I grabbed this since I hadn’t read a Stephen King in awhile and it looked interesting. Historical fiction from King? I had to try 11/22/63 and I loved it. This might be his best book ever.
As you might expect it starts in Maine, but not quite as you might think Jake is a teacher who’s just finished the year and has papers to grade. However he’s asked to meet the owner of a local diner, a place that he loves but most people suspect serves questionable meat since it’s so cheap. What he learns is astounding.
The owner leads him into a storeroom as has him shuffle towards a corner, warning him that he’ll be stepping down. He does and finds himself stepping outside in 1958, in the same town. With a set of instructions on a few things to do, he returns to the past to spend an afternoon wandering around a bustling Maine town. When he returns, it’s 2 minutes later in 2011.
It’s an amazing premise. The diner owner is dying, and wants Jake to go back to the past and save Kennedy. He says it’s imperative. Think of all the things that follow Kennedy: his brother, Vietnam, and more. Jake isn’t sure, but he learns that the past can be affected. He decides to try it by going back and living for months, in an effort to prevent the present day’s school janitor from being injured by his father and the rest of the family killed. It works, and he decides to go back and save Kennedy, killing Oswald and most of the book is his life in Texas between 1958 and 1963.
An amazing story. One that made me think and appreciate the past, and one I had to put down some times just to speculate and absorb the story. It was one of my favorite reads of the last few years and I highly recommend it.