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11/22/63: A Novel Hardcover – November 8, 2011
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The reader feels the benefit of 40 years of narrative craftsmanship and reflection on his nation's history. Going backwards proves to be another step forward for the most remarkable storyteller in modern American literature. Mark Lawson, Guardian The pages of 11.22.63 fly by, filled with immediacy, pathos and suspense. It takes great brazenness to go anywhere near this subject matter. But it takes great skill to make this story even remotely credible. Mr. King makes it all look easy, which is surely his book's fanciest trick. New York Times Stephen King at his epic, pedal-to-metal best Alison Flood, Sunday Times not just an accomplished time-travel yarn but an action-heavy meditation on chance, choice and fate. Independent Books of the Year The details of Fifties America, the cars, the clothes, the food, the televisions with wonky horizontal hold, are so vivid that you begin to wonder whether the author himself hasn't had access to a time machine. ...But as you worry at the paradoxes and the brilliantly explained pseudo science there is no denying that this monster yearn is blindingly impressive. Manly writers run out of steam as they get older. King, though, writes books that are ever longer and more demanding. I can't wait to see what he will tackle next. Daily Express Stephen King's new novel, 11.22.63, combines a variety of genres, being a JFK assassination, a story of time travel, a variation on the grail quest, a novel of voyeurism, a love story, a historical novel, a counter-factual historical novel and the chilling tale of a sinister animate universe, a form which can be traced back to the ghost stories of MR James. London Review of Books The master of the pen has written yet another extraordinary novel. Independent A wonderful book: page-turningly exciting, witty, wise, melancholic. But also utterly human, profoundly decent Ashley Pharoah, co-writer and co-creator of Life on Mars and Ashes to Ashes Take King's hand and allow him to lead you into a past so vibrant and complete that you can almost taste it. But hold on tight, the Master of Horror has now become the Master of Time ... Utterly enthralling, emotional and magical Matthew Graham, co-writer and co-creator of Life on Mars and Ashes to Ashes Fine stories to take with us into the night. Neil Gaiman in the Guardian America's greatest living novelist. Lee Child King's gift of storytelling is unrivalled. His ferocious imagination is unlimited. George Pelecanos 'King's most purely entertaining novel in years ... utterly compelling.' John Connolly on UNDER THE DOME 'Staggeringly addictive.' USA Today on UNDER THE DOME 'Tight and energetic from start to finish.' New York Times on UNDER THE DOME 'The pedal is indeed to the metal.' Guardian on UNDER THE DOME Delivers a lot of praise and enjoy. The story comes off the blocks with almost alarming speed ... he tells a story like a pro ... 11.22.63 kept me up all night. Daily Telegraph Stephen King at his epic, pedal-to-metal best Alison Flood Sunday Times, Culture,i> Perhaps only seasoned storyteller Stephen King could accomplish changing the course of history in his vast time-travelling masterpiece whilst effortlessly weaving political and social details with abundant humour. King's intriguing new story structure will surely catapult the author to another best-seller. The Australian Women's Weekly These early sections of the novel are almost irresistible entertaining, enlivened not just by King's supreme control of the form but by his sardonic wit and usual generosity of spirit and expansiveness. Yet as Jack/George moves closer to his goal, other, darker notes intrude, as time itself begins to resist his attempts to change its course, and as he begins to identify with his quarry... Beneath the reassuring glow of King's portrait of an earlier, simpler time moves a darker and less comfortable vision, a glimpse of the terrifying machinery that moves below the surface of human history, and which stands as a stark, chilling rejoinder to the fantasies of escape embodied in so many time travel stories. The Weekend Australia Mammoth but entertaining, this is part sci-fi, part suspense and part travelogue of a long-ago America. Who Weekly Stephen King is a remarkable and wonderful storyteller who never loosens his grip on the reader throughout the 750-page book. Woman's Day The novel is big, ambitious and haunting. King has probably absorbed the social, political, and popular culture of his baby-boom American generation as thoroughly and imaginatively as any other writer. Mildura Midweek King weaves the social, political and popular culture of his baby-boom American generation into a devastating exercise in escalating suspense. Daily Liberal A fascinating journey. Armidale Express Extra A delightful blend of history and fantasy by a man who has always had a soft spot for an America where men wore fedoras, drove big Fords and could do the foxtrot. A thriller by a genius writer. The Courier Mail People often complain there are no writers of the stature of Dickens anymore. I think that for pure energy and invention missed with compassion, King stands in that writer's direct line. Dickens' heir is alive and well and living in Maine. Eureka Street This is Stephen King in top and chilling form. Take 5 You have to take a leap of faith with time-travel novels, but if there's one writer who can pull it off, it's Stephen King. ... Captivating, surprisingly pacy and free from sci-fi cliche, it's no wonder the film version is already being