Stephen King, whose first novel, Carrie, was published in 1974, the year before the last U.S. troops withdrew from Vietnam, is the first hugely popular writer of the TV generation. Images from that war -- and the protests against it -- had flooded America's living rooms for a decade. Hearts in Atlantis, King's newest fiction, is composed of five interconnected, sequential narratives, set in the years from 1960 to 1999. Each story is deeply rooted in the sixties, and each is haunted by the Vietnam War.
In Part One, "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.
Full of danger, full of suspense, most of all full of heart, Stephen King's new book will take some readers to a place they have never been...and others to a place they have never been able to completely leave.
This collection of five thematically linked short stories dwells on the legacy of the 1960s. They share a collective moodiness, a feeling of depressed hangover coming after youth has been lost and the nation has suffered troubled times. Read aloud, this pungent atmosphere is especially strong. A-list actor Hurt stylishly performs the lengthy opener, "Low Men in Yellow Coats," in which 11-year-old Bobby Garfield falls under the spell of an older man his mother has taken in as a boarder (a father figure who introduces him first to literature--Lord of the Flies--then to supernatural phenomena). Hurt skillfully evokes pathos from the story's fine detailing: its sense of small-town place and Bobby's child's-eye-view of the evil characters around him. King reads the title story, "Hearts in Atlantis," about Maine college students who mindlessly play cards instead of studying while the Vietnam War rages in the background. The author's modest, reedy voice rings with autobiographical truth--as the protagonist is a young would-be writer, na ve to the ways of the world. Taken together, at 21 hours' listening, however, King's shining moments too often give way to fatigue: the stories are repetitious, full of plot rehashings and meaningless asides. Also available on CD. Simultaneous release with the Scribner hardcover.
Customer ReviewsSee All
A sad story; confusing at times, but good read
This book kick my reading life back into action
It has been about 10 years since I read this book but it still stands out as the one that lit the fire of my imagination for reading as well as writing.
My Review of Hearts of Atlantis
Another outstanding read by the Master storyteller. Anyone who can remember the sixties will appreciate this novel. He captures the spirit of the times in the story very well.