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Hearts in Atlantis | [Stephen King]

Hearts in Atlantis

All the stories in this collection from Stephen King are related to the Vietnam War. King fans will recognize echoes of The Dark Tower series in the collection's first story, "Low Men in Yellow Coats." As the characters develop over the next four stories, King's version of the Vietnam War becomes one of his most frightening tales ever.
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Publisher's Summary

Each of these five interconnected, sequential narratives, set in the years from 1960 to 1999, are deeply rooted in the 60s culture and the haunting images of the Vietnam War. "Low Men in Yellow Coats" is the story of 11-year-old Bobby Garfield who discovers a world of predatory malice in his own neighborhood. Bobby also discovers that adults are sometimes not rescuers but at the heart of the terror. In the title story, a bunch of college kids get hooked on a card game when they discover the possibility of protest. In "Blind Willy" and "Why We're in Vietnam," two men who grew up with Bobby in suburban Connecticut try to fill the emptiness of the post-Vietnam era in an America which sometimes seems as hollow - and haunted - as their own lives. And in "Heavenly Shades of Night Are Falling," this remarkable work's denouement, Bobby returns to his hometown where one final secret, the hope of redemption, and his heart's desire may await him.

©1999 Stephen King, All Rights Reserved, (P)1999 Simon & Schuster Inc., All Rights Reserved

What the Critics Say

"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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (1230 )
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4.4 (665 )
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Performance
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  •  
    alisa MINNEAPOLIS, MN, United States 10-05-10
    alisa MINNEAPOLIS, MN, United States 10-05-10

    Signed

    ratings
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    "Compelling, heartfelt and nostalgic"

    This series of interwoven stories and characters are pieces of single plot, a grander story that pulls the listener through a sixty year period starting with childhood conundrums, politics, true friendship, mystery and romance to dealing with adulthood, family dynamics, honor and the life long implication of the Vietnam War and ending with a delightful understanding of life and its purposeful coincidences.

    The narrator is just the right pace with just the right amount of nuance, as a listener you are amongst the stories.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Scott P. Jones Grand Island, Florida, US 09-24-10
    Scott P. Jones Grand Island, Florida, US 09-24-10 Listener Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
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    "Worst King book EVER. Worst reader EVER."

    First of all, the first quarter of this book would probably be a great story if it weren't for the painfully poor reading by William Hurt. If Hearts in Atlantis where read by anyone else with more than a sixth grade education it would have made this book more exciting, easier to suffer through, and the entire book would be about 5 hours shorter. Another reviewer likened the reading to a pot smoking college student. I agree with that analogy. This reading is rife with long unnessesary pregnant pauses. Many sentences are read slowly and deliberately with each word enunciated as if it had to be read before any consideration for the remaining words in each sentence, and then entire sentences and paragraphs become one word. There is excited emphasis in places where there should not be, and dull droning indifference where there should be excitement.
    After the first portion ends, Stephen King becomes the narrator and you think,.... "thank goodness, a break from this incredibly bad reader. Unfortunately, the story becomes a dull mostly meaningless tome about several college students flunking out of school. Nearly none of the rambling has anything whatsoever to do with the story, and is very mundane. I did however, suffer through the whole thing, thinking that it would all be relevent in the end. I would say 85 percent of it was boring and superfluous.
    I will suggest, if you are an extreme Stephen King fan you listen to the portions read by William Hurt (beginning and end), and skip the entire portion read by King. Be forewarned, it will be diificult to overcome the dreadfully poor, slow reading.
    If I where to summarize this dreadful reading in a word it would be.... dissapointment.

    3 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jay Huntingdon, PA, United States 04-24-10
    Jay Huntingdon, PA, United States 04-24-10 Member Since 2014
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    "Stories overcome narrations"

    Eventually I accepted William Hurt's narration and put up with King's because the stories, especially the first one, sucked me in.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Vince Barrett 04-15-10 Listener Since 2010
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    "Great book"

    This is a good book. Took a little longer to get into than I thought it would. I wasn't crazy about William Hurt...seemed like he was halfheartedly reading the story. Overall, I would recommend this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    W. Jacksonville, FL, USA 10-10-08
    W. Jacksonville, FL, USA 10-10-08 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
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    "Would the author approve?"

    This has got to be the absolute worst reading of a novel I have ever had the great misfortune to experience. I can't believe Mr. King approved the release of his book in this condition. With the ill timed and exceedingly long pauses, loud, hissing deep breaths, inappropriate inflections in his voice and the general disinterested, flat, monotonous tone with which he read, William Hurt, truly ruined this novel for me. He did a great disservice to Mr. King, who is a fabulous writer. The story may have been good, in fact, I am pretty sure it was quite good, knowing Mr. King's reputation and having read many of his novels, but I was so distracted by the lousy reading that I just gave up listening. I guess I'll have to read the book before I can pass judgment on the actual story.
    I do not recommend this audiobook based on William Hurts performance.

    5 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ingrid Hudson, MA, USA 05-08-07
    Ingrid Hudson, MA, USA 05-08-07
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Wow"

    I knew that the movie had been well received, but wasn't too sure what I would think of a series of related stories. I was surprised when it didn't seem that way at all; they really hung together. This was a memorable book that I looked forward to listening to on my commutes. Stephen King is getting better and better.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Laaran Sun Lakes, Arizona United States 12-30-06
    Laaran Sun Lakes, Arizona United States 12-30-06 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Sadly, I May Never Know"

    Sadly, I may never know how this story ends. I can't believe no one has mentioned the horrid narration job done by the otherwise excellent actor, William Hurt. I could not make it through Bobby's story having to listen to William's heavy breathing and nasally flat delivery. He also seemed to rush through parts of a sentence and then pause in all the wrong places...Considering his reputation for perfectionism, I'm surprised he was satisfied with the results of his work.
    I love King so I hope to read this eventually. Maybe, if it's re-released with a new narrator, I'll give it another shot. In the meantime I can dream about an unabridged version of The Stand.

    3 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    O of awesome 06-16-06 Member Since 2012
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    "Great Dark Tower Subplot"

    "Low Men in Yellow Coats" is a great insight into Ted Brautigan, a major character in the last of the Dark Tower series.

    Admittedly, it took me a while to get used to William Hurt's narration style, slow with some strange pauses, but he really brought the characters alive for me in ways that Frank Muller and George Guidall never did.

    But mostly it is King's magic story telling that really hit me in this book. He perfectly captures coming of age events, like a first kiss and dealing with bullies. I loved this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andrew 03-24-06
    Andrew 03-24-06 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great, if yu can stand William Hurt"

    What a great story (ies). King is a great narrator, but Hurt sounds like someone recorded all of his words individually and then dubbed them together. Sentences stopping and starting midstream, very jerky. He is awful. If he was trying to use his style to "act", lord it took some getting used to. Otherwise, the story is great. Hurt, don't quit your acting job to become a narrator, you would starve.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    A. Marker Boise, ID USA 05-18-04
    A. Marker Boise, ID USA 05-18-04 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Luke warm on the King - at least this time."

    I've been a Stephen King fan for years, to the extent that I've bought a copy of each and every one of his books and any audio book I could get my hands on. That said, I found myself distinctly luke warm to this collection of stories. While it does tie in - marginally - with the Dark Tower series, that tie is loose. Did I listen to it? Yes. Did I enjoy it? Sorta, kinda, maybe. Will I listen to it again? Well, perhaps, but not for quite a long while.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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