x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Stephen King: 11.22.63

Stephen King's latest offering, a heartbreaking and ennobling story set around the assasination of the US President John F Kennedy, ranks among his finest.

At his best - and he is at his best in 11.22.63 - Stephen King makes the implausible seem plausible. He so skilfully uses the tools in his storytelling kit - authentic dialogue, fully drawn characters, breakneck plotting, all-too-human motivation and, in this case, research like never before - that no willing suspension of disbelief is required. One is captivated, and turns page after page.

As the title indicates, the subject here is the November 22, 1963, assassination of the US President John F Kennedy. Taking considerable risk, King deploys the hackneyed device of time travel, along with the "butterfly effect" consequences of any act that changes history. His hero - Jake Epping in present-day New England and George Amberson in the 1950s and 1960s - sets out to kill Lee Harvey Oswald before the troubled loner can fire his rifle from the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository in Dallas. The complex weave of friendship, love, villainy and history that develops over 726 pages is at once heartbreaking and ennobling. It ranks with The Stand, Misery and the seven Dark Tower novels as among King's finest.