Today, Stephen King and his publishers announced that his next novel will be titled 11/22/63... and yes, that date does mean what you think it means. The book summary released on StephenKing.com begins as follows:
On November 22, 1963, three shots rang out in Dallas,
President Kennedy died, and the world changed.
If you had the chance to change history, would you?
Would the consequences be worth it?
Jake Epping is a thirty-five-year-old high school English teacher in Lisbon Falls, Maine, who makes extra money teaching adults in the GED program. He receives an essay from one of the students—a gruesome, harrowing first person story about the night 50 years ago when Harry Dunning’s father came home and killed his mother, his sister, and his brother with a hammer. Harry escaped with a smashed leg, as evidenced by his crooked walk.
Not much later, Jake’s friend Al, who runs the local diner, divulges a secret: his storeroom is a portal to 1958. He enlists Jake on an insane—and insanely possible—mission to try to prevent the Kennedy assassination. So begins Jake’s new life as George Amberson and his new world of Elvis and JFK, of big American cars and sock hops, of a troubled loner named Lee Harvey Oswald and a beautiful high school librarian named Sadie Dunhill, who becomes the love of Jake’s life—a life that transgresses all the normal rules of time.
According to EW.com, among other sources, 11/22/63 will be another “1,000 page tour-de-force,” following the similarly hefty Under the Dome. Given that Under the Dome was one of my favorite King novels in years, I’m plenty excited for this next tome; actually, this concept seems like it would more obviously support the length. On the other hand, it also has shades of King’s classic The Dead Zone, which also told an ambitious tale involving presidential assassination, and did just fine with the standard 400 pages or so.
As for questions raised by this announcement, I’m having a little bit of trouble figuring out the relevance of the first paragraph in the summary—is Harry Dunning’s father going to play a villain’s role?
Anyway, what do you think? Ready for another King epic?
Joshua Starr’s storeroom is mostly a portal to old board games.