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.
©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.
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.
The description for this says it's read by Stephen King. It's not! It's written by someone who constantly pauses at odd times as if he's unable to immediately read the next word. It's irritating and completely spoils one of King's better works. +3 stars for the story and -2 for the reading and that's being generous.
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.
William Hurt narrates this strange and intriguing story so well that I just wanted to listen to him just as much as this typically odd story written by Stephen King. I haven't heard him narrate anything else but I will keep in eye out. Stephen King also narrates but nowhere near as enthralling as 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.
Dark Tower Shaggy dog story with acres of bland writing. Maybe I lack the right soul for this. Being a bit of a Dark Tower fan I thought this would be good, but I felt it was simply gratuitous navel gazing. I am sure the other reviews are more real, but this was not for me.
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