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10 thoughts on “Winter's Tale

  1. Michael J.J. Tiffany Michael J.J. Tiffany says:

    I have no doubt that there are worse works of fiction in existence but this is the worst one I've read It is written for people who like the sound of language in their head who want to feel long streams of words washing over them Judging by the popularity and success of this author and others like Proulx there are a lot of those people But it's a terribly low standard that in this case gives us page after page of constructions like this Across the river was an eighteenth century knoll with trees standing upon it like peasant women with arms akimbo and the spotlight of the sun firing their green tops while black shadows below suggested a grove of infinite proportions Disregard the grammar What makes a tree covered knoll an 18th century one? How on Earth can trees look like women with their hands on their hips and their elbows out? Groves are by definition small; if it looks infinite don't call it a grove I swear I'm not being unfair in my uotation picking Before writing this review I flipped back through the book at random finding some ludicrously juvenile word dumps every time I stopped Hilariously you don't need to take my word for it; because this kind of self indulgence draws attention to itself Mark Helprin fans actually post little collections of individual sentences as testaments to his greatness Can you imagine doing that with Steinbeck? Hemingway? Faulkner? Would that be the way to capture their greatness? Ironically then Helprin's fans — and many professional critics — like him for the very reasons I think he's awful the construction of individual sentences draw attention to themselves which is particularly convenient if you're writing a newspaper book review and they are intent on being evocative as an end in itself — a kind of Platonic evocativeness But evocative of what? Well what does an eighteenth century knoll mean to you?

  2. Melki Melki says:

    I wasn't planning to read this book again when my friend Lynn picked it for our October real life book club selection I'd read it in 1985 and while I didn't remember a lot of details I do remember absolutely loving it And then it happenedAt the September meeting the attacks started Well said one woman I almost never give up on a book but I couldn't take than a hundred pages of this one And could somebody please tell me just what the heck a 'cloud wall' is supposed to be?It's so L O N G said another member I'm about a third of the way through and I'm not sure I want to finish whined yet another'Wait a minute' I was thinking 'I LOVED this book didn't I? Or was I just young and stupid and idealistic when I read it?'So I read it again and yes I LOVE THIS BOOK It still casts a spell and the same things that enthralled me over 25 years ago still gripped New York City based in reality yet tinged with fantastical elements and teeming with larger than life charactersWinter cruel and beautiful pristine and cold enough to freeze rivers and lakes; the ice deep enough for palaces to be built and carnivals to be held on the frozen bodies of waterMagic drifting through the book in wispy tendrils and clouds that form mysterious walls behind whichwho knows?Here be legendary lake monsters and flying horsesA burglar who follows his heart and becomes a heroA young woman riddled with consumption who spends each winter night on the roof huddled under blankets and furs all the better to breathe the precious frigid airA villain mesmerized by colorThe couple that holds long conversations through paper thin apartment walls falling in love before ever laying eyes on one another Sounds wonderful doesn't it?What's wrong with the women in my book club? True Lynn and I are the only members who are not grandmothers but does getting older mean you have to lose your child like sense of wonder AND imagination? I refuse to go uietly into that dark and dull void where I will be content reading only The Help The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society and Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet Mind you these are not BAD books but they are SAFE choices and what fun is a book club if everyone says Yes I loved the book then uietly sips their wine?So I will go armed to the book club on the third Wednesday of this month and I will FIGHT for this book and argue that we need to read MORE like it Will I be able to change the hearts and minds of these women so married to their drab tales of marital crisis and family strife? Who knows? I'll make sure I eat dessert first just in case they kick me outAND if you've read this farhere is your reward uite possibly the best line about books ever written in a book The shelf was filled with books that were hard to read that could devastate and remake one's soul and that when they were finished had a kick like a mulePlease fellow readers don't settle Look for books that leave you feeling skinned and kicked ragged breathless awake panting hungry and glad to be alive

