Reading the review of 11.22.63 incited an instant desire to get a hold onto this book. And who can blame me? Any story related to time traveling must have the same kind of effect on everyone, or at the very least, most. And not simply time traveling. But traveling back to time to change a particular incident. An incident that is claimed to be one that changed the course of history. Well, at least, the book cover said so. The incident is that of the assassination of the 35th President of the United States of America, John Fitzgerald Kennedy.
Most of my friends don’t read Stephen King. They find his books of the boring kind. And slowly and gradually I have come to believe that I am the only person (at least in my age group) in this country who craves for Stephen King books and the world they take the readers into. And, therefore, I had lost the hope of ever finding this book in Pakistan. But while trying to get my hands on Cloud Atlas, I found this novel in Liberty and almost shouted out loud, took it off, almost hugged it and kept it close till I browsed other books. And the decision to buy this book is not one I regret.
Jake Epping, the main character of this novel, the unsung hero, is a high school teacher, who never in his wildest dreams would have thought to be able to travel back in time and stay there. Imagine his surprise, when all of a sudden he found himself entrusted with the responsibility to save Kennedy and, thereafter, the world.
Every author writing about time travelling does something different with it. Some writers go on and explain the theory of time travelling. Answering questions like how it can be done. While others don’t hassle with the details of time machine and go on with their business. The change Stephen King brought in was that a person can travel back to only one point in time. Not before it, not after it. Only one particular date and one particular time. One particular moment. And no it is not the exact moment of assassination. Rather five years before it.
The rest of the theory goes on the same way. The butterfly effect and all. If you have read enough novels and watched enough movies on time travelling then you know what I am talking about.
The interesting thing is, that every time you go back to your own timeline and then come back again, everything goes back to the same way it was before. It is a complete reset. Any changes that you made in the past are erased.
It’s really un-put-down-able book. I loved it from the very first page till the very last. It’s one of those books that grab your attention from the first sentence and keeps you hooked till the last one. All along you’ll keep wondering whether Jake will be able to stop the assassination or not. Knowing at the same time that it won’t be any use to write a 740 page novel for the assassination to happen anyway. And then wondering what will the world be portrayed as if JFK survives. And all at the same time, enjoying the book, hanging on to every word and relishing every scene described.
It’s been a long time since I have loved a book this much, since I have so completely engrossed myself in a book, while constantly narrating everyone who’s willing to listen about the storyline. Telling everyone how much I like the book.
Following are some lines that I loved in this book. Ones I read and re-read.
Do I know what people say? Sure. I shrug it off. What else can you do? Stop people from talking? You might as well try to stop the wind from blowing.
Home is watching the moon rise over the open, sleeping land and having someone you can call to the window, so you can look together. Home is where you dance with others, and dancing is life.
Life turns on a dime.
The crazy people of the world.. shouldn’t get to win.
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 dream clock 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.
Little by slowly.
The past is obdurate.