Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Book Review: 11-22-63

In 11-22-63, Stephen King does counterfactual history. I love counterfactual history and I think Stephen King can be a very good writer when he reins himself in a bit, and this book was as good as those two predilections would predict. There's lots of good surprises in this book but I won't spoil any of them because it's that tension of how does this time travel work? and what is the source of the evil? and was there a conspiracy or not? that propels the narrative here. In fact, the third one was spoiled for me and I think that's why I felt the book dragged a little in the middle with all the endless observation of Lee Harvey Oswald. The first two remained welcome surprises, creative and fitting, even the time travel physics. The most pleasant surprise for me was how, well, romantic the book ends up being. Stephen King's gifts at characterization are in full view. There's a few points of the description of evil which were a little too well-described shall we say. But this was one of the most enjoyable and thrilling 1000-page books I've read, definitely my favorite of King's. It's not perfect, but literary perfection is not the point: the story is the point. And that's what I like about King at his best.

PS: Some interesting theology embedded in King's writing, actually, if anyone dares to suss it out. This book is a strong example of that.

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