If you had a way to travel back in time and change the course of history, what would you do? If you’re Jake Epping, the mild-mannered Maine high school teacher who discovers a portal to the past in Stephen King’s latest classic, 11/22/63, you’d go back half a century and try to prevent the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. And if you did so, you’d be in for a real education in time travel and find, as Jake does, that it’s not so easy to change the past. Because, as the author reminds us again and again in this spellbinding, seductive page-turner, the past doesn’t want to be changed; the past, King asserts, is as intractable as the day is long.
But it’s the journey that matters most in King’s magnificent tale, which is sure to take its rightful place among the greatest novels ever written about time travel.
On the road to Dallas and his date with destiny, Jake contends with characters and towns that fester with a strange and unnamed malevolence that permeates the past. And though he recognizes the errors of our own history, Jake also falls in love with the past. He develops an attachment and passion for this simpler time and place, along with the soul of a more innocent America — a land of hope and promise that many Americans, including the author, still yearn for today. Grade: A