11.22.63 – Stephen King

Setting: Small town and big city, USA. [This is an All-American Affair.]

Story: In two words – time travel. King sends (his alter ego?)┬áJake Epping, a teacher, back to 1958. The mission should be obvious from the title of the book. From Jake’s 1958 arrival to that fateful day in 1963, the book recounts Epping’s adventures and misadventures.

Good Stuff: King’s USA of the late 1950s and early 1960s is super detailed, richly authentic and thoroughly convincing. What sets King apart is that he describes Epping’s insertion to this time travel with minute care and makes even a skeptical reader believe – at the very least, believe in the possibility. And once King has you in his world, he does not let go. The writing flows so smoothly that you cannot but help be carried along. It’s a big, meaty, tasty read with thrills, spills and surprises – and shivers, too. Atmospheric, thoughtful, and entertaining. Epping is the main character attraction, but King fills the scenes with a mix of fictional and real people with the skill of a long experienced professional. There’s nothing that jars here; each piece, each person, fits in to the story. And the plot, despite the inevitable logical issues of all time travel stories, hangs together like a solidly engineered rocket.

No So Good Stuff: Despite the length of the book, there were one or two occasions where I would have liked to have known more, or where the scene was cut too short for my tastes. However, such minute criticisms are all a matter of taste. Which brings me to the last not so good point: the love story. This was the weakest part of the book. It was not bad, but it was just not as good as the rest. It might have been necessary, to get some of the plot to work, but if I were daring to give the master some advice it would be to hone up on his love story skills.

Score: 8/10