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1999 Stephen King – Hearts In Atlantis Audiobook read by Stephen King. and William Hurt
Stephen King was not messing about. His brand new publisher was becoming double barreled capital L literature in the Viscount of Vomit. There was the high-blown gothic, Bag of Bones, then came the small and spiritual Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon, and here was Hearts in Atlantis–a series of Linked Novellas. Can there be a literary form more twee and valuable compared to Linked Novellas?
And these weren’t just any connected novellas, but connected novellas about the Sixties and the Vietnam War (which King missed because of his broken eardrums and flat feet) which is basically a core necessity to attain one’s Serious Man of Letters certification. Stephen King – Hearts In Atlantis Audiobook. Scribner was so thrilled about what they received from their expensive new writer that on the cover they wrote New Fiction rather than cluing readers in that this was either a book told in components, or Linked Novellas, or a selection of short stories. Hell they probably didn’t even understand themselves.
For those searching for evidence that King was effective at cravenly urge ivory tower approval, here was the smoking gun. And when you, like me, get annoyed by the way King’s Dark Tower series compulsively crept into what he was writing during this period, then wait until you see exactly how he jams it in here. On the flip side, Hearts in Atlantis suggests a very different Stephen King. A King who wrote for his University of Maine literary journal, Ubris, then graduated to newsstand literary journals like Tin House as opposed to men’s magazines such as Cavalier. Stephen King – Hearts In Atlantis Audiobook Free. And that’s not intended as an insult. In terms of King’s writing moving beyond celebrity, it is one of his strongest books.
Atlantis2Linked less by plot and more by an overall sense that the Sixties were like missing Atlantis, a glorious era in human achievement that has sunk beneath the waves, leaving behind nary a hint (except for a few mad people who will not shut up about how wonderful it all was), Hearts in Atlantis starts with the maximum novella in the book, and its finest:
Clocking in at about 320 pages, Low Men in Yellow Coats is a novel-sized novella put in that particular Stephen King version of the Sixties, familiar from novellas such as “The Body,” that is dripping with nostalgia but keeps clocking you over the head with the tough realities of class. Bobby Garfield is 11 and he’s a huge reader, wants a bicycle, and loves baseball. He is also desperate for a dad. When sixty-something Ted Brautigan moves to the upper floor of Bobby’s mom’s boarding home it’s not long until he’s is cast in that position. Brautigan’s place as Bobby’s estranged father figure is complicated by Brautigan’s psychic powers and the fact he’s on the run by a bunch of dangerous fellows he explains as low men in yellow coats. Stephen King Hearts In Atlantis Audiobook Download.
There’s no motive for this narrative to be long. When Ted takes Bobby to visit Village of the Damned we receive a two-page blow-by-blow of the film’s plot. Ted hires Bobby to read the newspaper to him and there is a long, long…long scene of him reading a post about boxing to Ted simply so King could shoehorn in among his made-up words from the Dark Tower lexicon (ka-mai in this instance). But this story is also such a special snowflake which you don’t want King to mess with any of it if he upsets its fragile equilibrium.
Atlantis4Bobby and Ted’s connection is at risk not only from the low guys, but also from the narrative’s most persuasive character, Bobby’s mother. A single mom, her protectiveness of Bobby verges on paranoia, but she is also tough-as-nails that is the reason why the simple fact that she is being made to put out for her boss much more shocking. Bobby doesn’t grasp the consequences of her connection with Mr. Biderman, however, the reader does and it is beyond sad. Hearts In Atlantis Audiobook Free.
There are two pages in here in which it might help to understand something about the Dark Tower novels, but that’s more of a hassle than a full blown flaw. The writing here is King at his most upsetting (when Bobby waves goodbye to his mom he’s a bone in his heart), and there’s a genuine tension to the approach of these low men, heralded by key signs and symbols like moons and stars jerking on the sidewalk and lost pet notices published in stores. In the last pages, the book jumps to the near future, and it’s heartbreaking to see this bright, brave, fantastic kid grows up to be a shiftless juvenile delinquent. The child is father to the man, but sometimes it hurts to see it happen.
Hearts in Atlantis
Based on King’s time in the University of Maine at Orono, Hearts in Atlantis is narrated by Pete Riley, a professional student who, along with the rest of his incoming course, needs to keep his GPA and not flunk out so as to avoid the draft. Hearts In Atlantis Audiobook Online. It is not to be. A trend for playing Hearts burns during their doorstep including wildfire, and everyone, Pete included, starts staying up all night in marathon Hearts sessions, not so much for your money but to hide from the increasingly chaotic world around them because the peace movement comes to the blue collar corner of Maine.
