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That One Cigarette

4.77  ·  Rating details ·  39 ratings  ·  21 reviews
That One Cigarette is a counterfactual history novel following four families, from November of 1963 to January of 2009. In November '63, Ed Callahan is an assistant manager at the Texas School Book Depository in Dallas. His promise to his wife to quit smoking as soon as he finishes the pack in his pocket ends up changing the course of events on November 22. The fallout of ...more
Hardcover, 361 pages
Published November 24th 2017 by Harvard Square Editions
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Nov 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
We’ve all thought about it, “What would happen if...?” Stu Krieger not only expands on one small “what if” in history, but he walks us through the lives of four families, separated by distance and culture over four decades and proves that anyone of us no matter how insignificant can alter the lives, history and events of the world around us. And it all began when one man needed that last cigarette on a day in November and his lighter was not in his pocket…and a President didn’t die.
Stu Krieger
Oct 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
I wrote the book so I'm thinking I might be a bit biased. :-) ...more
Kevin. McKernan
Jan 19, 2018 marked it as to-read
An interesting book to say the least
Dec 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Following multiple families over several generations, this is a demanding and ambitious novel that presents multiple narratives in an alternative history. The labyrinth of perspectives and viewpoints piqued my interest, but challenged my attention.

Keeping related characters together until the end and maintaining a straightforward, chronological timeline did make it easier to follow. Having finished That One Cigarette in 2 sittings, I found it difficult to keep all the different characters and t
Gabriele Cheng
Dec 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I'm at least a little bias because I'm a huge fan of speculative fiction and alternate history.

What surprised me most about That One Cigarette was that it wasn't calamitously dire or overly discordant. Let me explain what I mean. I think I might be jaded as consumer of stories. Or maybe I'm just conditioned by things like Game of Thrones to view every new event or encounter in a story as an opportunity for something to go horribly wrong for the characters. For example, when I was recently readin
Nov 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is that special kind of book you continue to think about long after you finish it. Some books are just really good stories, and others make you think. That One Cigarette is both. Beginning with the failed assassination attempt on JFK, it shows how the course of history can be changed in the most minute ways--in this case, with that one cigarette--so that everything that occurs afterwards happens in a world that looks like ours and could have been ours, but is not. Through the unfolding live ...more
Jan 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Krieger's briskly-paced novel carries the reader through a whirlwind of events, both real and imagined, pondering some of the great "what-ifs" of American and world history. Seen through the eyes of a myriad of characters, each succinctly and engagingly brought to life by Krieger's deft hand, THAT ONE CIGARETTE is a breathless glance into a world that might have been.

Of course, we can't go back and change history, but the profound message of this novel is that every day affords us the chance to
P Ventura
Dec 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Have you ever wondered what could have happened if an iconic day in history went another way? This book by Stu Krieger posits an answer that involves the lives of four very different families and how their futures were changed when an earthshaking event was thwarted by one cigarette. I became so engrossed in all of their stories that when the book ended I felt like I had moved out of a familiar neighborhood. If you have an interest in history, the human condition or alternate realities you will ...more
Bella Merlin
Nov 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a very alluring read. A detailed canvas of characters, all with their quirks and individualities, which drew me inextricably into their lives. As I journeyed through the decades with the key characters and their growing families, I became more and more intrigued by the idea of how history is shaped and whether or not we can really change the 'inevitables'. By the end of spending deep time with all these characters, I truly missed them when I reached the end. There's a haunting quality to ...more
Nov 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is an interesting read that makes you think - what if? One ordinary person can make a difference in history. But the novel is not just about one historical event but about ordinary people and the intertwining of their lives through time. Definitely pay attention to the characters, their names, and how they are related. You'll be glad you did. Even better would be taking this novel on vacation or on a long flight. Then you can read the book without having to put it down and that would make t ...more
Dec 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book because I was very invested in the characters. I was especially sucked in by the dramas of the family in Baghdad and so intrigued at how the author carefully weaved the various characters' stories together. It was fun and thought-provoking to see the surprising rhymes and meaningful coincidences in the lives of the characters, drawn against the backdrop of the shifting historical contexts. Solid characters, graceful and provocative prose, told with a sense of joy and a ...more
Nov 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
As a fellow "Stu" and a lifelong fan of Stu Krieger's movies, I was excited to hear his first book was in the works. And I'm happy to report it does not disappoint. Gripping, exciting, wonderful characters, and a wonderful journey that rewards the careful reader. Dive in head first and enjoy the ride! ...more
Craig Strong
Dec 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a terrific book with great engaging characters. It's a "what if" book. What would happen if Kennedy was not assasinated. We follow four families from 1963 to 2009. We share their joys and challenges. The characters are all vividly realized. Highly recommended. ...more
Lorrie Sterling
Sep 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent Read

Really enjoyed this book following several families thru a few generations. And very significant how One Cigarette changed the entire course of the world. All came together nicely at the end.
Daniel Patinkin
Dec 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A thoughtful, nuanced spider web of human experience. This was clearly a labor of love for Krieger, whose attention to detail and devotion to truth are marvels. A robust read spanning decades of American history and culture.
Aug 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Enjoyable and well written. An imaginative alternative history about the large consequences of small actions.
Julie Siemek
Jan 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is one fantastic book! It really makes you stop and think about how our world would be today if JFK had lived. I recommend that everyone read That One Cigarette.
Nov 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Take notes the first four chapters on who’s who, and you’ll be well prepared to enjoy a thoroughly researched tale that shows how choices made by ordinary people can change the course of history.
Dec 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Reading this is like binge-watching 5 seasons of a great show. But you feel better in the end and you've probably burned more calories. ...more
Lee Constantine
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Dec 05, 2017
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Stu Krieger is an acclaimed screen and television writer making his debut as a novelist with That One Cigarette. He is currently a professor of screen and television writing in the University of California, Riverside’s Department of Theatre, Film & Digital Production and in the Creative Writing for the Performing Arts MFA Program at UCR. Each fall, he also teaches the Producing the Screenplay clas ...more

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