©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)
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 is one of the finest books I've ever heard. Absolute brilliant and emotional storytelling. This is King at his finest.
It was also great, when later reading the Dark Tower series, to be able to connect some of the characters in here to the overall "Big Picture."
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)
I am brutally honest. Popular, love everything they read, reviewers are scared to go neg. and risk their ranking. It's your money!!!
THE LESS YOU KNOW, THE MORE YOU CAN BELIEVE
This book is two novellas and three short stories. It starts with LOW MEN IN YELLOW COATS. This is one of the best books, stories, novellas that King has ever written. I believe King is best when writing about young boys. Bobby is eleven, which is a golden age for most males. Young enough to still play with cars, have a slight interest in girls without the knowledge of sex, but old enough to start wondering about the future and his place in it. The character development of Bobby in this first novella is excellent and King's writing puts you in 1960 and Bobby's head. 1960,a time when people rode the BIG GREY DOG and just before Americans lost their virginity as a nation. Just before the Vietnam War and the turmoil that would change America forever.
In LOW MEN IN YELLOW COATS, King's imagination goes extreme, but builds up slowly. There are references to THE CRIMSON KING, THE REGULATORS, GUNSLINGER, BREAKERS and THE DARK TOWER. At first it seems like this is a story about a child growing up in the 60's with no weirdness, but slowly things start to change. King takes some of the mundane and turns it paranoid. You will wonder about lost pet signs, hopscotch, things hanging in power lines, and anything that seems normal at first, but maybe just a little different. I will repeat what I have said in many King reviews, King writes about people and the human condition and covers it up with horror to attract the reader. You think you are reading horror, but you are really reading about real people and their daily struggles.
CHICKEN SOUPY IN THE HEAD
The first novella is about 10 hours long, so the size of a regular novel. This alone makes the book worth reading. The next novella and shorts stories are totally different and may not even seem to fit. I believe King put these together to show where we were and how we changed and the expectations we had as a young nation. This is only my opinion. Many will wonder why these are together, as they are weakly connected and so different from the first story. The whole mood changes and there are no more low men in the rest of the stories. I enjoyed the second novella, Hearts in Atlanta. I was born in 1958 and am just a little young for this generation. I was of the age where I got to watch our nation change, but not really old enough to understand and be involved. I have a sister four years older then me and she was part of it. Everyone I know who was a teenager in the mid to late sixties was affected by those times. It was the time of the Sexual Revolution and a time when we first started questioning our government and the American way of living. King takes us through those times as college students. When it was first starting, even to the origin of the Peace Symbol. I love to play cards and Hearts is a great game. I can easily see how these students get distracted from their studies for a stupid thing like playing cards. Teachers were under additional strain, knowing that if they flunked a kid, the next year that kid would probably end up in a jungle in Vietnam. It was a truly exciting, but scary time. HEARTS IN ATLANTIS, is not like the first story, but I felt a great read anyway.
LIFE WASN'T FAIR
The next short stories are, Blind Willie, Why We're in Vietnam, and Heavenly Shades of Night Are Falling. Blind Willie is a five star read, but not even close to the first two novellas. I would give Low Men about seven stars. If you find you did not enjoy Hearts in Atlantis, then you are really not going to like these stories. You have already gotten your monies worth, so you may want to stop here. For me the last two stories were worth only four stars, but I can see how many would not like them at all. I also feel the younger generation might not be able to relate.
LORD OF THE FLIES
William Hurt narrates Low Men and one of the other stories. He is fantastic and also a big star from those times. Stephen King Narrates Hearts and two of the other stories. He talks out of his nose, but is still great to listen to. He is one of the few writers who can narrate his own work, putting a personal touch to the story.
The Prisoner was one of the best shows ever on TV.