Atlantis3As the kids self-destruct, flunking out of college one following another and getting sent overseas to be shot, the story becomes a grim march to the cliff and Pete Riley is next. The something that saves him, and also the connection to Low Men in Yellow Coats, is his connection with Carol Gerber. She had been Bobby Garfield’s childhood girlfriend in Low Men and here she and Pete have a brief fling before she drops from college to look after her family. Her warnings get Pete away Hearts, but as the story ends the human toll of this match is large, and we learn Carol wound up joining the peace movement where she fell under the sway of its militant wing and hammering a recruitment workplace, leading to many deaths.
The weakest of the bunch, “Blind Willie” was printed in the journal Antaeus in 1994 and again in King’s self-published Six Stories in 1997. Stephen King – Hearts In Atlantis Audiobook. It had been revised for the two versions, and again for Hearts in Atlantis but it’s still essentially an extended metaphor for guilt and contrition. Shearman was among those bullies from Low Guys that tormented Bobby Garfield and, at a point, dislocated Carol’s shoulder. He supports his lavish lifestyle with all the money he makes from this scam. I am not certain when a metaphor is so bald that it just becomes heavy-handed excuse, so literal that it is no longer a metaphor in any way, but that’s the stage at which “Blind Willie” exists. Readable, it pays off the interest that carries the reader from page to page. Like the worst in literary fiction it is oblique, clear, not able to couple reality to the imagination, and substitutes plodding symbolism to get the more subtle delights of storyline and character.
Atlantis7Why We’re in Vietnam
Despite additionally featuring a hefty metaphorical chain, Why We Are in Vietnam is no Blind Willie. The shortest story in the book (prior to another one that is more of an epilogue) it picks up with John Sullivan, now a highly successful, middle-aged vehicle salesman attending a funeral for a fellow Vietnam vet. Hearts In Atlantis Audiobook Free. There he meets his former CO, Diefenbaker, and both commiserate over how the new creation is rotten, which leads them to talk about the way their creation squandered the guarantee of the Sixties and sold out the possibility of Atlantis to get a pay check, job safety, and a life of disengagement. In a different car he sees a driver that looks like Carol Gerber and is therefore distracted when a lampshade falls out of the sky. In the midst of this hailstorm of consumer goods, Sullivan suffers a fatal heart attack and the reader understands that this rain of items was his perishing hallucination. The symbolism isn’t as nakedly literal because it was at “Blind Willie” and a guy surviving his brush with death in Vietnam only to perish amid a bunch of suburban detritus feels more creative and surprising instead of hackneyed and belabored. There he runs into Carol Gerber who has settled down, and as dusk falls they sit next to each other and reminisce about yesteryear, using a sign that a romantic relationship, yet fragile, could be starting again. It is a sweet little vignette, but in addition, it brings up the biggest flaw in the book.
Atlantis8Throughout Hearts in Atlantis, Carol has been a woman cut from the same mould as Lois from Insomnia and Paul Edgecomb’s wife in The Green Mile, functional gals who believe fully in their guys, more fantasies of good companions than fully-rounded personalities. Hearts In Atlantis Audiobook Stephen King. The fact is, Carol played with the fantastic companion to three guys in Low Men in Yellow Coats and Hearts at Atlantic but the intriguing variation of Carol, who grew up, joined the peace movement, committed a dreadful crime for what she thought were good motives, and has had to come to terms with that’s nowhere to be found.
Released in September 1999, the achievement of Hearts in Atlantis was overshadowed by King’s near-fatal vehicle crash in June of that year, and his subsequent painful comeback. The book sold well, but the numbers were reduced for King, possibly because most of his press events were canceled after his accident. Hearts only remained on the New York Times bestseller list for 16 weeks, never making it to number one thanks to J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series dominating plantations in the time. Stephen King – Hearts In Atlantis Audiobook. But Hearts is a naturalistic, literary achievement that is a rewarding read, fitting neatly in beside to novels (and novellas) like Cujo, “The Body,” and The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon as some of King’s most ambitious and successful efforts to write fiction that transcended genre. If that sounds a bit high-minded to you, don’t worry.