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Hearts in Atlantis Paperback – 1999

4.1 out of 5 stars 535 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: HODDER & STOUGHTON LTD (1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0340751258
  • ISBN-13: 978-0340751251
  • Product Dimensions: 15.4 x 23.1 x 4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 762 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars 535 customer reviews
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Product Description

From Amazon

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

Format: Mass Market Paperback
This review will be short and sweet: I loved this book. I loved this book so much that I refused to see the film adaptation with Anthony Hopkins out of love for the words and not to be betrayed by the screen. It is absolutely brilliant. I have been reading Stephen King since the 8th Grade with Salem's Lot and this is by far, the absolute best that he has written. I finished this and Bag of Bones back-to-back and I honestly believe King is writing the best he ever has. Beautiful. Poignant. When the boy received the flower petals in the mail, it nearly brought me to my knees. I was truly, truly sorry when I finished it. I just wanted it to go on and on.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Bravo Mr.King! I believe one of the reasons Stephen King novels enjoy such phenomenal success lies in the authors ability to put the reader into the scene wholeheartedly. He has lived such a life as to be a common man with uncommon talents. In HEARTS IN ATLANTIS we move from a tough-times 1950's (and remember those are the supposed 'good old days') to the gritty, over-idealized 1960's and beyond into the confusion of the media event laden decades to follow. King never loses his focus on what the book is about. I loved the first part of the book as a DARK TOWER fan because SK seems to tease us a lot lately with tid-bits and innuendo. Note to other DT fans, see INSOMNIA. His revels in 60's Maine on the University campus are priceless looks into what feels like an autobiographical whimsey. There are some genuinely crazy characters in this work. Mr. King's characters seem never to come to a resolution with their ghosts-of-the-past, but it is important to note that most always they reach a living agreement with them. Thanks for another glimpse of the gunslinger, and the rose petals from the field at End World. HEARTS IN ATLANTIS is a multi-faceted work, and every face shines from within. Highly recommended.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
At a time when the vanishing World War II generation is paid tribute through books and films, HEARTS IN ATLANTIS is Stephen King's homage to his (and mine), the Vietnam generation.
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.
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Format: Hardcover
I'm not going to make this review very long, it would be tedious in that while scrolling through the other reviews, it would seem that everyone who didn't love the book seemed confused that it wasn't horror. With Stephen King being my favorite author, of course I'm partially biased to like nearly everything he writes, but to prove that I'm not, I found Rose Madder to be completely boring.
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.
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