I don’t care much about historical events or the history of politics. I realize it’s important stuff but it doesn’t rate high on my to-read list.
When I read that Mr. King had published a time traveler novel however I cheered. When I heard it was going to be about the assassination of Kennedy I shrugged. And picked it up from the store anyway. I can add that had it been by any other writer (barring Mr. Murakami) I wouldn’t have.
Devils in the details
It has “just” taken me a little under a year to read it. King loves his details, the devils in them, as he is so fond of saying and its what makes him an accomplished writer. Some part of 11.22.63 however felt tedious.
The part when George/Jake leaves the school to go to keep an eye on Lee Harvey Oswald seemed to go on forever (it feels like that at times even if that particular chapter doesn’t in fact go on for many pages) and I laid the book down for a long time to read other books (amongst those where Kings Wind Through the Keyhole which I loved!).
But when my kindle broke down I picked 11.22.63 up again determined to finish it and the last 150 pages SWOOOOSHED by. the devil’s in the details and King is great with details.
It’s a good idea and thankfully not filled with characters who have paved history but fine King-ish characters like Sadie and Al. And the story isn’t so much about the assassination of Kennedy or about Oswald as I feared but about George/Jakes life in the 60’s and about love and heroism. Heroism that turns out to be misplaced and much harder to maintain than initially thought.
It’s a pessimistic novel, not so much about the future or about life, as about the nature of the universe. And the glimpse of the world with Kennedy in it is frightening (I dare not think about what that might or might not mean!). It ends with the Jakes final heroic act and what at first appears to be a rather depressing conclusion to a nostalgic novel.
Until the dance, which gives us hope – for love and for the future.
So all in all not a bad thing, this novel 11.22.63 – not bad at all.