Recently a colleague at my place of employment said to me that it was her intention to read a lot more of the books by Stephen King as she loved a good horror story. To designate Mr King as simply a horror writer is a gross injustice to perhaps one of the greatest if not the greatest literary talent to have emerged in the last 50 years. There is no author more emotive or has a greater understanding of the human condition, there is no author that can take a story any story and create a work of such sheer beauty and brilliance. It had always been my intention to read 11.22.63 and but I kept postponing as this is not a short story and at 740 pages (hardback version) I wanted to ensure that once started I would complete.....I need not have worried as once started I found it impossible not to continue reading.
Jake Epping has found a door to the past, a timeline that he can travel to and perhaps by doing so change the course of history and in particular the events of 11.22.63 in Dallas Texas...events that shocked generations and had repercussions for and beyond the lone star state. The central question posed is quite simply if you had the opportunity to alter the course of history would you act on that opportunity and if you did what would be the repercussions? The author vividly portrays an America of the late 50's early 60's that is at once homely and welcoming; the town of Jodie with its home spun philosophy and welcoming smile and none more enticing or exciting than Sadie Dunhill. Against this background is the degenerate L H Oswald, his life of hate and deceit and his destiny with an event and time in history. One particular social event celebrating the partnership of Jake and Sadie expertly paints a picture of the good and bad and the fears and horror that surround us...."For a moment everything was clear, and when that happens you see that the world is barely there at all. Don't we all secretly know this? It's a perfectly balanced mechanism of shouts and echoes pretending to be wheels and cogs, a dreamclock chiming beneath a mystery-glass we call life. Behind it? Below it and around it? Chaos, storms. Men with hammers, men with knives, men with guns. Women who twist what they cannot dominate and belittle what they cannot understand. A universe of horror and loss surrounding a single lighted stage where mortals dance in defiance of the dark."
If I was to suggest to you a book that might alter your complete attitude to reading and form the basis of a philosophy of life then 11.22.63 would be that choice. I kid you not. Not only is this a brilliant and exciting story about a race to stop one terrible event in history but more than that it is story about what we as humans hold to be true and valuable in this short life we live. The closing scene is one of the greatest I have ever read and perhaps one of the most memorable that Stephen King has written. Highly recommended!