Saturday, September 29, 2012

The King is Dead. Long live the King.

When a van hit Stephen King back in 1999 and nearly killed him, it created a ripple in the space-time continuum. In the alternate reality of Mr. King getting home from his walk safe and sound, we have a golden age of brilliant fiction from a seasoned writer in his August years. In the reality that we live in, however, we see a once-great word smith struggling to recapture the magic of his early work. Until now. With 11/22/63, my favorite blue-collar novelist has been born again. Hard. His characters have real blood surging in their veins, and King makes us care about them before reminding us that he is not afraid to spill that blood. His monsters are not of the supernatural variety that lurk under the bed and wait for us to turn out the light. They are the ones we see every day. The ones that have a few too many beers after a long day at the steel mill and come home angry and hit mommy. His heroes are just average guys and girls who could be monsters themselves if looked at in the right light.

This is a book about time travel. It is also a surprisingly moving love story. It has a satisfying ending that not only makes us contemplate the past, but presents a twisted, Faustian bargain to the hero: Would we destroy everything just to have what we want the most?

Ladies and gentlemen, the King is back. Long live the King.

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