I'm currently behind on reviews, so don't be surprised if the recent reviews are a bit sparse.


Cover of 11/22/63.

I found 11/22/63 a good time travel story (Would you give five years of your life to stop the JFK assassination, given the chance?). Stephen King, as always, excells at the depiction of real, gritty human life with all its ups and downs. I really think he can write about anything, natural or supernatural, as long as it has at least a tenuous connection to Maine. The story had internal consistency, a bit of character development (with a not all that clever protagonist, which I appreciated โ€“ not all protagonists need to be the cleverererest), and a satisfying conclusion. Readers of It will appreciate the tie-ins, and I caught whiffs of the Dark Tower aesthetic and resonating themes. The quality of writing is, as always with King, good: believable characters, mostly even with more than one dimension, tight writing, the usual brilliant use of foreshadowing and -telling.

At the same time, there are definitely things that weren’t good: First off, this is a slow book. It’s not really about the Kennedy assassination, or about time travel, it’s mostly about the late 50s in America, in a very yearning, positive tint. This did work for me, because I know little about the 50s in the US, and I can deal with slow books as long as they are written well. But the rose-colored glasses in combination with a very pro-50s protagonist were a bit weird. About at the time when I wanted to say “bullshit, the 50s in the US must have sucked!”, King starts to talk about racism for a bit โ€“ only to mostly abandon the topic afterwards. It’s sometimes there on the sidelines, but only when King wants to highlight that not quite everything was good back then. Also, if you like Alternative History fiction: this is not a book for you, there is no exploration of the actual consequences of different ways history might take.