Publisher: Simon and Shuster
Length: 30 hrs 43min
Narrator: Craig Wasson
Genre: Alternate History Fiction
Source: Own audiobook.
What if you could go back in time and change the course of history? What if the watershed moment you could change was the JFK assassination? 11.22.63, the date that Kennedy was shot - unless....
King takes his protagonist Jake Epping, a high school English teacher from Lisbon Falls, Maine, 2011, on a fascinating journey back to 1958 - from a world of mobile phones and iPods to a new world of Elvis and JFK, of Plymouth Fury cars and Lindy Hopping, of a troubled loner named Lee Harvey Oswald and a beautiful high school librarian named Sadie Dunhill, who becomes the love of Jake's life - a life that transgresses all the normal rules of time.
With extraordinary imaginative power, King weaves the social, political and popular culture of his baby-boom American generation into a devastating exercise in escalating suspense.
I would never have listened to or read this book without The Eclectic Reader challenge. I am very pleased that it enticed me into reading such a book. I listened to the audio version, and while I found it somewhat long, it was very interesting and held me every step of the way. The narrator Craig Wasson did a fantastic job - I ended up thinking he was Jake Epping!
I was drawn into this book because even though I don't live in the USA I still remember as a young teenager the day President Kennedy was shot. It was one of those tragedies that circled the world with dismay and horror. While I didn't understand politics, he had charisma.
This is a time travel book, and Jake Epping learns he can go back in time and spend months in the past, yet come back two minutes later into his own time. He is given this knowledge by his friend Al who wants him to go back and prevent Kennedy being shot.
It was fascinating to be taken back into the sixties, a time that doesn't seem foreign, but a time before technology. Jake lives in that time and must adapt to it. At times the book moved slowly for me, but all the details are there, and while slow it was still compelling reading. Jake meets an amazing array of people as he tracks Oswald until the day of the shooting. My favourite person was Sadie, what a woman. She was delightful.
There is one major hitch with the time travel and this provides some of the horror of the book - although it isn't a horror novel. Can Jake control the events of the past - what effect might that have in the future? If one thing is changed what difference will that make? Not a lot you would think! Well Stephen King tells it differently - and I was left thinking that where we interfere its not always for the best.
The way the book ends is bittersweet, but perfect in its own right.