4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Too many broken hearts,
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This review is from: Hearts in Atlantis (Kindle Edition)
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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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 28 Apr 2013 00:02:31 BDT
Kevin Fisher says:
I totally agree. The novel is profound and moving and I really struggle to understand the poor reviews by some people.
Posted on 27 Jun 2013 15:32:55 BDT
Kevan James says:
Yeah, I agree, this is one of SK's best. As I've got older I find myself enjoying the 'normal people' focussed books much more. Probably why I enjoyed "Joyland" so much!
In reply to an earlier post on 27 Jun 2013 19:22:47 BDT
Hi Kevan... I haven't started Joyland yet - am looking forward to it now :)
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