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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Moving, Profound and Enjoyable
For me Stephen King writes two very separate types of books. Most know him for horror such as 'The Shining' and the short story 'The Raft' - rattling good stories that scared me rigid, and made me avoid him for years.
'Hearts In Atlantis' belongs to the second group of works, such as 'The Green Mile' and 'Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption'. They are...
Published on 9 Jan 2000

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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The film version is better
At a time when the vanishing World War II generation is paid tribute through books and films, HEARTS IN ATLANTIS is Stephen King's homage to his (and mine), the Vietnam generation.
HEARTS is a series of stories that take place, respectively, in 1960, 1966, 1983, and two in 1999. All are loosely connected through characters we meet in the first, 11-year old Bobby...
Published on 12 Jan 2003 by Amazon Customer


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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Moving, Profound and Enjoyable, 9 Jan 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Hearts in Atlantis (Hardcover)
For me Stephen King writes two very separate types of books. Most know him for horror such as 'The Shining' and the short story 'The Raft' - rattling good stories that scared me rigid, and made me avoid him for years.
'Hearts In Atlantis' belongs to the second group of works, such as 'The Green Mile' and 'Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption'. They are unsettling novels and stories that 'lie too close to wherever your secret heart is buried', to quote from 'The Body'.
King's self-proclaimed theme in this latest book is the 60's, a decade that I am too young to have seen. He strikes a deeper chord, however - running through the five moving stories here is a strong motif of good and evil, of crime and retribution. Each important character has a conscious choice to make, and each must eventually accept the consequences of their decision.
As usual King writes with aplomb, and is able to capture convincingly the tone and atmosphere of his times. The supernatural stands out in chilling contrast to his deft treatment of the everyday. He shows remarkable skill in depicting both youth and old age, although if I had one minor complaint it would be that his 11-year-old characters in the first story seem a little precocious.
Resisting considerable temptation, I placed this book on my Christmas List. It left me moved, drained and reappraising my choices and direction in life. I can think of no higher recommendation than to say that I don't know when I will find the strength to pick it up again.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A different kind of Stephen King, 24 July 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Hearts in Atlantis (Hardcover)
The book surprised me. I was used to reading books by King that were horrors/thrillers - such as the 'classics' Carrie, The Tommyknockers, Needful Things etc. However this book was different from the usual things I had read and after the first few pages I was addicted. The stories are well written and the content is more than satisfying.
The way the stories all linked together was great. When I noticed it was more than one story i was expecting that it was another short story book but dont be misled all the stories have something to do with the other and they all leave you wondering what else happened next.
Not all my questions were answered about the people involved in the book by the time I finsished it but I was pleased with the ending, which was in my view a very good piece of work.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Too many broken hearts, 4 Mar 2013
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As one of Mr King's "Constant Readers", I first read Hearts In Atlantis on its publication in 1999. Back then, I remember enjoying the stories, but that was about it. Nearly 15 years on, I downloaded the Kindle edition for a re-read and was blown away by them. I think this gap may be the key to the mixed reviews this book is getting.

Hearts in Atlantis consists of 5 interlocking stories about America's baby boomer generation. The first (and longest) story, "Low Men in Yellow Coats", is set in 1960 and is a beautifully told story about small town America and the end of childhood innocence. The child characters in this first story form the link that runs through the rest of the book.

The title story is set in 1966, and really sets the tone for the rest of the book. It's the story of a group of college freshmen and the madness that engulfs them at a time when "boys with poor grades one year are likely to end dying in the jungle the next year". The students discover love, political awareness, protest ..... and a highly addictive card game. The Vietnam War and associated draft hangs large over this story - as it does the remaining 3 tales, set in the 80s and 90s, as the baby boomers grow older and reflect on their lives.

