This publication marks the 50th anniversary of Stephen King’s entrance into the University of Maine at Orono in the fall of 1966. The accelerating war in Vietnam and great social upheaval at home exerted a profound impact on students of the period and deeply influenced King’s development as a writer and as a man.
King’s fictional treatment of this experience in his novella “Hearts in Atlantis” (reprinted in this volume) tracks his youthful avatar, Peter Riley, through the awakenings and heartbreak of his turbulent first year at UMaine. In his accompanying essay, “Five to One, One in Five,” written expressly for this volume, King sheds his fictional persona and takes on the challenge of a nonfiction return to his undergraduate experience. The stereoscopic combination of these narratives, told with King’s characteristic blend of canny insight and self-deprecating humor, create a revealing portrait of the artist as young man and a ground-level tableau of this highly charged time.
In addition, twelve fellow students and friends from King’s college days contribute personal narratives recalling their own experience of those years. These recollections—engaged, irreverent, and affecting—bring dimension and texture to the collective witnessing of a formative time in their lives and a defining moment in the country’s history.
This book also includes four installments of King’s never-before-reprinted student newspaper column, “King’s Garbage Truck.” These lively examples of King’s damn-the-torpedoes style, entertaining and shrewd in their youthful perceptions, more than hint at a talent about to take its place in the American literary landscape.
A gallery of period photographs and documents augments this volume.
Hearts in Suspension ($30) will be published on November 7, 2016.