Tuesday, January 03, 2012

First Look: 11/22/63

One of my Christmas presents was the new Stephen King novel, "11/22/63." Based on the title alone, it doesn't take a genius to figure out what it is about. Man goes back in time, and tries to change history - in this case, stopping the Kennedy assassination. All well and good, even though given the history of the author and the subject matter we can probably guess that a happy ending is not in store.

The book is a behemoth - I mean, you could literally kill someone with this book; it's that big. As of last night I'm on Page 158, and I've barely made a dent - in total, it's 850 pages long. From a review that I read (which was a mistake, because it gave away a key plot detail), the book doesn't even begin to delve into the life of Lee Harvey Oswald for another 200 pages or so.

What you might not know - and I'm going to be careful not to give too much away here - is that the first section of the book takes place in Derry, Maine, the site of "It," which to this day is what I think is King's masterpiece. The point at which the protagonist arrives in Derry is shortly after the events of "It" (the 1958 section, that is), and before long the protagonist encounters some of the earlier book's key characters. If you haven't read "It," that will mean absolutely nothing to you. But if you have, then it should be tremendously meaningful. I know that it gave me a little chill up my spine, at the point I realized exactly what was happening.

As for "11/22/63" itself, all I can say right now is that it feels like one of King's good ones - maybe even a great one. But there's a long way to go. Stay tuned for further developments.

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