planned. Shortlist The most remarkable story-teller in modern American literature. Mark Lawson, Guardian a powerful love story Mirror One of the strengths of the book is King's at once nostalgic and honest view of the end of the Eisenhower era. King manages to avoid both sentimentalizing the past and treating it with massive condescension; his role as the poet of American brand-names serves him well here. Independent King swiftly moves beyond vintage Americana to unfold a stunningly panoramic portrait of the era. His [King's] fascination with evil...arranges characters among clear mortal frontiers that fell meaningful rather than simplistic. King commands an inordinately fat space on the bookshelf with 11.22.63 but it's hard to begrudge when his vast imagination is working across such an epic canvas. Seven, The Sunday Telegraph 11.22.63 marks a definite maturing of literary command and ambition. The key to any novel set in an alternate reality is credible world building, the steady accumulation of detail - preferably lightly distributed - that brings the story alive. King succeeds in this, partly drawing from his own memories. Adam LeBor,FT Weekend ...This is the American of Stephen King's childhood and it's one that he re-creates in vivid and loving detail... This is a truly compulsive, addictive novel not just about time-travel or the Kennedy assassination but about recent American history and its might-have-beens, about love, and about how life 'turns on a dime'. It's a thunking 700-pager which left me only wanting more. The master storyteller in truly masterful form. Daily Mail Stephen King is up there with the best. It's a thriller, a meditation on late Fifties and early Sixties America and a love story. It creates a world you can lose yourself in. Peter Robinson in the Sunday Express He writes incomparably good stories ... King's mastery of plot and his ability to create characters and situations both homespun and far-fetched means that this is the book you dream of getting stuck on the train home with. Independent on Sunday The story moves seamlessly from detailed reality to elaborate fantasy and back again through a meticulously researched backdrop of late 1950s events, fashion and sentimentality. It is a story of temptation, sacrifice, politics, love and self-interest. It was enthralling and I loved it. Townsville Bulletin (Australia) The fictional offering that engaged me most urgently ... an extraordinarily ambitious tale. Canberra City News A suspenseful drama. New Idea (Australia Time travel and an incredible talent for storytelling combine to produce a unique tour de force. Sun A book of the year. Sun Cleverly evokes the moral dilemmas of time travel and whether a time traveller could or should prevent the assassination of John F. Kennedy on 11.22.63. King also beautifully and nostalgically evokes the minutiae of American suburban life in the late 1950's. Canberra Times A fondly-felt, wryly funny, subplots-and-tangents-aplenty character study. Rip it Up (Australia) A real page-turner. Woman's Day (Australia) A fascinating read that's like an episode of Dr Who, the book leaves you with more questions than answers. Sunday Telegraph (Australia) Delivers as an affecting, suspenseful page-turner. Irish Times King has form in rendering plausible the fantastic ... 11.22.63 stakes another claim for its author to be classified as sui generis. Times Literary Supplement King's first effort at melding fact with fiction is as successful as his previous books, and perhaps even more intriguing considering the subject matter: time travel and the implications of change. A contemplative and thoughtful book as filled with heart as it is with intrigue, courtesy of one of our most gifted living writers. Australian Penthouse Legendary writer King has written another magical tome. People (Australia)
About the Author
Stephen King is the author of more than fifty books, all of them worldwide bestsellers. His recent work includes The Bill Hodges Trilogy—Mr. Mercedes (an Edgar Award winner for Best Novel), Finders Keepers, and End of Watch—and the story collection The Bazaar of Bad Dreams. His epic series, The Dark Tower, is the basis for a major motion picture starring Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey. It is also now a major motion picture starring Bill Skarsgård. King is the recipient of the 2014 National Medal of Arts and the 2003 National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. He lives in Bangor, Maine, with his wife, novelist Tabitha King.
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Top customer reviews
But that doesn't mean that 11/22/63 is boring. Quite the contrary. Although it might seem that it would be tough to build suspense around a conclusion that seems to be inevitable, this turns out not to be the case. Big time. I just finished playing hooky from work for a day when I read the last 400 pages non-stop (except for a couple of bathroom breaks), because I just couldn't stop. I just kept pressing the advance button on my Kindle.
The adjective that first comes to mind in describing 11/22/63 among SK's oeuvre is, oddly enough, "mature". I have read every novel and anthology that King has published, plus a large number of single short stories, starting with "Carrie" in a borrowed paperback back in the late 1970s. I have never before thought of describing his work in any of them, many good, some great and a few clunkers (some of which I have reviewed as such), as mature. But that is the first, best word that comes to mind in describing 11/22/63. There were others too; exciting, romantic, bittersweet and, as with all SK's stuff, well-written.