So, why did the 15 year gap move this book from good to great for me? I think it's because I'm more mature (ok, older) now. Mr King is a generation ahead of me, and my view of life has definitely changed as I enter my 40s. The prevailing theme through Hearts in Atlantis is that of lost innocence and wasted opportunities - of looking back and saying "what if?" I think every generation experiences the same thing - at some point in our lives we reflect on all the possibilities we had and wonder how we ended up here (wherever "here" happens to be)

If you are looking for a reflective, well written collection of stories, I hope you give Hearts in Atlantis a go. If you are looking for traditional horror stories - this isn't the book for you
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Uncanny parallel to his real life, 30 Mar 2010
By 
bernie "xyzzy" (Arlington, Texas) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: HEARTS IN ATLANTIS (Vinyl)
If you have read his book "On Writing" he has a small biography that parallels this book in nature. The story line and the details were intriguing. The only distraction from this was his constant potty mouth. He must have needed filler to flush (not flesh) out the book. I do not know if that is a recent phenomenon of they all are that way. The movies are not that way.

This is one story with a few rest spots that make some think it is a series of shorts. Do not attempt to read this out of order as each relies on knowledge of the former. The first phase, about the "Low Men", is the only real supernatural section. And as he points out it is the moral environment around the story that makes the supernatural scary. In this phase he also does a dissertation books including "The Lord of the Flies." There are real close corollaries to "The Day the Earth Stood Still" single mother, kid named Bobbie, and a mysterious border. The second phase Deals with a collage life environment, which is a background for molding character and characters. I do not want to tell too much detail, as that is why you read the book. The third phase is broken into two parts, one a story of Willie during and after Nam, then the whole set of previous characters surround by death and near death experiences.

The not so loose stories ingeniously ties together by a certain object that travels throughout the times to add as a catalyst and a conclusion.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars First class writing from King, 8 Oct 2009
By 
This review is from: Hearts in Atlantis (Paperback)
This is a great sample of King's fine ability to capture a mood, an atmosphere - of being a certain person at a certain place in a certain time.

King succeeds in evoking both the wistfulness and the bitterness of America's Vietnam generation, this is a very rewarding and poignant read.

The first story is, perhaps, only fully appreciated with a degree of 'Dark Tower' knowledge (The only thing stopping me giving this 5 stars)- but that is by no means neccesary. The characters of Bobby Garfield, Carol, Sully and others that run through this book are what makes it such a great read.

