5 interlinked stories. "Hearts in Atlantis" is about college kids in the 60s who play the cardgame hearts instead of study while the Vietnam War rages in the background. My favorite, "Low Men in Yellow Coats", is about a boy who befriends an old man who seems to be on the lookout constantly. The story is tied to the Dark Tower, where we see Ted Braudigan, again, showing up towards the end of the Dark Tower saga.
Stephen King's Hearts in Atlantis
Review by C. Dennis Moore
Made of four short stories, plus an opening novella (although at 254 pages, I think it's safe to call "Low Men in Yellow Coats" a novel), Hearts covers the years 1960 to 1999 with interconnected narratives, spotlighting different characters whose stories all go back to the summer of 1960. Everything these characters do in the following decades can be traced back to that summer when Bobby Garfield wanted a new bike more than anything else, when Sully-John won his free week at Camp Winnie, and Carol Gerber was beaten with a baseball bat by three boys in the park. And not one story in here is a horror story.
This is my least favorite Stephen King book. This book has several completely different stories with common characters in each story. To me, it was very disjointed and distracting because it didn't flow smoothly as a single story.
I loved the first story about the kid and Ted. It was a great story in itself and then it ended abruptly. I kept wondering what happened to the kid. I kept waiting for him to show up again. The next story about a teenager playing cards at college was a great story too and it also ended abruptly. The remainder of the book was what seemed like separate epilogues of all the minor characters.
In last ten pages we finally find out what happened to the kid and one of the other characters from the first story. At least there was a bit of closure to that story.
I would say that if you have another choice of reading Stephen King books, choose any other one before this one.