©1999 Stephen King, All Rights Reserved, (P)1999 Simon & Schuster Inc., All Rights Reserved
"We now know what Stephen King, the master of horror, is afraid of. The Vietnam War...scares him so bad he won't let his hero act imprudently." (The New York Times)
"...Hurt skillfully evokes pathos from the story's fine detailing...." (Publishers Weekly)
I've listened to hundreds of recorded books over past twenty years. This is my favorite. I was never much of a Stephen King fan. This changed that. I am, however, a huge admirer of actor (and reader) William Hurt. As far as I know, this is only recorded book he's performed.
The book starts with "last summer" of young boy's childhood in the late 1950's. And Hurt's reading of every boy, girl, lonely parent, friend, scumbag and guardian angel is absolutely real. Stephen King also reads a central portion of book and he's just fine - Funny as hell in fact, when recounting "his" college years in the 60's and amazingly touching - when reading the chapter about Vietnam Vet/Street Beggar 'Blind Willy'.
It's not horror, not really fantasy - although there's a supernatural thread that runs through the story, which took me a little off-guard when it first appeared, but I completely got caught up in. It's one of many layers in this amazingly well written and performed book. They should all be this good.
I have read or listened to most all of Stephen Kings work. This is the only audio book that I have listened to multiple times. (Five times now.) William Hurt's reading performance is what brings me back again and again. Without a doubt, the best narration I have heard! He brings the story to life! Thank You Mr. King..........Bravo William Hurt!
While this is not one of King's horror books, it is truly him at his best! The book is thoroughly interesting, the characters well-developed and thought-provoking. At first the 5 separate stories don't seem related, but they are all pulled together by having at least one or two characters in common. The book made me wonder what exactly happened in Vietnam... what life was like for those growing up in the 60s and 70s... I really couldn't put the book down and listened even when my mom came to visit!
I haven't read much Steven King as horror isn't really my genre, but I so thoroughly enjoyed On Writing that I picked this up on a whim - and it is one of the most enjoyable listening experiences I've had. William Hurt's performance is fantastic, the stories a gentle melange of nostalgia, fantasy, history and horror. It enveloped me so much I sat in my driveway for the last hour. If you haven't experienced any Steven King before, forget what you think you know about him and pick this up. I'd recommend this title to anyone and everyone who loves a great story.
I've been an audible listener for 5 years. This is still the best book I've ever heard. It sticks with me. I loved it. I'll probably listen to it again.
This is among the best Stephen King books, in my opinion. A fairly sublime blend of magic and melancholy, its an exploration of the 1960s through several intertwining stories with a sort of lyrical sci-fi touch that doesn't disrupt its seriousness (it lightly brushes against the Dark Tower series). Theres a sort of nostalgia and pathos here that you'll remember long afterwards. The movie only covers about 20 % of this. HIGHLY recommend. Not horror, FYI.
My husband happened to rent this movie and after I saw it I had to hear the book. A lot of people didn't like William Hurt's narration but I loved it. The tones and inflections were just right. The story is awesome. A great listen!
This was one of the better audible books I have listened to. Stephen King knows how to tell gripping sotries and in this book you have multiple ones that all coincide. It is a difference of night and day to the movie and to listen to this tale unfold is to listed to different eras of life and the the songs, stlyes and memories of the people who lived them. I would recommend this audible book to anyone. The music, while strange at first, makes a lot of sense and adds to the story line as it progresses.
This book is pretty typical of other King Books like Four Seasons, or the Green Mile. So if you're a fan of those, you'll be a fan of this.
Story-wise this book is enjoyable, and becomes even more so as the book progresses, I particularly liked the college section, from which the book derives its title.
The only reason this book recieved four stars instead of five, is for a few technical reasons. The first section of the book is read by a voice actor whom I found to be uninteresting. Very monotone and hard to follow at times. The other distracting part in this cut: the producers of this audio book played music in between each chapter. This was extremely annoying. Often the music playing didn't even capture the tone of the book at that particular time.
All in all, my recomendation is to give the sample a listen, before you commit to downloading it. If you're a King fan (especially a fan of his Dark Tower series) youll like the book. Just make sure first you can stand the voice of the actor reading for the first part of the book. (The middle section atleast is read by Stephen King himself)
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