I’m not objective. I become a fan of the authors I choose to read, and any semblance of “journalistic ethic” (please don’t call me a journalist) flies out the window. When Stephen King comes out with a new book, I buy it and read it. Same with a handful of other authors like David Maraniss, David Baldacci, Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child (together or separately). A little Michael Connelly. W.E.B. Griffin. Some P.D. Cornwell.
11-22-63, King’s latest, could be called a book about the Kennedy Assassination. It could be called a book about time travel. Some might say it’s a glimpse into an alternate future. At around 850 pages, it can appear (judging a book by its thickness) a daunting read. To me, the book is at its core a love story.
No spoilers here; I won’t give anything away. The central event of the book is the murder of John Kennedy in Texas in 1963. But the central character’s mission is almost derailed by a love story that unfolds about half-way through the novel, and drives it to a very interesting conclusion.
Poignant, some would say.
I whipped through this book in a week, averaging a little over a hundred pages a day. That’s actually a relatively slow pace for me, because I have to do so much reading for my “day job” with Public News Service. Often, a Stephen King book involves scores of characters – like The Stand. Some, like Duma Key, revolve around a handful of characters. 9-11-63 falls into the latter category. On one hand, I wanted to plow ahead quickly to see what would happen next; on the other, I wanted to read slowly, and savor King’s elaborate plot development.
It’s not a time-travel book in the Heinlein sense, as in the late sci-fi master’s “A Door Into Summer” or “Time Enough for Love”. It’s a fresh look at the possibilities and complexities of time travel, but it never gets cluttered with scientific mumbo-jumbo. And it’s not an attempt to “set the record straight” on what really happened in Dallas on that November day 48 years ago.
If King’s new book is on the Christmas list of someone you know, buy it. And buy a copy for yourself, if you enjoy reading. You won’t be disappointed.