About 25 years ago I avidly read every Stephen King novel I cold find. I was spending six months in London, living in an upstairs room at a home in Chiswick (near Turnham Green). Weekdays I spent in a laboratory and weekends I did the tourist bit (most frequently at Kew Gardens). In the evenings, not having any friends in London, I read (unless Mastermind or Blackadder was on the telly). I read every Charles Dickens and Stephen King book I could find in the second-hand bookstores; I think "It" (1986) was the most recent book of his at the time.
Then I got back to the U.S., back to my regular work and life, and didn't have time for King's long novels any more.
Now I have to decide whether to dive back in. So, first I tried to find out something about the book. By coincidence, there was a Salon article this week praising King, including his recent work:
But that article was written in rebuttal of another Salon column deeply critical of the novel:
How is it possible that a novel as bloated and mediocre as 11/22/63 is can be deemed by the New York Times Book Review as one of the five best books of fiction of the year? Do we fear being labeled “elitist” or “liberal” if we don’t reward commercial success in other ways (as if an enormous advance and a river of royalties are not reward enough)? Or do we believe that commercial success on the King scale signifies, almost by definition, quality, the way a 20,000 square-foot house supposedly signifies to passersby that the owners must be important?What to do? This is a 800+ page book that would require 12-14 hours of reading. Because of its popularity, I can only have it out for two weeks and it's not renewable. I have three other books on my bedside table that I'm already trying to read.
So I'm turning to the readers of this blog, because TYWKIWDBI seems to have accumulated a lot of visitors with reasonably similar interests. I'm not seeking opinions on King's body of work in general, but rather just this book. If you've read it, please offer a two-sentence recommendation in the Comments.