From Publishers Weekly
Energetic prose, poetic images of great intensity and an antic imagination combine in this gripping moral fable narrated by a septuagenarian irrevocably altered by WW I. This BOMC main selection was on PW 's hardcover bestseller list for eight weeks.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Library Journal
In summer 1964, a distinguished-looking gentleman in his seventies dismounts on principle from a streetcar that was to carry him from Rome to a distant village, instead accompanying on foot a boy denied a fare. As they walk, he tells the boy the story of his life. A young aesthete from a privileged Roman family, Alesandro Giuliani found his charmed existence shattered by the coming of World War I. The war led to an onerous tour of duty, inadvertent desertion, near-execution, forced labor, service high in the Italian Alps that took advantage of his (and Helprin's) skill at mountain climbing, capture by the enemy, and return home, dispossessed of most of his friends and family. Along the way, he gains, loses, and eventually rediscovers love. This rousingly good story of survival is all the more remarkable in the telling. The language is rich without cloying, complex yet luminous in Helprin's best style. In a number of thoughtful philosophical passages as engaging as any adventure story, Alesandro struggles to reconcile his appreciation of beauty and his religious faith with the horror around him. That he finally persuades us to believe in a "God without any hope, in a God of splendor and terror" is testimony to the indomitable human spirit. Highly recommended. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 2/15/91.-Barbara Hoffert, "Library Journal"
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.