11/22/63 II

Overall it’s about as good as an 849 page novel can be. It has all the elements of dramatic rhetoric, pathos, logos and ethos. Written in first person narrative, the trip through time to save JFK is an adventure fraught with dangers that are revealed more and more as the fateful moment approaches. This time portal always goes back to the same day in September 1958. One can live in the past as long as one chooses it seems with only a time lapse of 2 minutes in the present. However the actual aging process occurs normally so for example, if a 35 year old leaves at 11:58 on April the 28 and goes back and lives from September 1958 to December 1963 upon return it would be 12:00 April 28 and the traveler would now be 40.

History can be changed but……it doesn’t like being changed and resists by creating obstacles to prevent significant change; the bigger the change the bigger the obstacles. Since saving JFK is a pretty damn big change the obstacles are enormous. There are also lasting ripples in the fabric of time that come into play. Each time one goes back time “resets” so that the changes that resulted from a previous trip are negated and time reverts back to the way it was.

King did an enormous amount of research on the assignation and builds the suspense of the fateful day to a feverish climax. While the protagonist is almost certain Oswald was a lone shooter he still can not be 100% certain until he arrives at the School Book Depository 6th floor on 11/22/63. So he can’t take Oswald out ahead of time as there might be a conspiracy. The conspiracy ramifications are a major factor in the book.

One of the story’s themes is that time travel causes “harmonies” names are similar, in past and present, story lines converge and coincidences abound to the point of becoming the new reality. I found that to be personally amusing. In 1965 I desperately wanted my first car to be a 1957 ford sunliner . I have never really gotten over not having it. So of course that is the car the time traveler purchases. I am so envious.


I loved the book and sad to have finished it.  And if you like a good love story you should read it, it has one for the ages (lol).


3 Responses

  1. I would have probably said, about as good a book as Stephen King can write. And this coming from a former SK addict. Looking back, I’d say the best book he ever wrote was Cujo. It’s packed with suspense, but there is nothing supernatural about it. Apparently that wasn’t much fun for him, though. I grew out of him years ago, but recently read Duma Key. Which was a fun book. He’s such a good writer, with such an incredible command of the language and a fierce understanding of people and what makes them tick, that I still see it as a pity that he has to inject the supernatural.
    All that said, you make me want to read this book. What a great summary! And that’s not easy to do for an 849 page book. My hat is off to you (speaking of good writing). Bummer though that time resets itself 🙂

  2. Yes the reset provides a unique twist/contrast to other time traveling stories, and becomes the dominant dramatic mechanism. It enhances the drama considerably and provides complex choices. Obviously the two questions every reader begins with are 1 did he save JFK and 2 how did that change history? Well the reset offers variations and keeps one intrigued until the end. The dust jacket has opposing headlines on front and back so that gives you a clue that this ain’t gonna be linear.

  3. The thing about time travel is that it suggests that changing history would be for the better, when there is little to support that. Perhaps nothing would have changed; or perhaps it’d be worse.

    I recall this “story” about changing history:

    A high school girl is riding her bike downhill as she returns home from school. Suddenly, her mother’s hen jumps into the road in front of her. The girl knows this hen is her single mother’s only source of income, and that income also pays for her schooling. She tries to avoid hitting the hen and crashes into a tree, and is killed.

    The mother hears the commotion, runs out and surmises what happened since the hen is still in the middle of the road. She cries out that this was her only child. Why did she risk harm by swerving to avoid the hen? The hen is not worth her daughter’s life.

    So now we change history…

    Rewind to the girl seeing the hen in the road. Instead of swerving, which might kill her, she hits and kills the hen. The mother hears the commotion and runs out. Seeing the dead hen and the daughter, she surmises what happened. She berates the daughter for not making any effort to avoid the hen. This is their only income! How will they live? How will the school tuition be paid so the daughter can go to college, make a good living and support the mother in her old age?
    The daughter is so selfish! The mother stomps back into the house.

    The daughter, distraught over what she has done and her mother’s berating, decides the the only thing she can do to make it easier for her mother, and to show remorse, is to kill herself.

    Two different histories, same result.

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