Stephen King’s Next Novel, 11/22/63, Asks What If You Could Stop JFK’s Assassination?


America’s master of the macabre, Stephen King, takes on a momentous moment in American history in his next novel: the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy. The book, set for release in November, has the simple title 11/22/63 and a premise that may catch King fans by surprise: “On November 22, 1963, three shots rang out in Dallas, President Kennedy died, and the world changed. What if you could change it back? Stephen King’s heart-stoppingly dramatic new novel is about a man who travels back in time to prevent the JFK assassination,” reads the teaser on Simon & Schuster’s website.

Of course, this is King, so it’s not all history and politics. The main character, of course, coms from Maine, and the trip back in time? Classic King. The storeroom of a greasy spoon:

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.

The book, which was announced Wednesday, won’t be a quick read at 1,000 pages:

Chuck Verrill, whose company have the American rights, said: “The novel is big, ambitious and haunting. King has probably absorbed the social, political and popular culture of his American generation as thoroughly and imaginatively as any other writer.”

Learn more about the book here.

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