Hearts in Atlantis Paperback – 1999
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With his idiosyncratic blend of patrician airs and boyish charm, narrator William Hurt provides a wonderful complement to this wildly imaginative collection of short stories by author Stephen King. Hurt carefully weaves the disparate elements into a cohesive whole, embracing the subtle complexities of each character; one moment a wizened sadness leaks into his voice as a haunted old man, pursued by demons, asks his 11-year-old lookout, "You know everyone on this street, on this block of this street anyway? And you'd know strangers? Sojourners? Faces of those unknown?" Then, in a profound yet almost imperceptible switch, he exposes the boy's naive enthusiasm, "I think so." Right about here your neck hairs will stand at attention. Hurt's peculiar vocal style is in perfect pitch to King's dark, surreal vision of growing up amid the monsters of post-Vietnam America. (Running time: 21 hours, 16 cassettes) --George Laney --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
This collection of five thematically linked short stories dwells on the legacy of the 1960s. They share a collective moodiness, a feeling of depressed hangover coming after youth has been lost and the nation has suffered troubled times. Read aloud, this pungent atmosphere is especially strong. A-list actor Hurt stylishly performs the lengthy opener, "Low Men in Yellow Coats," in which 11-year-old Bobby Garfield falls under the spell of an older man his mother has taken in as a boarder (a father figure who introduces him first to literatureALord of the FliesAthen to supernatural phenomena). Hurt skillfully evokes pathos from the story's fine detailing: its sense of small-town place and Bobby's child's-eye-view of the evil characters around him. King reads the title story, "Hearts in Atlantis," about Maine college students who mindlessly play cards instead of studying while the Vietnam War rages in the background. The author's modest, reedy voice rings with autobiographical truthAas the protagonist is a young would-be writer, na?ve to the ways of the world. Taken together, at 21 hours' listening, however, King's shining moments too often give way to fatigue: the stories are repetitious, full of plot rehashings and meaningless asides. Also available on CD. Simultaneous release with the Scribner hardcover. (Sept.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
HEARTS is a series of stories that take place, respectively, in 1960, 1966, 1983, and two in 1999. All are loosely connected through characters we meet in the first, 11-year old Bobby Garfield and his best pals Sully-John and Carol, and one from the group of slightly older boys who torment them, Willie Shearman. Each of the storylines otherwise stands alone, more or less. In 1960, Bobby, a fatherless boy living with an uncaring mother, becomes attached to the world-wise Ted, an old man renting the rooms upstairs who is being hunted by sinister "low men in yellow coats". In 1966, new character Pete is on the verge of flunking out of the university because of his preoccupation with an addictive card game. More important to the book's overall plot, he falls in love with a fellow student, Carol from Story One, and through her discovers the anti-Vietnam peace movement. In 1983, Willie Shearman, a Vietnam veteran, continues to pay a bizarre penance for past sins, chief of which, apparently, was the wrong he did Carol as a boy. In 1999, emotionally and physically scarred Vietnam vet Sully-John remembers his time "in the green". Also in 1999, Carol and Bobby stumble across each other after leading separate lives for almost 40 years. The threads between all five plots are Carol and a beat-up old baseball glove once belonging to Bobby.
This is not one of King's more lucid works. Indeed, the Willie Shearman episode of 1983 needed much more explaining. (My reaction to it was just short of "Huh?!") However, a mediocre book by King is a gem by other standards, so it's impossible not to recommend it on some level.Read more ›
Hearts in Atlantis accomplishes the goal of what a novel should: it envelops the reader into a different world, a fantasmic place that seems to be real, forcing you to drop reality and live in this world. The related stories are all excellent, with my favorite being the first, "Low Men in Yellow Coats." I could see the world through the eyes of Bobby Garfield, and shared his experiences. The 60's came alive for me, a time occuring long before I was born, but taking on a new tangibility.
The title story was also great, a faithful display of college life (from what I've been through so far) taking place in the late 60's. A character study with an invigorating plot is more than I could have hoped for, and was pleasantly surprised.
The final story in Hearts in Atlantis, "Heavenly Shades of Night Are Falling" evoked such feelings of fulfillment and wonder as to make me unable to let go of this touching story. I recommend this book to everyone with the repeated warning that it's not, by nature, a horror novel. Simply put, it's a great story from the greatest storyteller of our time that shouldn't be missed.
Most recent customer reviews
A trip down to the 1960's in an Interesting interwoven four stories by Stephen King. The 60's was a time of lost innocence and Stephen King brings out his interpretation of this... Read morePublished on June 9 2014 by David Cavaco
One of the least "spooky" books by King. Anyone growing up in North America in the 60s or 70s can relate in some manner to the main theme of the book.Published on March 1 2014 by Charles
this book was one of the best books I ever read.D'ont you know that they made a movie out of the book? Read morePublished on March 1 2006 by Amazon Customer
this is one of my favourite stephen king books.
the story is by turns, spooky, heart-warming, heartbreaking & enraging,
stephen king knows how to get under the... Read more
I'm not a big thriller fan, and this is not a thriller. I want to read more king books because of this one.Published on July 14 2004
Everything who has read King knows his writing is flowing and easy to read. This book is NOT a horror story! Read morePublished on June 12 2004 by Purple Shades
This is one of Stephen King's TAKE ME AS A SERIOUS WRITER novels. During his prolific and supersonic career, King has given us some of the best "horror" novels of our... Read morePublished on June 8 2004 by Michael Butts