In Part One, "Low Men in Yellow Coats", 11-year-old Bobby Garfield discovers a world of predatory malice in his own neighbourhood. He also discovers that adults are sometimes not rescuers, but at the heart of the terror.
In the title story, a group of college students 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, most of all full of heart, Hearts in Atlantis will take some listeners to a place they have never been, and others to a place they have never been able to completely leave.
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©1999 Stephen King; (P)1999 Simon and Schuster Inc.
"An incredibly gifted writer, whose writing, like Truman Capote's, is so fluid that you often forget that you're reading." (Guardian)
An outstanding book made into an equally outstanding audiobook. Whether a Stephen King fan or not this book is a must. Despite reading this a few years ago I could hardly turn it off once I started listening. The magic I remembered from reading it was still there. Cannot recommend it enough.
Stephen King is an amazing story teller. I enjoyed the characters and the drama. I'm not saying I wouldn't have enjoyed more mystery but it could have taken over the book for the harm of the literary enjoyment, which I'm afraid happened for me in Shining. (I'm not bashing Shining it was good but the last few chapters veered off into so much horror there was little room left for literature.)
This is not only not horror, or supernatural thriller, there is very little of the supernatural in it. And that too only in the first story, the other ones have none.
It is made up of five stories, which could be read independently of each other but they are inter-connected by the characters. The first story is read by William Hurt, the next two by Stephen King and the last two by William Hurt again.
Stephen King has published another collection of short stores called Different Seasons where among some others he published a novella called "The Body" (the original of the brilliant movie called Stand By Me) and Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption (the original of the brilliant movie called Shawshank Redemption). I'm sure anyone that liked Hearts in Atlantis would enjoy that one too.
As I said, the book is made up of five stories, which could be read independently of each other but they are related in the characters. The first story is read by William Hurt, the next two by Stephen King and the last two by William Hurt again. This has caused some frustration for some people as I have seen in several reviews because the title information only mentions William Hurt and some were very disappointed. One of them even called one of the narrators "irksome", which to me sound like a very bold exaggeration.
The two narrators could not sound any more different from each other. In style, in pace, in voice, in atmosphere, they communicate very differently. Hurt, melancholic, contemplative, slow, sometimes very VERY slooow, King cool, very relaxed, (an excellent impersonator too), I had to get used to both. At the very beginning of the first story where Hurt starts to narrate and then at the beginning of the second story where King takes over, there was a lot of rewinding because I found it difficult at first to even pay attention and hear the story. But once I got used to them I started enjoying the listening and realised that they were both excellent narrators.
If not all in one sitting, I found myself very motivated to keep listening. I found it helpful to know that the stories are connected because I wanted to know who will turn up in the next one and what I'll get to know about them.
If you're looking for a supernatural thriller or horror, this is not it! Don't buy it because you will be disappointed. But if you enjoy good story telling, very well developed and detailed characters and drama, you will probably like this audiobook.
Wonderful story. In my opinion it's Stephen King's best, and he's produced some very good books over the years. But dear oh dear. What possessed Audible to have William Hurt as the narrator? The man seems barely able to read. I thought he was an actor but his delivery is all wrong. He gets all the inflections and stresses in the wrong places and punctuation seems to be a bit of a mystery to him.
Ok, I accept that not everybody can be as good as Stephen Fry for example but this bloke just hasn't got it at all. Such a disappointment.
William Hurt is the master craftsman when it comes to breathing life into words. There's no other narrator like him. In this book, he narrates part 1 and part 3. King, for some reason, has decided to have a crack at part 2. Top marks for trying, Stephen - but not many people can survive being bookended by Hurt. King's narration sounds rushed and clumsy. Almost a blurt in comparison. I'm not saying he's bad - it's just like someone trying to do a bit of karaoke after Mick Jagger has just finished a number. It's a pointless attempt. I've listened to some other books narrated by King when he goes solo (his On Writing, for example) and they are perfectly 'okay'. To put this into perspective: I've listened to a stack load of audiobooks - but I'd genuinely struggle to mention anyone that comes even close to delivering the kind of vocal impact of Hurt does. The story is good. King's text, as always, seems to just roll off the page, like he's not even trying.
A great story, but an even better reading. This review is a long time coming. I listened to the book about 3 years ago, but it still ranks as my No1 audiobook. After this, you should try Under the Dome. Again, the narrator sprinkles the magic over the text.
Not the best Stephen King book I have listened too. I think it would be more relevant to an American audience
I love Stephen King books and have many as both audio books and paperbacks. He is my all-time favourite author.
In the last part of the book I thought the narration was superb. William Hurt "was" the character and at no time did I feel that he was reading to me, he was living the part. Can't remember the character name off-hand.
No, I don't think so as not my usual genre.
I will now seek out other books narrated by William Hurt.
The problem with this audio book is that it starts too well. The opening book Low Men in Yellow Coats is superb and none of the following four shorts can quite live up to it.
Low Men in Yellow Coats is the kind of work I go to Stephen King for: expert prose, dialogue and characters that would make an excellent story in and of themselves but are further improved by a sprinkling of the otherworldy. The story reminds me of Stand By Me: a group of friends growing up together, through the highs and lows of childhood with the knowledge that they will grow up and apart always looming overhead. The narration for this piece by William Hurt is superb, his voice can shift from warm, melancholy and intense with ease. A lot of audiobooks use music to demarcate chapters but Low Men in Yellow Coats' choice of music and editing meant that at the end of every chapter it felt as if what you were listening to was more than a simple audiobook but a dynamic dramatic production.
The titular second book is still an enjoyable listen. Stephen King himself reads this one and it's always a pleasure to hear him as he brings an energy to the reading though he never quite hits the highs of William Hurt. This story is engaging, its characters well crafted (and contains links to the first story as do all the shorts which makes for a pleasant suprise) but lacks any of the supernatural elements that Low Men in Yellow Coats carried. This shouldn't be an issue, yet I found this stark change in tone irksome.
The final three books are not particularly interesting - not bad, but disappointing following the stellar opening. The final book bookends the first but by this point I was already disappointed and it fails to hit the same tone (our main charatcer is all grown up now).
I would definitely recommend this as it has stayed with me for some time after finishing it (I'm writing this review a month later). But like I said, it goes downhill.
You can lose the thread now and then, but still, a wonderful book that takes you back to your childhood. I would even go as far to say, this is the closest I've ever been to time travel.
The worst audio book I've listened to so far. It seems that random department store music was deemed appropriate at the beginning and end of chapters. This music drowned out the narration and detracted from the delivery in a major way for me.
William Hurt's performance is superb. A gripping and personal insight into a period of modern American history, laced with surreal / magical moments. Vietnam is laid bare.
I love Stephen Kings books, always have, but none has ever brought a tear to my eye like this one just has. Bravo Mr King, one of the best books you have written, in my own personal view.
"read it again"
I read (listened} to hearts 10 years ago I loved part 1and 3
but was a little put off by the middle. However,overall it was a pleasure.
It does provoke a certain sadness for the main character,Bobby.
If you want to go back in time to your own youth,be prepared for
the journey. The music is great!
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