The classic collection of five deeply resonant and disturbing interconnected stories from #1 New York Times bestselling author Stephen King.
Innocence, experience, truth, deceit, loss, and recovery are at the core of these five interconnected, sequential tales—each deeply rooted in the 1960s, and each scarred by the Vietnam War, which continues to cast its shadow over American lives, politics and culture.
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 and suspense, full of heart, this spellbinding fiction will take some readers to a place they have never been...and others to a place they have never been able to completely forget. Nearly twenty years after its first publication, Hearts in Atlantis is powerful and astonishingly current.
“You will see Stephen King in a new light. Read this moving, heartfelt tragedy and weep—weep for our lost conscience.” —BookPage
By "Atlantis," King means the 1960s, that otherworldly decade that, like the fabled continent, has sunk into myth. By "hearts," he means not just the seat of love but the card game, which figures prominently in the second of the five scarcely linked narratives in this full-bodied but disjointed omnibus, King's third (after Different Seasons and Four Past Midnight). The stories proceed chronologically, from 1960 to 1999. The first, the novel-length "Low Men in Yellow Coats," is the most traditionally King: an alienated youth, Bobby Garfield, is befriended by a new neighbor, the elderly Ted Brautigan, who introduces him to literature and turns out to be on the run from villainous creatures from another time/dimension. A potent coming-of-age tale, the story connects to King's Dark Tower saga. The novella-length title entry, set in 1966 and distinguished by a bevy of finely etched characters, concerns a college dorm whose inhabitants grow dangerously addicted to hearts. The last three pieces are short stories. "Blind Willie," set in 1983, details the penance paid by a Vietnam vet for a wartime sin, as does "Why We're in Vietnam." The concluding tale, "Heavenly Shades of Night Falling," revives Bobby and provides closure. Sometimes the stories feel like experiments, even exercises, and they can wear their craft on their sleeves--in the way the game of hearts symbolizes the quagmire of Vietnam, for instance, or in how each narrative employs a different prose style, from the loose-limbed third-person of "Low Men" to the tighter first-person of "Hearts," and so on. With about ten million published words and counting, King probably can write a seductive story in his sleep and none of these artful tales are less; but only the title story rivals his best work and, overall, the volume has a patchy feel, and exudes a bittersweet obsession with the past that will please the author's fellow babyboomers--King nails the `60s and its legacy--but may make others grind their teeth.
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.
Not a typical SK book that sticks with the spooky all the way through. This one strays off into kind of a biography without a good segue. I almost stopped reading it in fact because I thought the good part was over. Reminds me of the last few books Vonnegut wrote - forced…. But the ending was sweet and made the book worth reading to the end.