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Winter's Tale Paperback – June 1, 2005


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 768 pages
  • Publisher: Mariner Books; 1 edition (June 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0156031191
  • ISBN-13: 978-0156031196
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.3 x 2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (813 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,944 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Issued on audio for the first time to celebrate the 25th anniversary of its publication, this version of Helprin's classic novel is a huge disappointment. Helprin's book is one of the great works of American fiction of the last quarter-century and a classic New York novel, but Oliver Wyman reads it as if it were a bedtime story for children. Playing up the whimsy of Helprin's urban fantasy, Wyman entirely misunderstands the nature of the book, which is more philosophical than fanciful, and with a sense of imagination not childish but deeply adult. Not grasping these facts, Wyman treats the book as a New York Harry Potter, and the result is a mess unworthy of this great book. A Harvest Books paperback.(Apr.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

"This novel is imaginatively engaging as well as entertaining, and it will find an eager audience among adults and older adolescents alike," predicted LJ's reviewer quite accurately (LJ 8/83)?the book became a smash best seller. This magical story of the multiple lives of protagonist Peter Lake is now available in an oversized trade paper edition.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Educated at Harvard, Princeton, and Oxford, MARK HELPRIN served in the Israeli army, Israeli Air Force, and British Merchant Navy. He is the author of, among other titles, A Dove of the East and Other Stories, Refiner's Fire, Winter's Tale, and A Soldier of the Great War. He lives in Virginia.

Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars
5 star
316
4 star
90
3 star
106
2 star
120
1 star
181
See all 813 customer reviews
Too much description and not enough story.
J9CA
Maybe you will like it...but if you get 150 pages into this book and it doesn't grab you, then don't waste your reading time.
Liz Loves books!
It is beautifully written and it has a wonderful story of love and compassion.
Lynn Lauret

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

647 of 682 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 17, 2000
Format: Paperback
Winter's Tale, a gorgeous masterpiece by master writer Mark Helprin is a book about the beauty and complexity inherent in the human soul, about God, love and justice and the power of dreams, those that take place while we sleep and those that we conceive while awake.
The story begins and ends with Peter Lake: orphan, master mechanic, and master second-storey man. One night Peter attempts to rob a fortresslike mansion in New York's Upper West Side. Although he believes the house to be empty, it is not. Beverly Penn, daughter of the owner is home. Home and dying, and thus begins a love affair between a middle-aged Irish burgler and a fatally-ill heiress.
A simple and uneducated man, Lake cannot understand the love in which he becomes so thoroughly entangled that he is driven "to stop time and bring back the dead."
Inbetween the story of Peter Lake and his quest to overcome death through the power of enduring love, Helprin shows us a magical view of a New York City that is, at times, so extraoridnarily real you think you are there, and at other times so magical you only wish you could be.
All of Helprin's protagonists, however, are not native New Yorkers and have come from elsewhere to seek their destiny, a fact that goes a long way towards helping those of us not familiar with the city feel that we have come to both know and love it.
Winter's Tale spans the entire twentieth century and we get a glimpse of everything from horse drawn carriages on cobbled streets to lunatics who rub elbows with sable-wrapped heiresses on Fifth Avenue.
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242 of 258 people found the following review helpful By OmnivorousReader on August 7, 2001
Format: Paperback
Winter's Tale was the first contemporary novel I ever bought in hardcover; it came out when I was 13 years old, and I was so taken by the worshipful front page review in the NY Times Book Review that I bought it. At the time, most of my literary reading had consisted of Charles Dickens novels, and David Copperfield had already put the writing bug in me. But it was Winter's Tale that fixed me on my course--Helprin's writing was so astonishing, his asides so insightful, his descriptions of places and people so tangible (I can still taste the hot rum toddies from the Oyster Bar!), and best of all, he was ALIVE.
In fact, I was so enraptured with the book as a 13-year-old that for many years I was afraid to pick it up again, for fear I'd find it a lesser piece of work than I'd remembered. A Soldier Of the Great War had not had the same effect on me (though I still thought it was a superb book), and Memoir From Antproof Case had struck me as entertaining but erratic. Finally, a couple of years ago, I fetched my old hardcover Winter's Tale from my parents' house and got up the nerve to page through it again. Right away, I was swept right back into Helprin's fairy tale New York. It is what a great city ought to be: larger, wilder, more beautiful, a place where dramas play themselves out on a cosmic scale. And the thief Peter Lake remains one of my favorite characters in all of literature.
The book does have its flaws, but what novel doesn't? The sections with Peter Lake are far and away the best; Part Two feels like Helprin is marking time (it was the slowest part of the book even when I was 13), and there are some who might find his italicized introductory sections tendentious (though I still get shivery when I read them).
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238 of 265 people found the following review helpful By Szilard on August 22, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
EDIT 26 Jan 2014: The Kindle version has been updated. I've only skimmed it, but I think it's no longer a mass of egregious, novel-destroying OCR errors. I'm not about to congratulate HMH for eventually releasing a credible product; nevertheless, it should be readable now.

---------------------------------

I loved this book when I was a young'un; so romantic, high-hearted, exuberant. Revisiting now as a cumudgeon, I still think it's a fine piece of light reading, filled with joy and a love for language. But it's surely not great literature - the characters are not and never will be us, and the tale illuminates nothing of essence. Who cares, though? Well-executed pulp is a blessing and several million times better than television.

But the publisher, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, must be driven into the wastelands for its shoddy Kindle version. This is yet another auto-OCR mess with no apparent proof reading effort. Errors on most pages, and a pathetic low-point: "half a" consistently rendered as "Haifa". Actually, even worse: "city" often becomes "dry".

How much would it have cost them to have a junior editor proof read and correct? Hardly anything, and failing to do this indicates contempt for their product and their customers.

I think they were coming out of bankruptcy when they released the Kindle version, and you can assume that the tawdry effort was part of a push to "monetize" their backlist at the lowest possible cost. But with this kind of attitude to quality, no surprise if they slip back into the pit before long.
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