This is the most amazing book. Stephen King is brillant and at his best in this wonderful and amazing story. The movie was good, but it was only one part of this book. The other parts relate to the first, but in a strange and moving way. I could listen to this book a hundred times and never tire of it. The first part is read by William Hurt--amazing narrator! He is so perfect for the first story about the kids. Then you are jarred out of his reading by Stephen King reading the second part. His voice matches the weird and crazy events in the second part. Hurt again reads the third part, and you are relieved to have this story and his soothing voice again. brilliantly crafted writing and narration. I love this book!
William Hurt's reading of this novel is absolutely beautiful. Not all narrators of audiobooks are capable of bringing so much emotion, and life to the book's characters as Mr. Hurt. In addition, Stephen King narrates as well. King is probably my favorite narrator of his books. This is exemplified in his reading of Bag of Bones. In the beginning King's voice seems somewhat tight, but after an hour he finds his groove and the result swallows the listener until the end. In Hearts in Atlantis, William Hurt's acting talents bring the characters to life. His cadence and understanding of the of the words, and how they should be read result, in a very engaging, and emotional story.
Additionally, anyone who is a fan of The Gunslinger series will feel right at home with this one. As with most of King's books, reading The Gunslinger first will give the reader much of insight into most of King's other books (and King's universe). It is no different with this one. Without spoiling the story, I will just say that this book tells of a character from Rowland's world, and how he went "on vacation".
Any fan of Stephen King needs to read this book. I am often guilty of reading a book's synopsis, and deciding that "I'll pass on this one because it just doesn't sound intriguing enough". In these cases that is a sure sign to indeed read the book. Quite often it is these books that hold your attention most, and give the most in return for your time (Insomnia).
In short, give ALL of King's books a chance. They do not disappoint.
I initially thought the music was a distraction but after the first couple of chapters I found that it added to the effect of the story and was a good addition.
I thought William Hurt did an excellent job reading and found Stephen Kings readings to be just outstanding.
I have been a long time King fan (since the early 80's and have found having the books read to me even though I am somewhat familiar with the story only adds to the experience.
Awesome story Highly reccomended.
I read this book when it was first released, and decided to rediscover it mainly due to it's connection to The Dark Tower. (which I am also re-discovering through audio.)
The story was not very memorable when I read it on paper, but William Hurt's reading has completely brought it into a new perspective for me. I am absolutely enjoying the hell out of this audio book! It is coming to life in a way that the printed version never did for me. Perhaps it's partially because I'm several years older, but I think it's mainly due to the emotion, the vitality and the CONVICTION with which the story is being read. It captures the weariness of Ted Brautigan, the desperate selfishness of Liz Garfield, and the wonder of life as seen from Bobby's eyes. Fantastic.
I hope that many more of Stephen King's books can be adapted to audio with Mr. Hurt at the Microphone.
Fantastic, Best thing I've read or listened to from Stephen King.I relived the 60's and it definitely brought back memories.It makes you want to ask Stephen King if he was ever in jail in Chicago.Stephen King does one heck of a job narrating his books.
For those of us who are Baby Boomers, this book brought back fond memories and some not so fond. The 50's were terrific. We didn't worry about bad people or war. Kids on summer vacation would leave home early morning to play and show up at suppertime. Our parents had no worries about our safety. There were plenty of people like Ted Broadagan, nice people. This extremely well written book by Stephen King reminds us of that time, our first kiss, first love AND the uncertanty of the Viet Nam War years. Some of us fondly reminisce about the 60's and 70's. "The good old days." Some of that time WAS good. This book reminds us of how difficult a time it really was. A lot of us forgot (intentionally and not) what it was like. This book reminds us of a time when a war far off in the rice paddies came close to tearing our country apart. It reminded me of the friends who didn't come back from those rice paddies, the ones who came home in green plastic bags, the ones who came back...changed, some for the better, some not. I lost track of how many times I was listening in tears. This review was not intended to discourage anyone from "reading" the book, quite the contrary. I urge you to get this book and listen to all of it. It's an education of sorts. I hope you enjoy listening to it.
Thanks for the memories Stephen King.
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