Saturday, November 19, 2011

Shit That I Dig (November 19)

Nah, I'm not going to sit here and sing the praises of Kennedy today, but rather I'm going to sit here and sing the praises of Stephen King's latest book. I was more than a little skeptical about the premise of King's latest novel 11/22/63. It is a time travel book, which sounded pretty stupid to me when I initially read about the book. King's last book, Under the Dome was a crapfest of the highest order, so I was hesitant. I shouldn't have been. 11/22/63 is King's best book since Bag of Bones and quite frankly deserves to be held up with his better works. He is not dealing in horror here, although there are some nods to the genre, but rather the book seems to be a blend of his other period pieces (Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption, The Body, and The Green Mile come to mind) and his less grotesque Dark Tower books (think the underrated Hearts in Atlantis). King gets a bad rap. As a writer he is often ridiculed as the literary equivalent of junk food. Is he a literary artist that weaves his tales in prose that scrapes the sky with its abition? No, but his mantra has always been to serve the story. If he tortured over each word like Joyce, he'd only have put out about a third of his current output and probably not be appreciably better as a writer. Nah, I'll take King as he is because King's best works are Americana for the late 20th-early 21st centuries. 11/22/63 is an homage to a simpler time, a world that has gone by, but King doesn't whitewash the past. He shoves the reader's nose in the shortcomings and problems of the past while still longing for a simpler, purer life. And he does it all while trying to stop Lee Harvey Oswald, among others, from making the world a darker place. It's a great read. I highly recommend it.

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