  3. Will Byrnes Will Byrnes says:

    The last thing Mrs Gamely said to her daughter was “Remember what we are trying to do in this life is to shatter time and bring back the dead” Winter’s Tale is a BIG book I refer not only to its 748 page length but to its ambition It is a big book about big ideas and it takes some big characters to realize the author’s ambition There are a few here Colin Farrell as Peter Lake the rock on which Mark Helprin builds much of his story shares his genesis with the likes of Moses and Kal El set adrift as an infant in a small craft in New York harbor when his immigrant wannabe parents are about to be turned away Foundling Peter is raised by a group known at Baymen an unusual band that is part deep interior bayou folk and part Native Americans They inhabit and work the Bayonne Marsh a piece of New Jersey visible from New York harbor His story is the primary character driven thread here We see Peter and this world from the beginning of the twentieth century to the turn of the millennium Peter makes his way from Dickensian street urchin to mechanic to gang member and burglar to something granderListo as Athansor is a great white horse the stuff of legends which comes in handy when there are impossible distances to be leapt and rescues or escapes to be effected Boy meets horse when this milk truck euine’s fanciful walkabout through the city is interrupted by his encounter with Peter who is fleeing for his life from the Short Tails gang and its larger than life leader Pearly Soames Pearly would like to send Peter to meet his maker with extreme prejudice for a betrayal we will learn about later Athansor and Peter gallop through this imaginary version of New York doing things like snatching hats off policemen and dashing through a theater in mid performance A real hoofer on Broadway If you think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship you would be right Hi ho Athansor AwayJessica Brown Findlay as Beverly Penn is a consumptive 18 year old they upped her to 21 for the film heiress who suffers so from the fever of her condition that she sleeps on the roof in winter in order to cool off Cue the Drifters She is playing the piano when she is startled seeing Peter as he is in the process of burglarizing the family home Having had a vision that something significant would be changing her life it seems clear to her that the something is the criminal element in her living room She has other visions as well visual and auditory perceptions of a reality beyond that of which mere mortals are aware There are other large figures in the story and other story lines but these are the main ones And the story of Peter and Beverly’s love is balanced by Pearly and Peter’s antipathy Russell Crowe as Pearly Soames with his droogies Short TailsThe author is not content to weave a tale around his maybe doomed lovers but offers us other couples to tote some of that emotional freight We meet families at various points in their history A tot in one section becomes a capitalist scion in another for example I will spare you too much plot summary or a fuller list of characters Even by my generous standards it would be excessively long But I have included a link to such a blow by blow in the Extra Stuff section if that seems useful Suffice it to say that in upstate New York there is a Brigadoon like town known as The Lake of the Coheeries and some pretty magical things take place there No you do not have to wait a hundred years before it appears It actually does not appear on any maps but can be accessed if you know how It is the source for several of our additional characters and some fabulously creative images It lies beyond the crucible zone that surrounds the city substituting a huge hill of ice and snow as a barrier for the white clouds that enclose the city farther south The town serves as a fairyland version of the country in the same way that Helprin’s vision of New York City well really Manhattan His vision of the city offers little for the other four boroughs than a Breughelian image of them as places to avoid is a fantastical version of the real place But all this seems a maguffin for the real business here which lies in the themes being addressedThemesMark Halperin has written a love song to New York well parts of it anyway There is a stunning lyricism to his descriptions of the city alive with romantic vision yet also fueled by a dose of paranoia and class fear But he is after bigger fish than venting his affection for The Big Apple or whatever nickname might apply in his alternate universe a whole ocean’s worth Small matters like free will the nature of existence the relationship between the rational and the spiritual the nature of time justice mortality You know stuffHelprin argues that the spiritual must accompany the rational or the result is a soulless existence Well we've been mechanized We view ourselves as mechanisms This is a trend since The Enlightenment The Enlightenment in my view has two streams a good stream and a bad stream The good stream is the beauty of reason to approach something via scientific method via logic The ugly part of The Enlightenment is that if you confine yourselves to those methods then you are limiting yourself in terms of your understanding of what a human soul is By necessity because you cannot define the soul as it's not subject to proof human beings become mechanisms Without faith a person is a mechanism and then there's no reason he shouldn't be treated or work under those assumptions as a mechanism from Contemporary Lit interviewIs there some underlying logic to our universe machines physical psychic or spiritual that whirr turn and grind to support everything? “Apart from natural laws from the world as we know it” Hardesty speculated “maybe there are laws of organization which bind us to patterns that we can’t see and to tasks that we don’t perceive” And Helprin takes a long view of things “Churchmen” she had said “like Boissy d’Anglas burn themselves up in seeking and they find nothing If your faith is genuine then you meet your responsibilities fulfill your obligations and wait until you are found It will come If not to you then to your children and if not to them then to their children” Helprin posits a world or worlds in which the select few can see and access an underlying reality and it is not clear that there is a path to this understanding other than dumb luck One must wonder if the writers of The Matrix or promoters of born again isms had Helprin in mind her strength was not derived from things which can be catalogued or reasonably discussed She had an inexplicable lucidity a power to see things for what they were Somehow she had come into possession of a pure standard It was as if lightning had struck the ground in front of her and had been frozen and prolonged until she could see along its bright and transparent shaft all the way to its absolute source No this is not taken from the Left Behind series and Bev was not bitten by an irradiated spiderThe city as crucible which we first see from a god like view looking down is surrounded by an enormous and deitifically powerful white cloud Unlike the low hanging clouds in real NYC which can make building tops appear to vanish when they pass through this white cloud can actually take the things it touches It makes the city into an almost closed system that will experience both the deadly cold of extreme winter and intense heat from another source “these winters have not been for nothing They are the plough The wind and the stars are harrowing the land and battering the city I feel it and can see it in everything The animals know it is coming The ships in the harbor rush about and have come alive because it is