Read 11/22/63: A Novel Online

Authors: Stephen King

Tags: #Fiction, #Horror, #Alternative History

11/22/63: A Novel

BOOK: 11/22/63: A Novel
5.77Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

Thank you for purchasing this Scribner eBook.

Sign up for our newsletter and receive special offers, access to bonus content, and info on the latest new releases and other great eBooks from Scribner and Simon & Schuster.

or visit us online to sign up at

A Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.
1230 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10020

This book is a work of fiction. Any references to historical events, real people, or real
locales are used fictitiously. Other names, characters, places, and incidents are products
of the author's imagination, and any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons,
living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

Copyright © 2011 by Stephen King

All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book or portions thereof
in any form whatsoever. For information address Scribner Subsidiary Rights Department,
1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020.

First Scribner hardcover edition November 2011

SCRIBNER and design are registered trademarks of The Gale Group, Inc.
used under license by Simon & Schuster, Inc., the publisher of this work.

The Simon & Schuster Speakers Bureau can bring authors to your live event.
For more information or to book an event, contact the Simon & Schuster Speakers Bureau
at 1-866-248-3049 or visit our website at


Manufactured in the United States of America

1 3 5 7 9 10 8 6 4 2

Library of Congress Control Number: 2011025874

ISBN 978-1-4516-2728-2 (print)
ISBN 978-1-4516-2730-5 (eBook)

Image credits: pages ix, 7, 351 (left), and 575: Getty; page 97: courtesy of the Lisbon
Historical Society (special thanks to Russ Dorr for research); pages 223 and 749: Corbis;
page 351 (right): courtesy of Steven Meyers and Bob Rowen.

Lyrics from the song “Honky Tonk Women” are used with permission. Words and Music
85 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10003. All Rights Reserved. Used by Permission of

For Zelda

Hey, honey, welcome to the party.

It is virtually not assimilable to our reason that a small lonely man felled a giant in the midst of his limousines, his legions, his throng, and his security. If such a nonentity destroyed the leader of the most powerful nation on earth, then a world of disproportion engulfs us, and we live in a universe that is absurd.

—Norman Mailer

If there is love, smallpox scars are as pretty as dimples.

—Japanese proverb

Dancing is life.


Watershed Moment

The Janitor’s Father

Living in the Past

Sadie and the General


The Green Card Man


I have never been what you’d call a crying man.

My ex-wife said that my “nonexistent emotional gradient” was the main reason she was leaving me (as if the guy she met in her AA meetings was beside the point). Christy said she supposed she could forgive me not crying at her father’s funeral; I had only known him for six years and couldn’t understand what a wonderful, giving man he had been (a Mustang convertible as a high school graduation present, for instance). But then, when I didn’t cry at my own parents’ funerals—they died just two years apart, Dad of stomach cancer and Mom of a thunderclap heart attack while walking on a Florida beach—she began to understand the nonexistent gradient thing. I was “unable to feel my feelings,” in AA-speak.

“I have
seen you shed tears,” she said, speaking in the flat tones people use when they are expressing the absolute final deal-breaker in a relationship. “Even when you told me I had to go to rehab or you were leaving.” This conversation happened about six weeks before she packed her things, drove them across town, and moved in with Mel Thompson. “Boy meets girl on the AA campus”—that’s another saying they have in those meetings.

I didn’t cry when I saw her off. I didn’t cry when I went back inside the little house with the great big mortgage, either. The house where no baby had come, or now ever would. I just lay down on the bed that now belonged to me alone, and put my arm over my eyes, and mourned.


But I’m not emotionally blocked. Christy was wrong about that. One day when I was nine, my mother met me at the door when I came home from school. She told me my collie, Rags, had been struck and killed by a truck that hadn’t even bothered to stop. I didn’t cry when we buried him, although my dad told me nobody would think less of me if I did, but I cried when she told me. Partly because it was my first experience of death; mostly because it had been my responsibility to make sure he was safely penned up in our backyard.

And I cried when Mom’s doctor called me and told me what had happened that day on the beach. “I’m sorry, but there was no chance,” he said. “Sometimes it’s very sudden, and doctors tend to see that as a blessing.”

Christy wasn’t there—she had to stay late at school that day and meet with a mother who had questions about her son’s last report card—but I cried, all right. I went into our little laundry room and took a dirty sheet out of the basket and cried into that. Not for long, but the tears came. I could have told her about them later, but I didn’t see the point, partly because she would have thought I was pity-fishing (that’s not an AA term, but maybe it should be), and partly because I don’t think the ability to bust out bawling pretty much on cue should be a requirement for successful marriage.

BOOK: 11/22/63: A Novel
5.77Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

Other books

Haunted by Alma Alexander
Snow Angel Cove (Hqn) by RaeAnne Thayne
Jaws of Darkness by Harry Turtledove
Roar and Liv by Veronica Rossi
Love Lies by Adele Parks
Beauty and the Earl by Jess Michaels
Stealing Freedom by Elisa Carbone