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Hearts In Atlantis by Stephen King
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Hearts In Atlantis (original 1999; edition 2000)

by Stephen King

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5,69873747 (3.66)101
Member:PaperbackPirate
Title:Hearts In Atlantis
Authors:Stephen King
Info:Pocket (2000), Edition: Reprint, Mass Market Paperback, 688 pages
Collections:Your library, To read
Rating:
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Work details

Hearts In Atlantis by Stephen King (1999)

  1. 50
    Insomnia by Stephen King (Pigletto)
    Pigletto: Both books have several references to the Dark Tower series.
  2. 20
    The Gunslinger by Stephen King (sturlington)
    sturlington: There are thematic connections between the title story of Hearts in Atlantis and The Dark Tower series.
  3. 10
    Duma Key by Stephen King (SqueakyChu)
  4. 11
    From the Corner of His Eye by Dean Koontz (derelicious)
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Showing 1-5 of 73 (next | show all)
Hearts in Atlantis – Stephen King

5 stars

I began this book in audio format. It is read by Liam Hearn and Steven King. The readers were wonderful, but this was one of those books that I couldn’t read fast enough. I had to get a print version because I can read much faster than I can listen. This book had everything that grabs my attention: interesting characters, suspenseful conflict, descriptive period atmosphere and great thematic fodder for discussion.

The book is basically a series of stories that are loosely tied together by a few recurring characters. The first story Low Men in Yellow Coats begins in 1960. It’s a dark, but nostalgic look at three children just entering adolescence in Harwich, Connecticut. There is a mildly spooky sci-fi plot line and a pivotal act of violence that resonates for these characters through all of the other stories. (As I understand it, the sci-fi plot line ties into King’s Dark Tower series. And does this mean that I will now have to read all of those books? Probably.)
I loved this part of the book. Steven King won me over completely when he gave the protagonist, Bobby Garfield, an adult library card for a birthday present. Bobby’s mysterious adult friend, Ted Brautigan is also a reader who guides Bobby to well-written, influential books. Literary themes from Lord of the Fliesand Of Mice and Men become an integral part of Bobby’s story.

The central portion of the book takes place in 1966 and gives the entire collection its name, Hearts in Atlantis. It takes place in a freshman dormitory at the University of Maine. I’ve never played a game of hearts, but that did not prevent me from experiencing the game as if I was actually in the smoke filled dorm lounge. It’s all there: immaturity and self-involvement side by side with idealistic fanaticism. Initially, there doesn’t seem to be any connection with the first story, but then, Carol Gerber, Bobby’s first girl friend makes an appearance. Carol’s response to the earlier violence and Carol’s effect of other characters becomes a theme of this story and those that follow. Of the three short stories that make up the end of the book, Blind Willie, and Why We are in Vietnam, deal with the aftermath of the war. Two characters form the original story, both veterans, deal with their post traumatic stress. Their Vietnam experiences are still tied to the early experience of violence in 1960. Finally, in the last story, Heavenly Shades of Night Are Falling, King returns to Bobby Garfield in 1999 for some sweet, nostalgic closure.

In the audio version, Liam Hearn read the first and last stories. Steven King read the title story and the two other short stories. The change in voice made perfect sense and I enjoyed both of them. I would recommend this audio book with one objection. One of the things that King does very well to invoke the atmosphere of the decade, is describe the music. This is a book that should come with its own playlist. The audio production did little to support the musical background. There were frequent musical interludes at the end of chapters. Only rarely did they coordinate with the music in the text and far too often the music overlaid the voices making the final lines of a chapter difficult to hear.



( )
  msjudy | May 30, 2016 |
Beautiful book, very moving, I liked the first part very much! ( )
  Gerardlionel | Apr 2, 2016 |
This is one of his books that have a connection to the Dark Tower.
Low men is one and later Ted Brautigan becomes a big character in the DT Series.


Yes this book has 4 stories but to me it has always felt like one book so that was why I got confused for a minute here.

This is the book about the little boy Bobby and the older men Ted.

Definitely read this book more than once and very much liked it. ( )
  Marlene-NL | Mar 12, 2016 |
"Low Men in Yellow Coats" was the only reason to read this book, in my opinion. King brilliantly ties it in with DT. PLUS, that might have been one of the creepiest stories I have EVER read ( )
  Bibber_Jane_1982 | Dec 3, 2015 |
"Low Men in Yellow Coats" was the only reason to read this book, in my opinion. King brilliantly ties it in with DT. PLUS, that might have been one of the creepiest stories I have EVER read ( )
  Bibber_Jane_1982 | Dec 3, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 73 (next | show all)
In ''Hearts in Atlantis,'' it's as though King has written two lengthy prologues and two brief epilogues but left out the novel proper. Or perhaps he hasn't. The book's juxtapositions set me wondering: maybe Vietnam is the archetype not only of the otherworldly horror Bobby chooses to avoid in ''Low Men in Yellow Coats'' but of all King's supernatural horror.
 
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Epigraph
Number 6: What do you want?

Number 2: Information.

Number 6: Whose side are you on?

Number 2: That would be telling We want information.

Number 6: You won't get it!

Number 2: By hook or by crook...we will.
--The Prisoner
Simon stayed where he was, a small brown image, concealed by the leaves. Even if he shut his eyes the sow's head still remained like an after-image. The half-shut eyes were dim with the infinite cynicism of adult life. They assured Simon that everything was a bad business. -- William Golding, Lord of the Flies
"We blew it." -- Easy Rider
Dedication
This is for Joseph and Leanora and Ethan: I told you all that to tell you this.
First words
Bobby Garfield's father had been one of those fellows who start losing their hair in their twenties and are completely bald by the age of forty-five or so.
Quotations
There are also books full of great writing that don’t have very good stories. Read sometimes for the story, Bobby. Don’t be like the book snobs that won’t do that. Read sometimes for the words--the language. Don’t be like the play-it-safers that won’t do that. But when you find a book that has both a good story and good words, treasure that book.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description
Hearts in Atlantis is a collection of two novellas and three short stories by Stephen King, all connected to one another by recurring characters and taking place in roughly chronological order. The stories are about the baby boomer generation, specifically King's view that this generation (to which he belongs) failed to live up to its promise and ideals.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0671024248, Mass Market Paperback)

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

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:04:50 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

Low Men in Yellow Coats: Eleven-year-old Bobby Garfield discovers a world of predatory malice in his own neighborhood. He 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, discover the possibility of protest, and confront their own collective heart of darkness, where laughter may be no more than the thinly disguised cry of the beast. In "Blind Willie" 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 as haunted, as their own lives. And in "Heavenly Shades of Night Are Falling," this remarkable book's denouement, Bobby returns to his hometown where one final secret, the hope of redemption, and his heart's desire may await him.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 9 descriptions

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