coming I may be dead wrong but I do believe that every act has significance and that in our time all the ceaseless thunder is not for nothing” There is the potential for greatness in cities this one in particular but there must be a blood letting in order to usher in a new golden age and that seems perfectly fine for the god of this novel The notion of justice also comes in for considerable attention Peter’s first craft is named “City of Justice” Jackson Mead a builder of bridges says “My purpose in one word is justice” A significant silver tray that Hardesty Marratta a significant character cherishes in inscribed thus “For what can be imagined than the sight of a perfectly just city rejoicing in justice alone” Peter engages in a uest for justice as well In a passage about time justice gets the final word The universe is still and complete Everything that ever was is; everything that ever will be is—and so on in all possible combinations Though in perceiving it we imagine that it is in motion and unfinished it is uite finished and uite astonishingly beautiful In the end or rather as things really are any event no matter how small is intimately and sensibly tied to all others All the lost ones are redeemed; the dead come back to life; the perfectly blue days that have begun and ended in golden dimness continue immobile and accessible; and when all is perceived in such a way as to obviate time justice becomes apparent not as something that will be but as something that is And it’s just tough luck on those who fall afoul of the currents of time If you are rich then I guess you were meant to be and if you were dirt poor well sorry it was always thus It does strike me that this is a point of view that might be favored by those who have landed in the cushier seats ImageryBe careful where you step You may bump into another image Gates figure large here Both the literal gates that surround the Battery in lower Manhattan and a set of four psychic gates that cities are supposed to have resonating with the four parts of the novel visible of course only to people who are very very special Color figures large Pearly whose name certainly reflects the seasonal milieu is deeply affected by color and seeks it out by whatever means possible But whereas the wall was white the city was a palette of upwelling colors Its forms and geometry entranced him—the orange blaze in clear upper windows; a gas lamp’s green and white bell like glare; leaping tongues of fire; red hot booming chambers in the charcoal; shoe black horses trotting airily at the head of varnished carriages; peaked and triangular roofs; the ballet of the crowds as they took stairs turned corners and forged across streets; the guttural noise of machinerysails that filled the ends of streets with billows of white or sharp angular planes and then collapsed into the bordering buildings or made of themselves a guillotine Blue and gold come in for particular and much repeated attention Stars shine brightly here as well whether the actual universe of stars or their simulacra in a large chamber or a magical painting Bridges and rainbows carry significance as well Machines are also than mere mechanisms Mark Helprin image from NPRPoliticsIn case you did not know Helprin is a political sort a conservative true believer who writes speeches for Republican leaders His particular sensibilities enter here as well as he offers the odd diatribe on how any sort of public assistance is a form of satanic temptation leading good people astray and allowing bad people to milk the rest of us to support what is portrayed as a life of low leisure He also has a vision of wide swaths of the lower classes as being purely bent on destruction as if the race riots of the 60s had burned a hole in his vision and he was forced thereafter to see everything in the world through those altered lenses It gets intrusive at times At least he has the decency to balance his Ayn Randish laudatory portrayal of one mogul with an eually dark one of another a Rupert Murdoch stand in And he does offer an interesting proposal for an ideal way to organize a company that speaks to a need for fairness but which would never be tolerated in the real world by those whose mission it is to absorb ALL the wealth He also harbors a view of criminality that is to say the least eccentric That said the political aspect while present and occasionally toxic could have been a lot worse In SumWhat is impressive about Winter’s Tale is the sheer volume of creativity on display here His portrayal of a Dickensian sort of steam punk New York was fascinating and effective The Lake of the Coheeries is very effectively magical But just as it is wonderful to enjoy a slice of cake it can become a different sort of experience if one were to try devouring the entire thing So it is here a case of creativity run amok The author wanders off For example after we have invested in Peter Beverly and Athansor Helprin sets them aside for almost two hundred pages to play in some other snow fields Really? Helprin is at his weakest when attempting a sort of slapstick humor Those bits fall very very flat As do sections where a character acuires otherworldly powers And Athansor’s propensity for arriving in the nick of time to save this or that one makes one wonder if he might have been a sort of deity made by one of the many machines that populate the story If you have not yet read Winter’s Tale prepare to make a special effort to keep track of the characters There are many And oh yeah lest you think the opening uote was purely gratuitous there are resurrections here Helprin is definitely thinking BIGYou may find Winter’s Tale exhilarating and you may find it exhausting You may feel enlarged by the beauty of the imagery and reduced by the occasional mean spiritedness manifested by the author You may feel intellectually stimulated by the grand notions portrayed but deadened by the familiar trope of access being reserved only to the elect You may feel deeply at the poetry of Helprin’s descriptions they certainly sing to me in my love for my home town but may experience frustration that he takes so bloody long to get to the point Winter’s Tale may leave you cold or it may warm you to unimagined possibilities But whether your reaction is pain exultation or both you will definitely react Winter’s Tale has been called one of the 25 greatest American novels of the 20th Century I do not agree but I can see why some people think that It is pretty clear that it is one of the most ambitious I believe it would have been a better book with a tighter focus and about two hundred or so fewer pages But even though I have issues with the book I do believe that it is well worth reading Winter’s Tale may not have completely warmed the cockles of my reader’s heart but it is still pretty chillPosted February 28 2014EXTRA STUFFInterview with MH in The Paris Review and in Contemporarylitcom – This the source of the uote from the author used in the reviewThis review in the Thriving Family web site contains a detailed run through of the events of the book and a look at some of the imageryOopsy I used an incorrect image for Mark Helprin when putting together this review A helpful GR reader noted the error and a correction has been made But you might prefer the image of actor Edward Fox that was used in error I know I doMark Helprin ok ok really Edward Fox as a white walkerA film was made of the book released in 2014 While it completely lacks the grandness of the novel I still found it enjoyable Colin Farrell was fine in the lead Russell Crowe perfect as Pearly Soames and Jessica Finley very appealing as the ethereal Beverly It will remind you of elements of the book without at all capturing the larger vision

