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11-22-63

A Novel
Narrated by: Craig Wasson
Length: 30 hrs and 40 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (53,876 ratings)

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Publisher's 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?

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

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    38,764
  • 4 Stars
    11,362
  • 3 Stars
    2,609
  • 2 Stars
    694
  • 1 Stars
    447

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    37,745
  • 4 Stars
    8,627
  • 3 Stars
    1,944
  • 2 Stars
    396
  • 1 Stars
    306

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    35,347
  • 4 Stars
    10,013
  • 3 Stars
    2,537
  • 2 Stars
    639
  • 1 Stars
    383

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Starts off strong and fades

Would you try another book from Stephen King and/or Craig Wasson?

Yeah, but I don't like a lot of King's endings.

What was most disappointing about Stephen King’s story?

The love story aspect, not focusing enough on the new future he created and why it all happened. Could have focused more on the yellow/green/orange whatever card man. A lot of disappointments in the end.

What three words best describe Craig Wasson’s performance?

I thought he was a little annoying with the accents.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

Yes it was a really interesting premise, I just think the execution fell off a cliff. It would have been better if he had to take down a conspiracy instead of just Oswald. That turned it into a love story.

53 of 59 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Fred
  • APPLETON, WI, United States
  • 06-15-12

Disappointing

Expecting a rich tapestry of sci-fi, history and suspense spun by one of the masters of our day, I found myself shaking my head at points wondering why King cannot get past his love of high school. A very large chunk of the book has little to do with Oswald or JFK.

I have to give credit to King for jogging the readers thoughts to introspection. I found myself shutting off the audio book and just thinking about my life, my kids and what I might do differently if I had a chance. Also King does a pretty good job a re-creating a feel for the early 60's and his passion for the music and culture of the times.

Very few references to world events that led up to the shooting were written about.

I do recommend this audio version as a fine and interesting listen/read.

One criticism of the reader of the audio book would be that some times I found it hard to tell which character was talking since the voices sometimes between some characters sounded too much alike.

Also, I found a distraction in the voices used by the reader toward the end of the book. One sounds like Jimmy Steward, another like John Houseman. This would not bother anyone that was young, but to me it was distracting.

If King would have tightened things up a bit more I would have enjoyed it MUCH more.

37 of 41 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Perplexing

The first 90% of this book is pretty drawn out, the last 10% is relatively interesting.

The vocal performance and accents where are entirely awful. There were several Russian and German accents attempted that literally made me cringe. I only finished the book because I had so much time invested.

29 of 32 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Too long

I started reading this book a year ago and loved the beginning but didn’t finish within the leading period. Purchased the audible and again loved the beginning. Overall I thought it was too long and didn’t like one of the main characters of the later sections. I am not sure if it was the performance or simply the character. If I wasn’t listening to this with my husband I would have stopped and returned it.

29 of 32 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • S. Crider
  • Kansas City, MO, United States
  • 06-16-12

so far not impressed with the concept

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

Yes for those who like King.

Has 11-22-63 turned you off from other books in this genre?

No

What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

I got tired of the performance. Seemed over acted unrealistic.

Do you think 11-22-63 needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

No no. Science fiction covers this subject already ..

Any additional comments?

@

29 of 32 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Too much Love Story

What did you love best about 11-22-63?

I really enjoyed the plot, the characters, and the way the this story progressed. I thought it was very well thought out and took me on a very nice adventure.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

There is a point, no a couple of times in this book that really have your complete attention, you CAN NOT stop. It was wonderful.

Any additional comments?

I was less than thrilled with the love interest, it seemed to get in the way sometimes.

14 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • danny
  • regina, SK, Canada
  • 02-16-12

uninspired, dull, depressing

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

better story, quicker narration

Would you ever listen to anything by Stephen King again?

yes... some of his older stories are very inspired.

Did the narration match the pace of the story?

yes... both were the protagonist and narrator sounded bored.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

as always Steve King develops characters very thoroughly.

