I stayed up too late last night finishing up Stephen King’s 11/22/63. It’s a time-travel novel that addresses what might happen if someone really did go back to prevent Lee Harvey Oswald from killing President Kennedy. It’s also a love story; and, sometimes, a horror novel.
I was trolling the Internet this morning, looking at some reviews (which I always seem to do after I’ve read them), and saw this by Lev Grossman:
And I was too interested in the grand loop of King’s time-travel conceit. It’s rare that time travelers have really good, specific reasons to go back in time, beyond averting a chrono-flux vortex or whatever. But Jake does, and I cared about him. And I wanted to know: what kind of twist does an 800-page time-travel novel lead up to?
I found out. The build-up is better than the payoff, as it almost always is. But there’s a lot to be said for a good build-up, and it’s not a cop-out. 11/22/63 asks a good question: what if this world—as cruel, tragic and horrifying as it is—really is the best of all possible worlds? If there’s no good answer to that question, it’s not King’s fault.