  4. Helena Helena says:

    Ulysses is the most important book in my life Winter's Tale is my favorite If Ulysses is like that boyfriendgirlfriend with whom you're Totaly Fucking In Love and with whom you constantly fight and break up and get back together and cheat on or get cheated on by and break up with again and get back together with again and sit in your car outside their house listening to Fall Out Boy and crying and about whom you talk incessantly to your friends about what an Impossible Heartless Pointless Slutty Asshole they are and then light up like a schoolchild on Christmas morning when you get a text message from them then Winter's Tale is like the best friend who you kind of secretly want to marry one day Winter's Tale is an 800 give or take page metaphysical fairy tale about a fictionalized New York City Its extremely historical and should appeal anyone who like me is a geek for anything about the history of Manhattan particularly in the sections set amongst the gang wars in the five points neighborhood in the mid nineteenth century and yet at the same time the universe in which the book dwells is just slightly removed from ours a magic realist retelling of the history of New York and by extension America It follows an extraordinarily skilled grand larcenist named Peter Lake who may or may not in fact be immortal and through his experience and the experience of an ever widening web of those associated to him by degrees builds a mythology of and for the city in which it is setThe prose is dense and luxurious as is the semi dickensian plotline There are at least 15 characters who could each support an entire book of their own I guarantee you will fall in love with SOMEONE depicted in this novel Unlike many modern authors who seem to be operating on the assumption that the fewer words you use the cooler you'll be Helrpin writes phrases sentences and paragraphs like gourmet meals There are moments in this book so good that they make the reader forget to breathe It is one of the best literary adventures I've yet had Also I used to own 5 copies of this book and I currently known none If you have my copy of Winter's Tale please return it won't you?

