©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)
Say something about yourself!
I read this book the first time probably not long after it was originally published. I liked it then. I picked it up both times because I was reading the Dark Tower series and there are links to that in this book. I do recommend it for that reason too.
I had forgotten how good this book is. I loved both of the narrations. I know some people don't care for Stephen King's narration but I do like it. William Hurt's reading was absolutely fantastic. I was blown away by this book. Well worth the credit!
Setphen King is a great storyteller. This is a good example of "crossover" into the general public interest. In other words, (not in the horror story "Genre"). this one, like "Joyland", has other human interest. It points to his diverse ability, which many do not understand that he has.
Probably not...William Hurt is a great actor; however the production of "Hearts In Atlantis" was not good. I've listened to other books read by Stephen King and I felt that his performance of the other short stories was better than that of William Hurt.
Let Stephen King read the whole thing, or do a better production job of William Hurt reading the entire story.
The only story elements I would've changed would be to take the short story "Hearts In Atlantis" and make it third person rather than first person. The first person narrative made it feel more like a college kid's journal rather than a good story.
William Hurt's reading was distracting in many ways:
1. You could hear him breathing.
2. You could hear him breath in through his nose before starting new sections.
3. You could hear him start to run out of steam has he read through lines of sentences and then bumble along the next few words.
4. Sometimes it sound like spit was forming at the corners of his mouth and he'd have to wipe them away to keep reading.
5. He had awkward pauses at random places in the story.
6. It seemed like sometimes he'd have to lick his lips in between reading, which didn't help the story flow very well.
I don't know who to blame on that one, but it was very disappointing.
Um, I'm pretty sure they made a movie out of "Hearts In Atlantis" starring Anthony Hopkins, which was adapted from "Low Men In Yellow Coats."
Overall, I thought “Hearts In Atlantis” was okay. Being a collection of short-stories, it is easy to pick the ones that I liked and the ones that I didn’t. I did not grow in the sixties or Vietnam-era, so I think much of the ‘haunting, political’ aspects were lost on me. For example, two of the short stories deal directly with guys who came back from Vietnam and another short story deals with kids in college right as the Vietnam War was getting started. I probably would’ve appreciated much of the elements King played to in these short stories had I grown up in the 1960s.
Rather than give “Hearts In Atlantis” and overall rating, I’d rather treat each story on it’s own merits:
“Low Men In Yellow Coats” – excellent story! The characters were layered very well and the dialogue was great. Ted Brautigan was an interesting and original character that was fun to read about and enjoyable. The interactions between Ted and the story’s main character – Bobby Garfield – was incredibly structured, thought-out, and had a nice pace to it. Nothing seemed forced or unnatural between the two of them, which could be tricky when writing about the relationship between a boy and an old man without it coming off as being creepy. This was an excellent story and worth reading again.
“Hearts In Atlantis” – way too long and undeserving of carrying the book’s title. This short story was nothing more than reading a college kid’s journal, and not even the cool kid. This was the kid that retreated to his dorm room to play games with his small circle of friends. Maybe King was writing more from personal experience on this one, but I was bored getting through this story. Maybe it was the first person perspective telling the story, or just too long – either way I wasn’t a fan.
“Blind Willie” – this story was a bit confusing to get into since the character’s blindness comes and goes. All of the multiple personalities was a bit difficult to keep up with as well.
“Why We’re In Vietnam” – this story was lost on me as well, dealing with Vietnam veterans and playing back the war-time events. Even the ghost “mama-san” was a bit strange to me. This story was okay, I guess, but certainly no jewel.
“Heavenly Shades of Night are Falling” – bringing closure to “Low Men In Yellow Coats”, I thought this story ended the book quite nicely. It felt more like an epilogue, so the length and quality of story was nicely done.
I’m a huge fan of the Dark Tower series, so the DT elements were greatly appreciated – especially with “Low Men In Yellow Coats”. I’m glad King dedicated a good piece of DT to this short story without it being distracting, but just enough to hold ones interest.
Pros: Low Men In Yellow Coats is worth the read, even if you don’t finish the whole book, plus any fan to the Dark Tower series will appreciate it.
Cons: The remaining short stories dealing with Vietnam-era ideas, attitudes, and elements did not translate very well to someone who did not grow up at that time.
Bottom Line: The good thing about short story collections is that you can easily pick and choose which stories you’d like to re-read and skip over the less interesting ones.
I'm a Registered Nurse. I've been an avid reader all my life. I love Audible books. I'm able to enjoy books and still keep busy!
I never saw the movie and decided to check out the book. now i really want to see how they put this together for movie. amazing story and the narration is perfect. Recommend.
The confrontation with the low men "down there"
Love all Stephen King, a fan of Hurt in movies and his narration here was perfect.
William Hurt was fantastic in his reading of King's novel. By far the best performer I've run across and I will search out any other work he's done. Highly recommend this book.
King builds a story like no one else. His description of Vietnam was both familiar and chilling. Love the interwoven stories.
I think it's great to hear the writer "tell" his own story and the addition of William Hurt helps to make this work a home run.
Willie's redemption was very touching. Kudos to King and that magnificent imagination of his.
Stephen King has too often been pigeon-holed as a horror author when in fact he is a master-craftsman of story telling. His talent is far underappreciated in my opinion.
I'm not sure. The first story was great! The second was pretty good. The last 2 were just plain weird!
I like his novels, but am beginning to feel like his short stories aren't worth getting. I loved his earlier short stories, but the ones I have bought lately have been too strange.
Odd characters, mildly interesting story. I found myself looking for excuses to stop listening. Wouldn't recommend unless you are a diehard Stephen King fan.
Above average but not the best
Ted because he had wisdom
A depth and the characters voices.
The depth of the characters.
Ken Follett's book are very good too. The characters are so interesting that the reader is kept so interested throughout the entire story.
All of them were very interesting, but I enjoyed Bobby the most. I wanted to hear more about him.
I'm sorry but I just couldn't listen to this book at all. William Hurt's tone and delivery ruined it for me. I love Stephen King books and will continue to listen however, anything narrated by William Hurt I will stay far away from. Wish I had my money back.
I couldn't listen. His delivery method and pause in the middle of a sentence is William Hurt's way of talking however, for someone who wants to be immersed in a book, it is horrible.
Can I have my credits back?
Report Inappropriate Content