Review: Stephen King’s 11/22/63
With an excellent premise, engaging characters, evocative setting and a fantastic narrative, 11/22/63 is solid gold!
Weighing in at 850 pages, this is not a light read, but would you really want to compromise on size when something is this good?
Unlike the majority of Stephen King’s work, 11/22/63 is not horror; instead it is more of period thriller with some token time-travel thrown as the lynch-pin to the story. 11/22/63 posits the question of what would happen if you could prevent the assassination of John F. Kennedy.
Whilst much of the novel revolves around the premise of preventing the assassination, the focus of the novel is of life in 1950’s and 1960’s America (otherwise known as “Land of Ago” in the novel). The premise is wonderfully presented purely as McGuffin for the story without attempting to rationalise it and the diverse character, especially the core protagonist, is wonderfully human.
As you would expect from a writer of his calibre, Stephen King indelibly captures the spirit of those times, without bowing down to nostalgia or cynicism. Through his exhaustive research and writing, King presents what life was like, from the fresh food and community spirit to the inherent racism and sexism during those times.
Weighing it at nearly 850 pages, this is not a light read, and the sheer size of the book might be intimidating to some people. However, within fifty pages you soon find yourself forgetting its size for the simple pleasure of reading Jake Epping’s experiences in the Land of Ago.
By the time you are halfway through, you will begin to dread reaching the end of what has be to one of Stephen King’s greatest novels. It is powerful, emotive, engaging and truthful; often giving the reader pause for thought as the story develops.
Some people have commented that the novel should lose a hundred pages to make for a tighter reader, but to do that would be a mistake, as you would lost much of the minutia that makes 11/22/63 such a fantastic novel.