  5. Bart Bart says:

    If it’s possible for a novel to establish its author as a good writer but a poor novelist Winter’s Tale might be the book to do it Helprin has great talent for description good talent for language remedial talent for storytelling and almost nothing that resembles perspectiveThere’s a passage somewhere between pages 600 and 700 where Helprin goes hog wild in his description of the opening shot of a billiards game The spheres are crashing and the green felt is cowering and the angles are all aligning – and it comes pretty close to being suirmingly bad a moment when one feels a bit embarrassed for the author What makes it important to an analysis of Helprin’s work is that it shows that for Helprin words are really the only important elements of writing; that is the ideas they express are accidental results of the sounds they make and the ephemeral effects they haveThere is a pretty rich story here though sometimes Peter Lake is a likable character and his romance with Beverly Penn is an intriguing and touching oneBut then we put Mr Lake away for a long time – than half this enormous novel – and describe and describe and describe The rest of the characters however cleverly named all look the same There are some of Thomas Pynchon’s lamentable tricks – including a set of employees named after books in an encyclopedia set – and for a while Helprin seems to dabble in hyper realism And those detours add up to approximately 350 pages a full novel in other words that a reader regrets suffering through by the endAh the end One begins hoping round about page 500 that the end will explain all the numbing detail and description one has endured and is yet to endure But the end does nothing of the sort Helprin can’t seem to figure out how to end the novel actually Is the novel about Peter Lake? is it about a giant white horse? is it about a villainous gang? is it about New York City? Yes yes yes No not uiteThe novel is about love In fact the epilogue of this massive work finds the author helpfully instructing the reader to look inside his heart to figure out what the novel is about For those readers who are annoyed by Tolstoy’s philosophy of history lecture at the end of War and Peace Helprin holds a familiar treat After almost 800 pages he feels compelled to do a little summarizing He even asks the reader if she remembers some of the characters from a month or so back And the reader responds understandably aloud “No I don’t”Were this novel 400 pages long and concerned only with the Peter Lake and Beverly Penn characters it would be recommendable But at its actual length finally it asks too much of the reader and reciprocates too little

  6. Derek Derek says:

    Flowery and ultimately meaninglessThere are many beautifully descriptive passages mostly of the wind snow; the best are those concerning the magical horse Althansor Unfortunately there are many of them and I found my heart beginning to sink whenever another chapter began with another beautifully descriptive passage about the wind snowI never did discover a plot The human characters came and went without any real impact either on the story or on me although the magical horse is characterized probably better than most Peter Lake does span the whole novel but he spends the final part in a daze of incomprehension which I shared The occasional moments of drama all resolved easily and without any great surprisesI was irritated by the wholesale dismissal of non central characters but it seemed I was expected to believe in the city I am reluctant to call it New York because it is obviously not a real place and care what happened to itIn the end I felt no attachment to the city and it seemed finally that the author didn't either

  7. Violet wells Violet wells says:

    I've got little chance of meeting my reading challenge this year because I keep reading books that weigh than I do This one runs to almost 750 pages On the back cover someone refers to it as a gifted writer's love affair with language which perhaps is a polite way of saying it's a very self indulgent novel Essentially it's a writer with prodigious resources of vitality and mental agility enjoying himself I won't attempt to outline the plot because at best I only half understood it It's a kind of alternative history of New York bristling with whimsy flying horses and psychopathic dwarfs in fancy dress and rather half baked philosophy But for all that it is enjoyable Principally because Helprin writes so well You always see hear smell what he describes The visuals are often fabulous with many memorable images but it's perhaps a novel of brilliant setpieces rather than one of compelling narrative drive and consistency This partly due to the excessive number of characters all of whom fall a little short of being riveting At times Helprin reminds me of David Mitchell the mischief and vitality though the former's humour is less sophisticated The novel contains a fair few gratuitous comic sketches few of which worked for me I'd rate it at about 37 stars

