Then, seemingly by chance, Jake Epping's friend, Al, who owns a diner, shows him a "wormhole" to the past that can be entered into and returned from several times. However, after each return, only two minutes have gone by, even though the time traveler can stay in the new place for five years.
But there is a downside, possibly a warning against traveling back and forth: after each return, there is a reset, and sometimes, the changes that unfold afterwards are not good ones.
Nevertheless, Jake decides to take a leap and try for the ultimate change: Preventing the assassination of JFK.
He does a couple of test runs, and then, on his third try, finds himself in various towns in Texas, keeping track of Lee Harvey Oswald. At some point, he ends up in Jodie, Texas, where unexpectedly he falls in love.
How will love alter the events that play out? Will the price of heroism be too high? And what, ultimately, will happen to the world afterwards?
11/22/63: A Novel was a totally engaging novel filled with enough facts to make the story seem all too real. I might have read it in one sitting if I'd managed to stave off the eye blurring and fatigue, since it was so hard to put down. Despite taking it on in bits and pieces when I could, the story flowed, showing such rich and enjoyable characters that felt real, like the first-person narrator Jake Epping, who became George Amberson in Mid-Century America. The fast-paced tale with its many twists and turns, and the somewhat startling conclusion, left me longing for a replay of a few parts. I wanted to travel back to the world inhabited so happily by these characters—between tense and suspenseful moments—before everything changed for them. I would luxuriate with them in the slow-moving, more innocent time that characterized the world before the computer age. As much as I love our technological advances, there is something to be said for those nostalgic times that King brought back to me in such vivid detail. Five stars!