More on endings

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.

That’s better than I seem to have done on the topic of endings. Of course, Grossman as a writer is far out of my league. Go read The Magicians and The Magician King.

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