Saturday, November 12, 2011

treading on my heros' shadow

Firstly, you should know that I'm an avid Stephen King fan.
I cried when I found out that I'd just missed out on being in the same city as him a couple of years ago (true. Embarrassing, but true) and that I have all of his books and in fact, have read several of them to pieces.

For me to say that I'm not completely rapt in his latest book is tantamount to heresy, for me.

So let me explain.

11.22.63 explores the possibility that someone could travel back in time and stop the assassination of JFK. Which, if you know anything at all about politics, would change the world we live in now and affect millions of people.

The idea is intriguing.

Stephen Kings' masterful storytelling is -- well, masterful. He has a wonderful sense of character, able to draw a picture of someone in a few words.

He doesn't fall into the trap of depicting the past with a rosy tint, describing segregation in a way that's a bit of a slap in the face for this generation -- hard to believe that those things could have been not only accepted, but normal.

And I AM enjoying the story. (about halfway through)


The 'set-up' seemed clumsy. I was reminded constantly that it is, in fact, the set-up, the vehicle that drives the plot. It felt laboured, which for SK is almost unheard of.

He briefly mentions characters from another novel -- one which I've read many, many times -- and uses the wrong Christian name for one, and places anothers' body in the wrong spot.
These breaks in continuity COULD have been as a result of previous time travels or alternate universes or some other plot device, but they feel like mistakes.

I feel awful even writing this. I'm a nothing no-one blogger, no literary genius or even respected reviewer. What I am is a fan. (NOT the Number One Fan, though! God forbid!) And long time fans develop a sense of right and wrong.

And parts of this book feel wrong.

Maybe on the second read-through I'll feel differently. Because, yes, there will be a second (and a third) read through.
It's not THAT wrong!


  1. I'm afraid that since SK had me nervously peering behind my blinds in search of hieous clowns and grotesque faces, I am not a fan.
    You, however, are certainly in the know.
    Enjoy - all three or so reads.

  2. I love Stephen King too.
    I haven't read the new book yet. I have issues with the idea of people going back in time and changing history, because even if the person is bouncing around through time, time itself is going in a straight line. So if I'm going back to 1963 for the first time I should just be able to do whatever I do and not change a thing, because while, from my point of view I've never been there before, as far as every day since that day in '63 is concerned I've already been there and done everything I'm going to do.
    This long and rambling comment really has nothing to do with Stephen King, so I'll add this: Right up until the end, I hoped that the Dark Tower would turn out to be a manifestation of the hotel in The Talisman, and I was a little disappointed when that didn't happen.

  3. heh I sort of get what you were saying.
    And I haven't read further than Book One of the Dark Tower series, because I don't have them all yet.

  4. I've been a Stephen King fan for ages. I didn't like "It" and Christine scared me for some reason I can't remember, but I haven't read any of his books for a long time. I probably won't read this new one, but I should make another start at the Dark Tower series. I didn't get through it last time.

  5. He's intense. Maybe try to look at the story from a different angle...

  6. It isn't the story that's the problem though -- it's the breaks in continuity. When you know the other novel almost by heart, it's annoying to stumble over mistakes.


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