Doomed to Repeat

Stephen King hunts the past in a time-travel thriller

Tanner Curtis for TIME

Culture, Books. Stephen King 11/22/63.

Late in the dead zone, Stephen King's 1979 novel about a man who can see the future, the main character asks, "If you could jump into a time machine and go back to 1932, would you kill Hitler?" It's one of speculative fiction's great hypotheticals. It's also a scenario that King would be poorly equipped to write: over a four-decade career, his comfort zone has always been the culture and vernacular of blue collar, small-town America. So instead of World War II, King has chosen a particularly American obsession--the JFK assassination--for his first foray into time-machine historical fiction.

In King's engrossing...

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