Excerpt from Hearts In Atlantis by Stephen King, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Hearts In Atlantis

by Stephen King

Hearts In Atlantis
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Sep 1999, 528 pages
    Paperback:
    Aug 2000, 624 pages

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


"Who's Ben Jonson?"

"An Englishman, dead these many years," Mr. Brautigan said. "Self-centered and foolish about money, by all accounts; prone to flatulence as well. But -- "

"What's that? Flatulence?"

Ted stuck his tongue between his lips and made a brief but very realistic farting sound. Bobby put his hands to his mouth and giggled into his cupped fingers.

"Kids think farts are funny," Ted Brautigan said, nodding. "Yeah. To a man my age, though, they're just part of life's increasingly strange business. Ben Jonson said a good many wise things between farts, by the way. Not so many as Dr. Johnson -- Samuel Johnson, that would be -- but still a good many."

"And Boris..."

"Pasternak. A Russian," Mr. Brautigan said dismissively. "Of no account, I think. May I see your books?"

Bobby handed them over. Mr. Brautigan (Ted, he reminded himself, you're supposed to call him Ted) passed the Perry Mason back after a cursory glance at the title. The Clifford Simak novel he held longer, at first squinting at the cover through the curls of cigarette smoke that rose past his eyes, then paging through it. He nodded as he did so.

"I have read this one," he said. "I had a lot of time to read previous to coming here."

"Yeah?" Bobby kindled. "Is it good?"

"One of his best," Mr. Brautigan -- Ted -- replied. He looked sideways at Bobby, one eye open, the other still squinted shut against the smoke. It gave him a look that was at once wise and mysterious, like a not-quite-trustworthy character in a detective movie. "But are you sure you can read this? You can't be much more than twelve."

"I'm eleven," Bobby said. He was delighted that Ted thought he might be as old as twelve. "Eleven today. I can read it. I won't be able to understand it all, but if it's a good story, I'll like it."

"Your birthday!" Ted said, looking impressed. He took a final drag on his cigarette, then flicked it away. It hit the cement walk and fountained sparks. "Happy birthday dear Robert, happy birthday to you!"

"Thanks. Only I like Bobby a lot better."

"Bobby, then. Are you going out to celebrate?"

"Nah, my mom's got to work late."

"Would you like to come up to my little place? I don't have much, but I know how to open a can. Also, I might have a pastry -- "

"Thanks, but Mom left me some stuff. I should eat that."

"I understand." And, wonder of wonders, he looked as if he actually did. Ted returned Bobby's copy of Ring Around the Sun. "In this book," he said, "Mr. Simak postulates the idea that there are a number of worlds like ours. Not other planets but other Earths, parallel Earths, in a kind of ring around the sun. A fascinating idea."

"Yeah," Bobby said. He knew about parallel worlds from other books. From the comics, as well.

Ted Brautigan was now looking at him in a thoughtful, speculative way.

"What?" Bobby asked, feeling suddenly self-conscious. See something green? his mother might have said.

For a moment he thought Ted wasn't going to answer -- he seemed to have fallen into some deep and dazing train of thought. Then he gave himself a little shake and sat up straighter. "Nothing," he said. "I have a little idea. Perhaps you'd like to earn some extra money? Not that I have much, but -- "

"Yeah! Cripes, yeah!" There's this bike, he almost went on, then stopped himself. Best keep yourself to yourself was yet another of his mom's sayings. "I'd do just about anything you wanted!"

Ted Brautigan looked simultaneously alarmed and amused. It seemed to open a door to a different face, somehow, and Bobby could see that, yeah, the old guy had once been a young guy. One with a little sass to him, maybe. "That's a bad thing to tell a stranger," he said, "and although we've progressed to Bobby and Ted -- a good start -- we're still really strangers to each other."

Copyright © 1999 by Stephen King

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

One-Month Free Membership

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Harmony
    Harmony
    by Carolyn Parkhurst
    In previous novels such as The Dogs of Babel and Lost and Found, Carolyn Parkhurst has shown herself...
  • Book Jacket: Commonwealth
    Commonwealth
    by Ann Patchett
    Opening Ann Patchett's novel Commonwealth about two semi-functional mid-late 20th Century ...
  • Book Jacket: A Gentleman in Moscow
    A Gentleman in Moscow
    by Amor Towles
    It is June 21, 1922, and 33-year-old Count Alexander Ilyich Rostov is convicted of being a class ...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Tea Planter's Wife
    by Dinah Jefferies

    An utterly engrossing, compulsive page-turner set in 1920s Ceylon.

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Darling Days
    by iO Tillett Wright

    A devastatingly powerful memoir of one young woman's extraordinary coming of age.

    Read Member Reviews

Book Discussions
Book Jacket
Under the Udala Trees
by Chinelo Okparanta

Raw, emotionally intelligent and unflinchingly honest--a triumph.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win this book!
Win Blood at the Root

Blood at the Root

"A gripping, timely, and important examination of American racism."
- PW Starred Review

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

D C Y C Before T A H

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
X

Free Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with what's happening in the world of books:
Reviews, previews, interviews and more!



Spam Free: Your email is never shared with anyone; opt out any time.