The premise: a bored, restless high school English teacher is charged with altering the course of American history when his dying pal passes on the secret of the rabbit hole. The question: Will he, can he prevent Lee Harvey Oswald from firing the fatal shots?
JFK’s assassination is a generation’s collective nightmare. People say that everything changed after 11/22/63. Not just politically. The country, indeed the world, was faster, more cynical, some would say meaner, after 11/22/63.
You don’t have to be an English teacher to feel Jake Epping’s ennui (but it helps) and you don’t have to be an idealist to wonder what might have been if not for that afternoon in Dallas.
At 849 pages, this book is epic even by King’s standards. What makes it such a good read resides in the convergence of fact and fiction and possibility. Jake is a hero laboring under the double burden of duty and hopeless hope. History resists change and Jake persists, recreating himself as he pushes doggedly to the destiny of 11/22/63. What happens along the way becomes more than incidental; it becomes Jake’s reality.
As is the case in some of King’s previous books, you have to be patient as he gives you the set up. But remember, too, that King is an accomplished and clever craftsman. There is always more than meets the eye.
11/22/63 is a smart and engaging read for the summer days ahead. It is available in hardcover and as an e book.