  8. Chaitra Chaitra says:

    Wow This is the worst magical realism book I've ever read and I've read Salman Rushdie's Fury Bottom line is that I don't mind crap but I do mind deadly dull crap Everything happens without much point even within the universe of the book Why would a super idealistic newspaper run a column entitled The Mayor Looks Like an Egg Period? Why is it that the one horrid person in the universe is a complete buffoon? What was the point of the horse other than a deus ex machina? Why did the little girl die in the first place? What is the point of her coming back to life? Why did we hear about Beverly's so called prophecy of the little girl in the last 50 pages of the book? And worst of all why is there that complete copout of for what happened to Peter Lake it must be left to the reader's imagination? My imagination's pretty strong I could have imagined what happened to him about 500 pages before it was actually asked of me Such a pointless waste of timeI'm going to make an exception and write a review even before I'm done with it because I'm not sure I'll remember or even want to when I'm done with it I can't remember where I read it but I did I swear that Mark Helprin did not consider Winter's Tale to be Magical Realism In fact I remember him being downright snooty about the kind of fiction that came from South America He's right No matter what criticism you can level at One Hundred Days of Solitude the one thing you cannot say is that it's incoherent The magic there works in conjunction with the story and does not stick out like some sore thumb What is he telling with this story? If winter was a tree this would be a Terrence Malick movie Characters are not half well described as the beloved snow drifts and some weird cloud wall that may or may not surround New York In fact the characters could be replaced by a piece of cardboard and we would not know the difference These are not people they are types How many people will fall in love as soon as they see a person? How many times will Helprin insist that this is true love? How can such purity sustain itself? It's not the only pure concept either I mean how many times are we going to get beaten on the head with there is nothing beautiful than the sight of a just city rejoicing in justice alone? Alright we get it There's no need to have every character repeat the blathering Does he think that if it's repeated often enough it will become true? The women of this thing deserve their own paragraph Beverly the first one is an impossible character to exist She's too beautiful to exist but exist she does Animals in the stars talk to her as she lies in the specially made rooftop room and she writes down euations explaining the workings of the universe She makes things happen The most villainous of people turns into mush well he sleeps when she's around And if this isn't enough she's dying By consumption The one disease that enhances beauty rather than ravaging it She's unspoiled before she hops into bed with a thief and a stranger for no other reason than she's horny But this is true love Then there is Virginia Not as impossibly beautiful as Beverly seriously there's no match for her but still perfect Add to that she talks like a lexicologist at a seminar which I found mind numbing but what do I know The people who she talks to are so dazzled by her sparkling conversation that they end up giving her a job starting yesterday as a columnist no less But she being oh so very humble decides to start from the bottom She has this lovely attribute of dreaming the future So far she's seen nothing that is bad for her Also she has some random stranger fall in love with her instantly see the theme? and nicely for her he's young handsome and believes her crazy fantasies True love Edit after page 373 More random people falling in love this time via a wall And of course when they finally meet the girl is beautiful and the man not bad at all What is the purpose of introducing so many characters I wonder other than to make them fall in love with each other? More about the horse which to me doesn't serve any purpose other than rescuing Peter Lake whenever Pearly Soames corners him Why is it even there? And I find it hilarious that there is a character in the book who talks like she is raping the dictionary Why that is exactly how I feel about Helprin when I run into an endless description of snow

