of Ike and JFK and Elvis, of big American cars and sock hops and cigarette smoke everywhere. From the dank little city of Derry, Maine (where there’s Dunning business to conduct), to the warmhearted small town of Jodie, Texas, where Jake falls dangerously in love, every turn is leading, eventually of course, to a troubled loner named Lee Harvey Oswald and to Dallas, where the past becomes heart-stoppingly suspenseful - and where history might not be history anymore. Time-travel has never been so believable. Or so terrifying.
©2011 Stephen King. All Rights Reserved. (P)2011 Simon & Schuster, Inc
You'd think after 50 novels even a distinguished author would be creatively wrung out, cranking out literary Pablum, possibly living comfortably off the body of works from "Ago", but no no no...King has somehow evolved--(indentured soul to the devil in trade??). Not only is his writing still inventive and original, it is insightful, intelligent, and intimate, and as is true with the best of the best of them, it reflects true dedication and respect to the art of writing, it is masterful.
King's trend away from boogey men (never "boogie" men--SK likes his tunes) toward the monsters within, is obvious with 11-22-63, and should once and for all show how adeptly King can stand proudly among giants, both literary main stream genre giants and the one-eyed-one-horned slimy kind. Surprisingly, the story is not as focused on the alternate history as it is on an alternate universe, and about what King does best, the story of people in extraordinary circumstances--missed opportunities, what-if's, hopes, dreams, good guys and very bad guys. It's familiar in many ways, even comfortable, loaded with heart and soul, maybe a little sap, and just when you reach for the tissue--out pops evil incarnate (ala Hitchcock-- via Derry, Pennywise, Christine, Lee Harvey, etc.) just to remind you...it is, after all, King, Stephen King. And, if familiar with King, you know it's long (let's not hear anymore about editing), you know it's entertaining, but you may be surprised by the polish and maturity. I've read some critiques that say this is "the book King was born to write." Personally, I wouldn't limit such a talented and prolific writer with that kind of statement!
Highly recommend; big claps for the meticulous research; kudos for time traveling with flair-not cheese. The narration is outstanding, absolutely equal to the work it performs and should be considered the high mark in audio performance. Could not get better.
* If you've read the book or the reviews, how's this for an eerie "harmonious" coincidence?: I just happened to also be reading Chris Matthew's Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero, (which I also highly recommend) *shiver moment* and find the research in both books praiseworthy.
Full time in the Arts Industry Addicted to Audiobooks of all kinds...
The story was incredible and full. Another Great read/Listen.
No matter what Genre you seek this one has something for everyone.
Though I miss Frank Muller Narrating Stephens work I found Craig Wasson a great Narrator. Listened all day and half the night.
This was a truly engrossing listen. From start to finish... it just reached out of my speakers and grabbed me. Spectacular concept which was pretty much flawlessly delivered. And I'm not a King fanboy- I have read a lot of his stuff and have given them varying reviews.
Wasson did a tremendous job with the narration- there were a number of moments in the listen where I was on the edge of my seat or had massive welling of emotion. Just a brilliant performance.
Worth a credit and 30 hours of your life.
I read, I write; I listen
What I like about a Stephen King book is he does his research, (as mentioned at the end of the book.) A story that centers on such a widely discussed, and written, event in history as the Kennedy assassination would have been boring had he not used many little known historical facts (little known except probably to those conspiracy theorists that are consumed by 11-22-63) and made a plausible story line in the midst of an impossible premise; in this case time travel.
I feel I got to know Lee Harvey Oswald. I got to know his family and even though it was pure conjecture; I got to know the reason he pulled the trigger on that fateful day in November of ???63.
The other part of the book centers on the premise of time travel. Can a man go back in time and change history and it he could how would that effect the future? This premise has also been discussed, and written about often but Mr. King uses, in my opinion a clever mechanism in which time is reset every time someone travels back through ???The rabbit hole??? again. In the beginning of his book the owner of a a local diner, Al Templeton, travels back to 1958 and purchases the same beef (at 1958 prices) over and over again which he sells to his customers in 2011.
The part of the book I found somewhat nauseating was the relationship between the main character, Jake Epping, and a woman he meets when he travels back to the past. The use of ???Pound Cake??? to describe their desire for each other makes me not want to eat it ever again; although their relationship is an integral part of the story.
The narrator, Craig Wasson, does an adequate job although at times he sounds like a bad Jimmie Stewart impression.
I???ve read almost all of Stephen King???s books and I think this is one of his best.
I'm obviously the odd person out, but I truly can't see what others saw in this. I don't mind long books -- love them, in fact -- and I like Stephen King and time travel and the era of late 50s to early 60s in the U.S...what could go wrong? Well, to me, this book was bloated. The story underneath all the over-explaining is pretty good, so it was shame to handicap it with such heft. And the repetition! Goodness, at one point I considered starting a tally of the number of times I heard, "the past is obdurate." I get it! I get it!
This one was a miss for me.
I believe a reviewer should finish a book before submitting a review. What do you think?
Mr. King does it again, another long book that holds the reader's interest throughout. The narrator did a fine job with this delightful story. The likable main character and his group of "besties" all live in the past and engage either knowingly or not in a plot to change the world as we now know it.
Jake/George, is a lovable all around good guy. The reader is taken in as we follow him and his special friend Sadie, who is as clumsy as she is beautiful.
The times seem quaint to us now, yet I remember this vibe having grown up in the 60's myself.
So enjoy and be prepared to either reminisce or be intrigued with the setting and the story.
I feel as though this author never disappoints.
Studying to be a Mechanical Engineer at Georgia Institute of Technology.
He was awesome in Full Dark No Stars, and it's a pleasure to listen to him again!
And Stephen King is just as magnificent as usual!
Only a couple hours in and I am dreading it being over. LOL. The narrator is awesome and doing a job above and beyond. The storyline is excellent and I have no clue where it is going to go so that makes it even more exciting. I highly recommend this book....especially if you have a credit.
SET REVIEWS TO BE SORTED BY 'MOST RECENT' INSTEAD OF 'MOST HELPFUL'!
This was my first Stephen King, and I only embarked upon the project (and a book this long IS a real project) as a joint reading comprehension exercise with a highly intelligent aphasia patient with a strong interest in American history. Wow, am I ever glad I did! I would recommend this book to anyone who likes science fiction/time travel, history (the book is VERY well researched), or American literature and drama (the main character, a high school English teacher by trade, also serves as high school drama coach/director). While the Kennedy assassination is a particular focus, this book will make you think differently about ALL human watershed moments, both large/collective and small/individual. You will find yourself wondering about how the Butterfly Effect might have caused your own present to be different, if certain key events had not occurred in your past. You'll laugh out loud MANY times, cry at the wonderful ending, and marvel at the "alternative" United States of a very changed 2011 if JFK had survived Lee Harvey Oswald's bullet. A must-read! Now I need only figure out what my NEXT Stephen King should be!
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