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
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'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.
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.
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.
My taste differs from kid books to gory horror books.
NOW YOUR COOKING WITH GAS
Well researched historical fiction, great romance, an old story done in a new way, teasers, small horror, action, but mostly a movie theatre experience is what you get in this long, but short book.
THE BEATINGS WILL CONTINUE UNTIL MORALE IMPROVES
Have you experienced a movie so good, so well done that you feel you are in it? When you walk out of the theatre it takes you a while to get your brain back to reality. This books is so well written and so well narrated, you will lose yourself in it. You will feel you are watching this on an I-max screen in 3D with surround sound. Compared to King most other authors are ALL HAT AND NO CATTLE. I DOUBLE DOG DARE YOU, to immerse yourself.
IF YOUR IN LOVE, SMALL POX SCARS ARE AS PRETTY AS DIMPLES.
At least one reviewer has put down the romance. I am not a fan of romance novels, but I could not help falling in love with the main female character and wishing her all the best. I wanted so much for there to be a happy ending and I will not tell you how it ends. It may have been ROMANCE AT SHORT NOTICE, but when she says HOW WE DANCED, I cried. I am a macho man, so I will deny this, DON'T ASK DON'T TELL. I HAVE POUND CAKE.
MY OLD MAN DRIVES A SUBMARINE
The book is thoroughly researched, down to the price of a root beer and the rhyming games of jump roping little girls. I love historical fiction and welcome King to the genre. A BLAST FROM THE PAST, A PLATTER THAT MATTERS.
YOU AIN'T FROM AROUND HERE.
In this 30 hours plus story that goes by too quickly, King also touches on several themes that are near and dear to my heart. He talks about cities or towns with personalities. I moved around a lot as a child of a military family. It is something I noticed even as a kid. Today I deliver to several grocery stories and I find they have personalities all their own, even chain stories. I find empathy varies greatly in different people and charm can go a long way in a persons career. Lots of times it is not how smart you are, it is how charming you are that gets you ahead in life. IN GOD WE TRUST, ALL OTHERS PAY CASH.
I did have a few issues, most of them minor. The book had a few teasers, I found annoying. This story is way over done. Grimwood has a great book called Replay, written in the 70's about when King was thinking about writing this story, that is pretty damn good. A lot of time travel books have been written and those written by authors of King's generation love to go back and try and save Kennedy. They seem to think that had he lived, life would be so much greater now. I also think that King took the 5th on this and did not answer the question. It seems to be the main question of the entire book and after thirty hours he does not answer it. I did not care for THE PAST HARMONIZES, aspect of the book and felt it detracted from the story. I also worry about glorifying the past. I remember when people in customer service type jobs totally sucked. I remember dreading going to the Dept. of Rev. cause of the mean hateful old ladies that worked there. You would stand in line for hours and when you got to the head of the line they would tell you, you needed to go to another line. When you walked into a hamburger joint the teenager behind the counter, would usually make it plain she rather be anywhere else then taking your order. Companies today have trained their people to be better in customer service and most seem to be happy to help. I remember bias ply tires and cars that broke down after 100,000 miles. In my day you better know how to change a tire. I have shopped at Western Auto stores, I much prefer Lowe's. I won't even go into civil rights, Women's rights, less freedom of speech and the cast system that was much more pronounced in the old days. We are better today then we were in the 60's. ASK ME NO QUESTIONS AND I'LL TELL YOU NO LIES.
YOU NEED TO DIG OUT YOUR EARS.
This narrator is excellent and I loved the secret voices he added. Listen carefully and tell me if you don't hear, Burt Lancaster, John Wayne, Jimmy Stewart and John Houseman. Oh, they may not be perfect, but I liked them.
PUDDIN' TANE, ASK ME AGAIN AND I'LL TELL YOU THE SAME.
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 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.
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