Hearts in Atlantis by Stephen King

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Stephen King, whose first novel, Carrie, was published in 1974, the year before the last U.S. troops withdrew from Vietnam, is the first hugely popular writer of the TV generation. Images from that war -- and the protests against it -- had flooded America's living rooms for a decade. Hearts in Atlantis, King's newest fiction, is composed of five interconnected, sequential narratives, set in the years from 1960 to 1999. Each story is deeply rooted in the sixties, and each is haunted by the Vietnam War.
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, full of suspense, most of all full of heart, Stephen King's new book will take some readers to a place they have never been...and others to a place they have never been able to completely leave.

About Stephen King

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Stephen King is the author of more than fifty books, all of them worldwide bestsellers. His novel 11/22/63 was named a top ten book of 2011 by The New York Times Book Review and won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Mystery/Thriller as well as the Best Hardcover Book Award from the International Thriller Writers Association. He is the recipient of the 2003 National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. He lives in Bangor, Maine, with his wife, novelist Tabitha King. Joe Hill is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Heart-Shaped Box and Horns and writes an ongoing comic book series, Locke & Key. He makes lots of noise on Twitter under the handle @joe_hill.
Published September 14, 1999 by Scribner. 640 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, War, Children's Books, Horror, History, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Action & Adventure. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Although some characters wander in from King's inferior occult Western Dark Tower series, their cartoony, computer-graphic effects making them seem in the wrong novel, this minor lapse fades before King's memory-symphony of America during Vietnam.

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Publishers Weekly

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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

Aug 30 1999 | Read Full Review of Hearts in Atlantis

Publishers Weekly

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Taken together, at 21 hours' listening, however, King's shining moments too often give way to fatigue: the stories are repetitious, full of plot rehashings and meaningless asides.

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Publishers Weekly

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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"" ...

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BC Books

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In the three final stories, we follow "Blind Willie," a minor character in "Low Men in Yellow Coats" who is paying for his Vietnam misdeeds, Sully John, Bobby's best friend, goes to a funeral in "Why We're in Vietnam," and Bobby returns at last to his home town in the last story — "Heavenly Shade...

Aug 25 2010 | Read Full Review of Hearts in Atlantis

Book Reporter

Not a novel, yet not just a collection of stories, HEARTS IN ATLANTIS consists of one novel ("Low Men In Yellow Coats") one short novel ("Hearts In Atlantis") and three short stories ("Blind Willie," "Why We're In Vietnam," and "Heavenly Shades of Night Are Falling"), spanning the four decades be...

Jan 22 2011 | Read Full Review of Hearts in Atlantis

Entertainment Weekly

Hearts in Atlantis has moments of feeling (the young actors are vivid and spontaneous), but I'd like it better if it weren't bogged down in Stephen King's heavy-handed insistence that the Eisenhower years were the Ur-moment, when ''purity'' was endangered but shining.

Oct 05 2001 | Read Full Review of Hearts in Atlantis


The main annoyance of Hearts in Atlantis is its incessant nostalgia for the presumed “innocence” of 1950s America (in this, it is like much of King’s writing, as well as Rob Reiner’s film, Stand By Me).

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SF Site

Stephen King Website ISFDB Bibliography SF Site Review: The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon SF Site Review: Bag of Bones The Green Mile Website Stephen King Tribute Site Stephen King Tribute Site Reviewing a new Stephen King title is always a challenge.

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Common Sense Media

Billy thinks Ted is a little loony, but he agrees, at first because he wants to earn money for the bicycle, and then because he is drawn to Ted's warmth, humor, and even his oddness.

May 06 2003 | Read Full Review of Hearts in Atlantis


If you think Stephen King's new book is about monsters from an ancient undersea city, think again.

Sep 20 1999 | Read Full Review of Hearts in Atlantis

Time Out New York

Bobby Garfield (Morse), a middle-aged married man, returns to Smallsville, USA, for the funeral of a childhood friend.

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Slant Magazine

Hicks beautifully celebrates Bobby's summoned strength when he has to come to the aid of a hurt Carol yet the film's characters are never less than victims of an uncertain time and place, not to mention Goldman's sexual politics.

Sep 24 2001 | Read Full Review of Hearts in Atlantis


Framed by a visit to his boyhood town by 50-ish Bobby Garfield (David Morse), flashback body of the film is set during the summer of 1960, much of which the 11-year-old Bobby spent with a mysterious older man, Ted Brautigan (Hopkins), who took a room in the Connecticut home Bobby shares with his ...

Sep 07 2001 | Read Full Review of Hearts in Atlantis

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