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
Stephen King is a damn brilliant (and prolific) fiction writer. This book is a great research project and much of the book feels just like that. It's good, but it follows the rails of history. In that respect I wish it had been a bit shorter.
Then King dons the crown and slams into fiction mode...those rails of history become an unstoppable "machine with teeth". The teeth sparkle before they bite (the dances will almost make you weep). When they bite you know the wounds are inevitable and will be terrible, but they bleed so well.
This isn't my favorite King book, but it's worth the time.
The performance is brilliant; without it I don't know how this book would have done.
If you take one thing from this book, just remember the dance...
I definitely have recommended to my friends. Makes you think about many things, personal and otherwise as far as life and the passage of time.
It made me laugh out loud in places and actually brought tears to my eyes in others.
Tell us about yourself!
Science-fiction, romance, historical
Reliving the injustices before civil rights were enforced.
The Lindyhop? I never heard of it, but I can picture it by the vivid descriptions!
Yes, & I never wanted it to end!
Very different from the author's usual novels, I feel.
30 well-spent hours!
The Green Card Man - he would be a great protagonist for a companion book! I want to know all about him & his function. For whom does he work? Where & how did he get training? How does the green card work? Fascinating!!!
Jake/George. Wasson nailed the ambivalence, the pain and ultimately the bittersweet comprising Jake's/George's essense.
No. It's WAY too long for that.
At first I was not sure I wanted to invest 30+ hours into a book, but I'm glad I did! The minor quibble I have is the uneven quality of Wasson's voice throughout. You can tell when he is fatiguing and when he picks up again fresh. It can be jarring. Still, he is a great narrator & I will seek out other books he reads.
I have friends who have never read a Stephen King book because they think of him as a writer of horror stories. This book shows why they are so wrong.
There are very few writers that can write with both intelligence and depth, while developing an insightful and inspired story. Stephen King demonstrates why he is among those few with this book.
Before I read the book, even though I was a fan of King, I was worried that it was about an event I knew too well and that it would therefore be predictable or uninspired. It takes true genius to overcome that. I found this book engrossing. The narrator does an excellent job, but he has a great story, well-told, to work with. I highly recommend the book.
It ranks as #3
The ending, what a sweet, sweet ending.......
This was a great book, I'm glad I listened vs. reading. I do find Stephen King to be somewhat long winded in his writing. He has always stated he can't write love stories but I would beg to differ on this. He did a great job with Jake (George) and Sadie, they were very believable and the love that he wrote about cannot be described this well without having felt it yourself.
The only part that bothered me A SPOILER HERE......
was upon Jake's return to the future everything in the world was SO VERY different. I found most of the book believable except that part. I find it hard to believe that the death of ONE person could have that much of effect on the world in such a negative way.
Other than that I thoroughly enjoyed it. I haven't read Stephen King in a long time but recently went back to audible and listened to Salem's Lot which led me to 11/22/63. It's worth the listen, both of them!
Unusual love story.
The actual moments before the assassination are really well crafted so that you feel you're there with the characters.
Wasson does a superb job with the voices. You forget that it's one narrator and the emotion and drama are wonderfully conveyed by his reading.
No, I needed a few weeks to listen because some parts were slower than others to get through.
I highly recommend this audiobook. It's a great departure for King, though it explores many of his main themes, and it showcases his maturity as a writer by breaking from many of his patterns.
Suspense, Imaginative, Romance
Craig Wasson's narration, romance between lead pair, concept of time travel
The final dance scene ...
Many ... Many ...
Craig Wassons narration is unbelievably good...
This is an absolutely brilliant book, and is one of Stephen Kin'g's finest.
No, it's not a horror novel or a supernatural novel. It's a time-travel novel about a high school English teacher who steps through a portal and goes back in time in an attempt to prevent the shooting of John F. Kennedy.
The book soars right from the opening. The time travel concepts are handled deftly and with a gentle touch, so there is no pervasive feeling of sci-fi about the book at all. It's about as normal a time-travel book as you could ever hope to find.
The real joy of the book lies in the depiction of what it's like to go back in time to the period from 1958-1963. Stephen King brings the scents, sounds, and experiences to life as no one else could. He paints a masterpiece with a thousand colours.
The story itself is straightforward, but has many sub-plots and threads going through. There is a love story, and several other heartbreaking stories which weave their way all the way from the 1950s to the current times.
For people unfamiliar with the JFK shooting and with the cold war era, a little background reading would probably come in handy, but a lack of familiarity with the topic doesn't hurt particularly. Everything you need to know is laid out gloriously.
Through the book runs the idea that time and history are resistant to change, and every time there's an attempt to go back to the past to change things, something happens to try to derail the alternate ending.
The book is funny and sad, frustrating and exhilarating. The narration is superb and fits the story perfectly.
It's definitely worth the credit, and is the kind of book thatneeds to percolate and then be listened to for a second and third time. At 30 hours, it's long but not overly so. The time passes quickly and without notice.
This is a fabulous book and is a great slice of Americana. The glimpse into a simpler but equally complext time is brilliantly done. The reader/listener is left both longing for the simpler time and grateful not to be living back then.
Rush to spend your credit on this one -- you won't be disappointed.
Tell us about yourself! Avid reader. My life was complete when my husband gave me "audible" as a Christmas present. BEST GIFT I EVER GOT.
Yes. I actually wrote a better review than this & somehow lost it. THIS BOOK WAS GREAT. I kept saying to my husband, we'll take this in the RV, you'll love it. Each and every chapter kept calling
The Talisman. A shifting between two
I couldn't tell how many of the characters he actually voiced. He was wonderful along with whoever sided the other side of the conversations.
I can tell you when that was...there were quite a few, but then I would spoil the story. There were times I laughed and times I wanted to cry. Not because it was sad, but because I wanted to jump in and help him.
You will enjoy this. It's lengthy, but not long enough. Maybe there'll be a sequel.
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