  9. Cristin Cristin says:

    So what if Helprin's political views make me want to spew in the nearest barf receptacle? He created Peter Lake and I don't care about much else This is an intense example of magical realism At times the reader must willingly suspend his or her disbelief until the very notion of disbelief is shot straight to hell Still it is about the journey Helprin takes us on not the destination we anticipate at the beginning of the story Meet Peter Lake a middle aged exceedingly clever burglar who is brought into the world under extraordinary circumstancesthe rest of his unimaginably incredible life is in essence comprised of one miracle after another until your brain is dangerously close to bursting and your eyes are brimming at the mere thought of him He's kind of a riot and possesses an Irish you'll come to find that while he's not an authentic Irishman he owns the title for a reason wit that is inexhaustible though not overstated Peter falls madly in love with Beverly Penn a beautiful frail young woman who despite her few years on Earth displays the wisdom and sensitivity of someone five times her ageShe's almost unearthly and her love for Peter Lake is like an infinitely blazing star or rather a universe of infinitesimal blazing stars that are perpetually waltzing about to a pianoplaying softly Their love story which is the focus of the first half of this beast of a book will undoubtedly consume you much like Life consumed Beverly PennThroughout the majority of the book Peter Lake is running from the relentless pursuits of the morally corrupt vacuous band of thieves known as the Short Tails Lead by the infamous electric Pearly Soames the Short Tails will stop at nothing to end Peter Lake Fortunately Peter Lake has a sort of guardian angel in the form of Athansor the white horse I’ll save explanation and mention only that many of the scenes that feature Athansor made me cry–not from sadness but from appreciation for his sheer beauty The rest of the story is far too complex to attempt to explain Helprin is certainly erudite among other thingsAt times I actually began to shake my head while reading thinking “Well now this bastard is just showing off” His prose is dense and lyrical and at times it seems almost magical How a person so stubbornly conservative can produce work like this is beyond me Forgive me I’m prejudiced against conservatives although I was in a rather intense relationship with one at one timeopposites attract I guess I do not mean to suggest that conservatives can’t make first rate artistsor do I? I just don’t understand how 748 pages of passion could come pouring out of Helprin like some crazy love lavaif the source is wellSo stuffy Still I’m making assumptions which always makes an ass of me Here are some of my favorite excerpts from Winter’s Tale aptly named after Shakespeare's play The Winter's Tale in which people disappear for long stretches of time and later reveal themselves to be bursting with life I’ll let the words work their own magic and uit blundering about with my own clumsy ham fisted words There were small shrines and forgotten places that were for Peter Lake like the roadside altars of the Alps an old doorway lost in shadow and peeling paint a cemetery tucked between monstrous buildings though a hundred thousand people might pass in a day very likely not one turned his head to look in or hesitated to read an inscription or a name hidden gardens house fronts meaningful views down strangely crooked streets places that seemed to harbor an invisible presenceIt was something that he could understand only with the gifts that come of early morning one of those things like a dream that one cannot always piece together again to remember and feel in sunlight and day And yet enough early risings and enough work of heart and memory will bring it half alive from unfamiliar depths like a slowly panting fish hauled on deck with fading eyes that beg for the seaPretty friggin' awesome huh?

  10. Courtney Courtney says:

    Wow This book is magic And I do not mean it is magical to read but that literally it contains magicLet me start by stressing that this novel is for READERS Not people who say they like to read but only do so occasionally or lightly Or even those who do delve into many wonderful works but only when the stars are aligned This is a rewarding and wondrous book for those who will actually take time for it and really get lost inside If you are not that kind of person than maybe you should pick something else bc otherwise you may grow tired try to force through it steamroll along missing the point the wonder the magic This book deserves than that When I first began I was a little thrown off by the style and the story itself but soon I was caught inside and it was wonderful I read all the time and very very seldom do I find myself so completely wrapped up in a book a story so intense and incredible that I feel both protective and proud of the text the characters everything To sum up I loved this book It did an excellent job of allowing the reader to lose themselves in its pages Great story great characters uniue writing a great journey

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Winter's Tale ➶ [Read] ➲ Winter's Tale By Mark Helprin ➾ – New York City is subsumed in arctic winds dark nights and white lights its life unfolds for it is an extraordinary hive of the imagination the greatest house ever built and nothing exists that can che New York City is subsumed in arctic winds dark nights and white lights its life unfolds for it is an extraordinary hive of the imagination the greatest house ever built and nothing exists that can check its vitality One night in winter Peter Lake orphan and master mechanic attempts to rob a fortress like mansion on the Upper West SideThough he thinks the house is empty the daughter of the house is home Thus begins the love between Peter Lake a middle aged Irish burglar and Beverly Penn a young girl who is dyingPeter Lake a simple uneducated man because of a love that at first he does not fully understand is driven to stop time and bring back the dead His great struggle in a city ever alight with its own energy and besieged by unprecedented winters is one of the most beautiful and extraordinary stories of American literature.