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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.
©1999 Stephen King, All Rights Reserved, (P)1999 Simon & Schuster Inc., All Rights Reserved
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Critic Reviews

"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
5 out of 5 stars
By Steve A. on 01-15-03

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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47 of 48 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By J on 12-24-09

Wonderful, transcendent story and narration

A rich, emotional story with a touch of supernatural. Described as a collection of five short stories, but reads like a more cohesive novel No frights but some horror; all about life and love. The best and most beautiful writing about a first kiss I've ever come across - listened to that segment over and over again. Especially resonant with baby boomers touched by the 1960's - but don't be hesitant if you're younger than that...the movie The Best Years of Our Lives is still great even if you're too young for WWII. Note on narrator William Hurt, he comes to you from a whole different and far superior level of art form. I have never heard narration so complex and nuanced.
Spend the credit, you'll be charmed and remember this novel always.

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5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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