If you're looking for chills and thrills, look elsewhere in King's work - but if you're looking for an example of how fine a novelist he is, don't hesitate to buy this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent half-horror fiction., 25 Sep 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Hearts in Atlantis (Paperback)
A truly brilliant book with great refrences to the dark tower and the gunslinger and I hope the 'breakers' appear a bit in book 5,6 or 7 which are due out soon. A lot of people will argue that this is isn't true King and too many questions were left unanswered. But these questions about Ted and everything are just left to your own imagination which you need an active one to appreciate the fantasy side of these tales. The horror in the the middle three books arn't made to scare the audiance but to scare the characters in the story as the effects, of the 'Horror' in Vietnam, are shown to haunt the minds of characters (Bill Sherman especially). So that sums it up, this book IS classic King because it's BRILLIANT King.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A deeply felt and touching novel, 11 Feb 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Hearts in Atlantis (Hardcover)
Stephen King's latest novel - Hearts in Atlantis - is one of the best books I've ever read. It shows all of King's traditional strength, even though it's not a horror-novel. The scope of this book is the realistic sence of history mixed with an allegorical world, which often is hard to distinguish form the real one. Hearts in Atlantis deals with America during the Vietnam War and the decades to follow. It offers a strong argument against group-thinking, the madness of crowds and suggest that the horror of war is nothing more (or less) than a manifestation of the fear within our own minds. Hearts in Atlantis reassures us that love is all it takes to survive. A true masterpiece.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stephen King amazes me, 22 Aug 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Hearts in Atlantis (Hardcover)
Hearts in Atlantis is proof, not that I ever needed any, but proof all the same that Stephen King is a fantastic author with insight into the minds and souls of his characters,who are merely mirror images of the real people we meet every day. I have never read an author who can draw a character so complete and compelling. hearts in Atlantis is brilliant writing. I read it with a voracious appetite for everything that Kings does wonderfully. His characters, his story, his writing. All are impeccable here. You will rellish hearts in Atlantis. It is one of his very best creations yet!
Andrew
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The film version is better, 12 Jan 2003
By 
Amazon Customer (Glendale, CA USA) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Hearts in Atlantis (Paperback)
At a time when the vanishing World War II generation is paid tribute through books and films, HEARTS IN ATLANTIS is Stephen King's homage to his (and mine), the Vietnam generation.
HEARTS is a series of stories that take place, respectively, in 1960, 1966, 1983, and two in 1999. All are loosely connected through characters we meet in the first, 11-year old Bobby Garfield and his best pals Sully-John and Carol, and one from the group of slightly older boys who torment them, Willie Shearman. Each of the storylines otherwise stands alone, more or less. In 1960, Bobby, a fatherless boy living with an uncaring mother, becomes attached to the world-wise Ted, an old man renting the rooms upstairs who is being hunted by sinister "low men in yellow coats". In 1966, new character Pete is on the verge of flunking out of the university because of his preoccupation with an addictive card game. More important to the book's overall plot, he falls in love with a fellow student, Carol from Story One, and through her discovers the anti-Vietnam peace movement. In 1983, Willie Shearman, a Vietnam veteran, continues to pay a bizarre penance for past sins, chief of which, apparently, was the wrong he did Carol as a boy. In 1999, emotionally and physically scarred Vietnam vet Sully-John remembers his time "in the green". Also in 1999, Carol and Bobby stumble across each other after leading separate lives for almost 40 years. The threads between all five plots are Carol and a beat-up old baseball glove once belonging to Bobby.
This is not one of King's more lucid works. Indeed, the Willie Shearman episode of 1983 needed much more explaining. (My reaction to it was just short of "Huh?!") However, a mediocre book by King is a gem by other standards, so it's impossible not to recommend it on some level. The point the author is trying to make, I think, is that the memories from our formative years, however deformed by succeeding events - in this case the Vietnam conflict - stay with us as powerful emotional catalysts, and perhaps as crippling psychological scars, even unto our twilight years and old age.
The film version of HEARTS IN ATANTIS, based almost solely on the first chapter dealing with the events of 1960, was magical in its use of visual and aural images to evoke that period in the mid-twentieth century when those in childhood, and middle-class America as a whole, were on the verge of losing their innocence. Because both I and the fictional Bobby turned eleven in that year, I could relate. And, I think the book will stir up memories in anyone of my generation, whether he/she fought in Southeast Asia or demonstrated at home.
Not a great book, but worth a read. Definitely see the movie for a more intense burst of the book's flavor.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Uncanny parallel to his real life, 3 April 2010
By 
bernie "xyzzy" (Arlington, Texas) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Hearts in Atlantis (Hardcover)
If you have read his book "On Writing" he has a small biography that parallels this book in nature. The story line and the details were intriguing. The only distraction from this was his constant potty mouth. He must have needed filler to flush (not flesh) out the book. I do not know if that is a recent phenomenon of they all are that way. The movies are not that way.

This is one story with a few rest spots that make some think it is a series of shorts. Do not attempt to read this out of order as each relies on knowledge of the former. The first phase, about the "Low Men", is the only real supernatural section. And as he points out it is the moral environment around the story that makes the supernatural scary. In this phase he also does a dissertation books including "The Lord of the Flies." There are real close corollaries to "The Day the Earth Stood Still" single mother, kid named Bobbie, and a mysterious border. The second phase Deals with a collage life environment, which is a background for molding character and characters. I do not want to tell too much detail, as that is why you read the book. The third phase is broken into two parts, one a story of Willie during and after Nam, then the whole set of previous characters surround by death and near death experiences.

The not so loose stories ingeniously ties together by a certain object that travels throughout the times to add as a catalyst and a conclusion.

Hearts in Atlantis ~ Anthony Hopkins
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Hearts in Atlantis by Stephen King (Paperback - 20 July 2000)
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