Feature

Novel of the week: 11/22/63 by Stephen King

In King's new novel, a time traveler tries to prevent John F. Kennedy’s assassination.

(Scribner, $35)

Stephen King “has always had a soft spot for an America where men wore fedoras, drove Fords with big engines, and everyone could do the fox trot,” said Rob Merrill in the Associated Press. Take his latest novel. The title alludes to the date of John F. Kennedy’s assassination, which a diner owner in present-day Maine believes he can prevent because he’s privy to a time portal that takes him back to 1958. He’s used the portal to keep tabs on Lee Oswald and to buy ground beef at 1958 prices, but when he grows ill, he hands over his mission to the novel’s narrator, Jake. King’s “richly layered” tale proves to be full of characters “whose adventures in the fantastic are made plausible because they are anchored in reality,” said Jeff Greenfield in The Washington Post. Though the final outcome of Jake’s journey is too “casually rendered,” 11/22/63’s narrative power suggests that if a time traveler journeyed to the future to learn which of today’s authors were still being read, “King would be one of them.”

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