§ion=&combo2=&text1=&text2=&SocNetUsername=&SocNetPassword=&authCode=& 7th Decade Thoughts: 11/22/63 by Stephen King

7th Decade Thoughts

Thoughts about books, politics and history (personal and otherwise), pictures I've taken and pictures I've edited.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

11/22/63 by Stephen King

Maybe not great literature, but.... I admit I've never READ Stephen King before. I don't like ghost stories or scifi (in most cases) and I really don't like blood and gore so I've bypassed him, though I know (by reputation) he's a good storyteller. Loved the film of the Shawshank Redemption.

So I'm more than pleasantly surprised at this one. It's long (nearly 900 pages) but I'm listening to the audible version where the reader is very good, especially with the various regional accents--even manages the Kennedy accent pretty well. (I'd forgotten how completely regional accents have smoothed out since 1963--forgotten a lot of things about that period that King revives in this book.) I've spent HOURS this week listening pretty compulsively as I knit (finishing a boring project) or spin (once you get going it's pretty routine--plenty of attention left over for something else). 

Definitely NOT a rehash of the assassination or the conspiracy theories--and in fact what there is of that is the least interesting part of the book.

Some blood and gore--though NOT Kennedy's.

The locales of the story are very well done: Maine where the main character comes from and a small Texas town where he ends up in particular.

The plot is the thing here. King is very very good at that--maybe even reminds me of Dickens in that regard--there's a similar sentimental ethos as well as a dependence on detail which echoes through the novel. There's a love story--and a pretty good one. There's a self-effacing, self-analyzing narrator/main character who's appealing and great with the hints not only of what's to come but about details that will recur.

The mechanics of time travel--not the scientific possibility thereof which King wisely doesn't tackle, but the practical rules--are well thought out and connect well with the plot and the themes of the novel. King is different from many time travel writers in tackling the issue of changing the past head on rather than avoiding it if at all possible. In Jake/George's world a trip to the past does allow you to change things--though as he says "the past doesn't like to be changed", but if you go back and come again there's a complete reset--everything goes back to the way it was. Not sure how that works as a theory of real possibilities, but it works very effectively in the novel.

I admit there are a couple of reasons I may be more addicted to this novel than you will be.
1. I LOVE time travel stories.
2. I was not only alive but an adult (in the first year of grad school) in 1963 and not surprisingly Nov 22 1963 left a huge impression.


Anonymous Louise said...

I gave up on Stephen King back in the 80s, when I got half way through The Stand. Not my cup of tea. Yet I am interested in this book, I'm not very good at thick books though and have too much on my reading plate at the moment. Glad you enjoyed it though.

3/23/2012 06:26:00 PM  

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