Stephen King’s latest novel, 11/22/63, is so entertaining from start to finish that even with 850 pages, it can be a quick read. The story is told from the perspective of Jake Epping, a recently divorced high school English teacher. Jake is introduced by his friend to a time portal that leads from Lisbon Falls, Maine in 2011 to September 9, 1958. He also learns the rules of time travel. You can visit the past for as long as you like but when you return to the present it's always exactly two minutes later. Every subsequent visit is a "reset." You can change the past and consequently the present, but as Jake learns, the past is obdurate. It resists.
Jake sets out on a mission to stop the assassination of John F. Kennedy on 11/22/63. Because he enters the past in 1958, much of the story centers on the life he creates for himself while simultaneously preparing for the big day. He is always conscious of the butterfly effect – even his seemingly smallest actions could have major consequences for the future. This is a love story with vivid, unforgettable characters that is often very suspenseful. I enjoyed Stephen King’s creativity and thought provoking concepts. Consider this quote: “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. . . . A universe of horror and loss surrounding a single lighted stage where mortals dance in defiance of the dark.” Hmmm…