29 of 32 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Howard
  • Seattle, WA, United States
  • 02-07-12

Not one of the "Best Books of 2011"

I had never read (or heard) a Stephen King book before, but when the New York Times included "11-22-63" on its list of the Best Books of 2011, I figured it was time to try. I will confess that I am not a fan of horror, or pulp, or pop culture novels to begin with; on the other hand, I don't go in much for Don DeLillo and pretentious postmodern stuff either. When I read fiction, which is not that often, I like a good story well told.

"11-22-63" isn't a bad story, but it never really gets to the truly fascinating possibilities of time travel. I don't mean that it should have focused on the technology, but a more thoughtful writer would have really gotten beneath the surfaces of the past, the Lucky Strikes and Ford Sunliners, into some really interesting territory. This novel felt very visual to me, in the annoying way that contemporary novels often have of being written with the movie treatment in mind. It is overly long, with too much extraneous detail about Oswald's home life, the inevitable love story, and a cast of "colorful" characters too long to remember.

I stuck with it all the way through, though, because for all its faults, it is a readable (listenable) book, eager to please and kind of innocent. I can see the appeal of King's writing - he has an accessible voice that seldom strikes a bad chord, even as it seldom really soars. I know it is a condescending thing to say, but this kind of writing defines "middlebrow."

Now for my biggest complaint: while Craig Wasson's narration is generally good, his ear for dialects is pure tin. I barely made it through the accents, starting with a barely passable down-east Maine accent (I lived for many years in Vermont), to a grating, cartoonish Texas accent (lived for a while in Houston and never heard an accent like that), and finally to a god-awful Russian accent that never existed in nature. His black women are pure Aunt Jemima. I was amused that he used the voices of Jimmy Stewart, John Houseman, John Wayne and Burt Lancaster for various characters - these were generally spot-on impressions, but it was distracting to have a Jewish bookie talking in Lancaster's voice, or an FBI agent with Jimmy Stewart's drawl.

This review will not endear me to die-hard Stephen King fans, but to the reader who wonders, like I did, how this book got on the Times' best books list, I would say: read it to satisfy your curiosity, to while away a few idle hours, but don't expect any revelations.

14 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Chantal
  • Henderson, NV, United States
  • 12-09-11

It just wasn't for me

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

I think folks who were alive in this era or really enjoy history would appreciate this book more than I did. I'm in my mid 20's and I didn't have a huge investment in history beyond what was required from my public education which largely consisted of the constitution, as well as current affairs.

What do you think your next listen will be?

I'm not sure, I've been considering a variety of books but I might get around to listening to Catch 22.

What about Craig Wasson’s performance did you like?

He was fantastic, I really appreciated all of his voices and his appropriate pauses and his ability to make mundane passages exciting.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

My favorite parts were the allusions to other various King works. I particularly enjoyed the first trip to Derry. When I first read 'It', I was a teenager and as crazy of a book as that was it really held a special place in my heart for all of the places King was bold enough to go. King is a phenomenal story teller and this was a good story in its own right, but it just wasn't for me.

Any additional comments?

I have read many Stephen King books, short stories and novellas over the last decade and a half, or basically since I was old enough to comprehend what he was writing about. I think King's writing is maturing, (not that it wasn't always mature) but there are usually undertones of loss of innocence and things like that which perpetually draw me to King's works. I listened to this book on a road trip and I just found myself bored and frustrated by many parts of it. I really wanted to enjoy it as I have many of King's books, but for me this just fell short of my expectations. The performance by Craig Wassan was spectacular and really brought character's to life. At times they were a bit drawn out, particularly the authority voices but overall it was a good performance.

29 of 32 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

What Was That?

It was so boring and so hard to get into. After listening to 6 hours of the book I was still kind of lost. I watched the entire Hulu series (loved it!) and decided to give the book another try. But it’s so incredibly boring! I agree with other reviewers, there was so much potential here. King has too many side stories going on it’s not even fun. It’s definitely King trying to write a romance novel but he doesn’t quite know how because he’s trying to write a sci-fi time travel history novel at the same time... something like that. Don’t waste your time. Just watch the series and then read/listen to the last few chapters of the book to better understand his explanation of the “time paradox.”

43 of 48 people found this review helpful