Hearts in Atlantis

  • by Stephen King
  • Narrated by Stephen King, William Hurt
  • 20 hrs and 9 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Each of these five interconnected, sequential narratives, set in the years from 1960 to 1999, are deeply rooted in the 60s culture and the haunting images of the Vietnam War. "Low Men in Yellow Coats" is the story of 11-year-old Bobby Garfield who discovers a world of predatory malice in his own neighborhood. Bobby 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 when they discover the possibility of protest. In "Blind Willy" 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 haunted - as their own lives. And in "Heavenly Shades of Night Are Falling," this remarkable work's denouement, Bobby returns to his hometown where one final secret, the hope of redemption, and his heart's desire may await him.

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What the Critics Say

"We now know what Stephen King, the master of horror, is afraid of. The Vietnam War...scares him so bad he won't let his hero act imprudently." (The New York Times)
"...Hurt skillfully evokes pathos from the story's fine detailing...." (Publishers Weekly)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Touching, Funny - Amazingly well written and read.

I've listened to hundreds of recorded books over past twenty years. This is my favorite. I was never much of a Stephen King fan. This changed that. I am, however, a huge admirer of actor (and reader) William Hurt. As far as I know, this is only recorded book he's performed.

The book starts with "last summer" of young boy's childhood in the late 1950's. And Hurt's reading of every boy, girl, lonely parent, friend, scumbag and guardian angel is absolutely real. Stephen King also reads a central portion of book and he's just fine - Funny as hell in fact, when recounting "his" college years in the 60's and amazingly touching - when reading the chapter about Vietnam Vet/Street Beggar 'Blind Willy'.

It's not horror, not really fantasy - although there's a supernatural thread that runs through the story, which took me a little off-guard when it first appeared, but I completely got caught up in. It's one of many layers in this amazingly well written and performed book. They should all be this good.
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- Steve A.

What a waste

I have recently become an audio book junkie. It started about six months ago when I got an Ipod and began listening to books rather than music on long car trips and plane flights. I came across the Dark Tower series by accident and was hooked from the start. The original narrator Frank Muller was amazing! He brought the story and the characters to an almost living state. Unfortunately he suffered a motorcycle accident and could not continue the series after the fourth installment. It was carried on by George Guidall whose voice was a bit too old and lacked the range to convey the story as Muller had portrayed it. (Although it was still the most captivating story I have ever heard.) Anyone familiar with the Dark Tower series knows that a lot of the characters have connections to other Stephen King novels, "Hearts in Atlantis" being one of them. I began this story with great expectations only to turn it off after three minutes due to the horrible narration by William Hurt. It honestly sounded like a stoned college kid mumbling through a book he was half heartedly paying attention to. I tried to start it over several times through several days thinking it couldn't be as bad as I remembered, but it was! I will save myself the agony and read the book myself. It's a shame because Stephen King is listed as a co-narrator and the stuff I've heard him read was really quite good. I just can't put myself through the long pauses halfway through a sentence (or a word, name, page turn, whatever), the monotone and partially confused sounding voice, and the loud intake of breath which comes every few seconds. Big disappointment.
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- Kyle

Book Details

  • Release Date: 10-10-2001
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio