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In this brilliantly conceived tour de force, Stephen King - who has absorbed the social, political, and popular culture of his generation more imaginatively and thoroughly than any other writer - takes listeners on an incredible journey into the past and the possibility of altering it.
It begins with Jake Epping, a 35-year-old English teacher in Lisbon Falls, Maine, who makes extra money teaching GED classes. He asks his students to write about an event that changed their lives, and one essay blows him away: a gruesome, harrowing story about the night more than 50 years ago when Harry Dunning’s father came home and killed his mother, his sister, and his brother with a sledgehammer. Reading the essay is a watershed moment for Jake, his life - like Harry’s, like America’s in 1963 - turning on a dime.
Not much later his friend Al, who owns the local diner, divulges a secret: his storeroom is a portal to the past, a particular day in 1958. And Al enlists Jake to take over the mission that has become his obsession - to prevent the Kennedy assassination.
So begins Jake’s new life as George Amberson, in a different world - of Ike and JFK and Elvis, of big American cars and sock hops and cigarette smoke everywhere. From the dank little city of Derry, Maine (where there’s Dunning business to conduct), to the warmhearted small town of Jodie, Texas, where Jake falls dangerously in love, every turn is leading, eventually of course, to a troubled loner named Lee Harvey Oswald and to Dallas, where the past becomes heart-stoppingly suspenseful - and where history might not be history anymore. Time-travel has never been so believable. Or so terrifying.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Kelly on 04-16-12
I Owe Stephen King An Apology
Stephen King On Writing is one of my favorite books, and I read it every couple of years. Half memoir, half writing “how to,” it is absorbing and delightful. I recommend it to my students and suggest that they read it every year.
However, that is the only one of King’s books that I’ve been able to read. I’ve tried many times, but kept getting bogged down after 20 or 30 pages. The stories were okay, but couldn’t hold my interest because the writing seemed too heavy handed, brutish, like he was typing with his fists.
So, after days of consideration, it was with great reluctance that I downloaded 11/22/63. The reviews were good, glowing, in fact, and I’ve learned to trust the opinions of Audible listeners. Plus, the book is more than 30 hours long, which the bargain hunter in me always finds attractive.
I just finished it tonight. It is a wonderful and fascinating story, based loosely on an English teacher’s obsession with Lee Harvey Oswald and the possibility of going back in time to prevent the Kennedy killing. I also enjoyed the love story, which the author handles with charm, humor and honesty.
The writing is wonderful, masterful, vivid, compelling. The characters are rich and deep, genuine, involved, and I find myself thinking about them and their lives often throughout the day. Life in small-town and big-town 1958 up to 1963 is mesmerizing, much as I remember it, with the constant but subtle hint of mysterious dangers to come.
You’ll get no more details from me, only a hearty endorsement. Well worth every minute, made doubly valuable by the excellent and interesting reading by Craig Wasson. Totally believable, wonderfully surprising, and, well, I was going to say something about the ending, but you'll want to find that out for yourself.
573 of 598 people found this review helpful
By History on 11-11-11
Time Travel, History & Stephen King: Wow!!
This is a great book with a fantastic narrator. A compelling story that keeps you mesmerized from the first word and won't let you go. I love time travel and I love history. While I am not always a Stephen King fan, he is a great author and knows how to tell a story. And he really tells this one very very well ... and Craig Wasson, the narrator, is as good as they get.
Time travel is not King's usual genre, but he has the skill to do a brilliant job in a form that is extremely demanding. Not only is the form demanding, but readers are demanding: science fiction aficionados are knowledgeable readers. We are a nit-picky audience. To my delight, I was thrilled with this book. King did his homework, both in the history and for the genre.
If you are a fan of time travel fiction where the history is the focus and not the technology (a la Connie Willis), you will love this, If you are looking for a more typical Stephen King horror story, well, you do get a taste of Derry, Maine and there is a creep factor, but this is much more science fiction/ time travel/ history than classic King. If you're looking for horror, this isn't it.
Above all, this is a brilliantly well written, carefully crafted, and well researched novel with excellent narration. Top grades all around.
380 of 405 people found this review helpful