it's that rare unicorn, the millionaire author, and at 65 years of age, presumably Stephen King has no problem pricing his 2011 master's piece, (rather than masterpiece) at a liberal 3.99.
[just a little word game here. a masterpiece, specifically, is a work an apprentice completes to demonstrate mastery of his craft. so, technically, 11/22/63 is a master's piece rather than a masterpiece]
399 pennies for 823 pages: in short, 0.5 cents/page. maybe one of the cheapest ebooks out there.
[when I saw this book for the first time, was mildly amazed... ebook purchasing/ebook reading, didn't really communicate, what a tome!!!]
this sort of beginning, of course, brings up the question of whether pricing should influence rating. well... maybe a bit. if we allowed pricing to purely influence rating, then we have to be pretty skeptical of the [a:David Markson|10747|David Markson|http://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1238041034p2/10747.jpg]s of the world, producing their author-of-author works, avant garde claptrap, whatever you call it, at 155 pages for $15. but going to the other extreme, then presumably Stephen King deserves four stars for this for his "public service" in creating an 800 page tome that now travels to readers in all corners of the world: prisoners, sailors, submarine crewmen, etc etc etc, courtesy of the wireless delivery system or whispernet or internet purchase device, and thus giving five or six hours of escapism at a price that can't be beat.
hey it's stephen king. it's decent. it's not world-shaking.
before looking more closely at 11/22/63, the question becomes, presumably, why is Stephen King doing this? well... with just a few years' of life expectancy left, (although rich people do live longer), presumably King wants to influence the national discourse. (guess #1). by that standard, he's succeeded; goodreads is recording 87,000 reads plus another 12,000 reviews--a high review-to-rating ratio revealing he's captured the national imagination.
but aside from this issue, has King added anything to the baby boomer's experience; the american experience, the 2013 experience? well.. that is a tougher question. the Kennedy assassination has been examined, by Norman Mailer and Don DeLillo. time travel paradoxes have been explored. horror has been developed... perhaps most effectively by King. so in the end, there's one nick against King, in that 11/22/63 doesn't meaningfully develop any of the above three areas, against which one argues, a) masterful begining, b) twists of plots, c) stylistic skill.
this leads to (guess #2), King is seriously attempting to grapple with questions of fate/time/history.
well... this is a different animal. with regard to this challenge, unfortunately the earlier parts of the book succeeded in classic King style of messing with one's head; examining notions of causation... but then that sputtered out.
*if i go back in time, that messes up related matters, but never distant?
*the world has been described as fully absurd or any partly so?
*baby-boomers have distinct ideas about what is The Most Important Postwar Historical Event and gen x'ers say back?
*all of the above?
so all things considered 3/5, and more of King's work definitely hoped to be explored. I want to read cujo. i want to read carrie... shining. feel like a kid at a candy store.
but as for 11/22/63.
well... let's just say, babyboomers have their works that are written just for them. how about us generation y'ers? well... not SO magical this work... just a tome... competently written. i wasn't alive during kennedy, so how can this book have the same magic?
Don DeLillo--libra... may ruined this one for me.