Lee Harvey Oswald and the Kennedy assassination were obviously very well-researched, clear from the details in the text even before one gets to the afterword that describes some of the sources and methods used. The lead-up to the day of the assassination is described in great detail, along with Oswald's relationship to his family and associates, all matters of historical record (at least according to the sources cited by SK, with which most of the readers who did not like the novel disagreed emphatically). But I should point out that the facts concerning the Kennedy assassination are actually not the main focus of the novel.
The world of 1958-1963 is described in wonderful detail, through the eyes of Jake as he gradually sheds his early 21st century armored shell and falls in love with a small Texas town and Sadie, its new young librarian. Their love story is the centerpiece of the novel and is told with great depth, sensitivity and believability. I'm old enough to have experienced lots of the stuff that Jake encounters in 1958 (albeit as a child) and it jives with and jogs my recollections and induces a feeling of longing for older, simpler times. For King''s "Constant Readers", there are easter egg cameos from "It" and "The Langoliers" that I recognized. Knowing SK, there may well be others.
The ending is not predictable (if you say you saw it all coming you are either lying or should be a best-selling novelist) and is surprisingly satisfying. To those who say King doesn't know how to end his novels, I say, read this one.
Very Highly Recommended for all (even those who think they know but don't "like" Stephen King).
Susan Watters Mumford rated it
it was amazing
I took my time reading this book because I wanted to pay attention! I was in utero when JFK was assassinated. For me, there is no "I remember exactly where I was" when he was shot moment. As usual, Stephen King does a bang up job of bringing you up close and personal to the action. Granted, this is a time-travel tale in which he took certain liberties with history, but he did keep it as close to reality as possible.
I was full on emotional at some points with tears rolling down my face, which honest to the Big Guy, really is no surprise while reading a King book. He doesn't do a whole lotta love, but the love angle was quite touching, Honey.
Jake Epping ~ George Amberson was an admirable hero. He just melded into the story like one of my big brothers. Easy to trust, like, talk to, maintained a cool-head. Smooth, Honey.
Loved Sadie. I am NOT tall, but I fall UP stairs. I am NOT graceful, but I trip over a SHADOW. I am NOT bizarre, but I believe in DREAMS, Honey!
I abhorred Lee Harvey Oswald. Really? Why would I? He is of no consequence to my life now, then, ever. But, I did. I hated that sniveling little bastard. Not for the reason the whole world hates him - for assassinating JFK. I hated him for laying hands upon his wife. I did not have one drop of sympathy for the fool.
Loved the book. Loved the story. Always love Mr. King's writing. Loved the ending, Honey. Glad you listened to Joe.
What this book is, however, is s compendium of wonderful America in the Sixties imagery that centers around a well-crafted love story and doing the right thing, even when doing so hurts.
I am not a horror story fan by any means, but as a teacher of American History I cannot help but be impressed by the wonderful descriptions of American life from a bygone era that are here. Every decade has warts, and the Sixties were no exception. However, King has crafted a novel that makes "fifty-something" people like me wish he were able to have experienced something as simple as a root-beer float sans preservatives or a small-town sock hop without the presence of drugs or the potential for deadly violence.
I was born in the early 1960's, and can barely remember Kennedy getting shot, but I started reading from the time I picked the book up after its delivery and l didn't put it down again until I finished it, except, of course, for my work schedule and meal breaks. The book is well over a thousand entertaining pages in length and is worth a good, careful read. The modern theme of time travel is the main thread that brings the novel together, but if you allow yourself to get immersed in such down-to-earth characters such as George Amberson/Jake Epping or Sadie Dunhill, you will soon discover that you can relate to them in a big way.
The book is not a historical novel written as a step-by-step account of the Kennedy Assassination. It is a work of fiction. The assassination serves as a continuing literary catalyst for George's/Jake's overall mission: to save the world by preventing Kennedy from getting shot. Does he do it? What might the global situation have been if JFK had survived 11-22-63? Find out for yourself, toward the end of a very enjoyable adventure.
Bottom line: Buy the book, it's surely worth it. If you happen to have lived during 1958-1963, buy the book and enjoy a thought-provoking time of reminiscence. If you are like me and are too young to have lived during the times described in the novel but enjoy a good suspense yarn steeped in actual historical events, get it and read it anyway. You may find yourself wishing you had been part of what America was like 50 years ago.
A post-script: the miniseries based on the book is currently airing on Hulu. I don't yet know how the miniseries will handle the ending of the book, but you'll like the way the book ends!
Most recent customer reviews
Characters and locations written so vividly.
Throughly enjoyed tbis book
*note: Hulu has a 8 chapter mini series out.Read more