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Winter's Tale Paperback – June 1, 2005
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From the Back Cover
Mark Helprin's magical masterpiece will transport you to New York of the Belle Epoque, to a city clarified by a siege of unprecedented snows. One winter night, Peter Lake - master mechanic and master second-storey man - attempts to rob a fortress-like mansion on the Upper West Side. Though he thinks it is empty, the daughter of the house is home. Thus begins the affair between a middle-aged Irish burglar and Beverly Penn, a young girl who is dying of consumption. It is a love so powerful that Peter Lake, a simple and uneducated man, will be driven to stop time and bring back the dead. His great struggle is one of the most beautiful and extraordinary stories of American literature.
"This novel stretches the boundaries of contemporary literature. It is a gifted writer's love affair with the language." - Newsday
"Is it not astonishing that a work so rooted in fantasy, filled with narrative high jinks and comic flights, stands forth centrally as a moral discourse? It is indeed . . . . I find myself nervous, to a degree I don't recall in my past as a reviewer, about failing the work, inadequately displaying its brilliance." - Front Page, The New York Times Book Review
A New York Times Bestseller
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, Refiner's Fire, Ellis Island and Other Stories, Winter's Tale, A Soldier of the Great War, Memoir from Antproof Case, The Pacific and Other Stories, and Freddy and Fredericka.
About the Author
MARK HELPRIN is the acclaimed author of Winter's Tale, A Soldier of the Great War, Freddy and Fredericka, The Pacific, Ellis Island, Memoir from Antproof Case, and numerous other works. His novels are read around the world, translated into over twenty languages.
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It turns out the script writers for the movie did their job very well and took just the essence of the book, and added their own touches for cinematic effect, and that my original impression of the book was correct. The story between Peter Lake and Beverly is what draws us in. This is quickly abandoned at the death of Beverly and lauches the book into a bewildering survey of the semi-mystical village of the Lake of the Coheeries and its peculiar denizens. We get introduced to a plethora of tangential characters, who while interesting in their own way, contribute very little to the Peter Lake, Beveryly saga. It frankly gets boring and you lose interest.
i will join many other reviewers in wondering what the editors of this book were smoking when they proofed it? It could have and should have been cut down by fifty percent without losing one iota of the core story.
If you buy this book, as i did expecting to embellish and enrich the experience of the movie, you wll likely be as disappointed as i was. I got lost in the incredible over-description and clicked past whole pages that only described minutae that had very little current bearing on the pace of the story.
Having said all of this, there are moments in this book that will bring tears to your eyes. Sadly though they comprise a very small fraction of the book.
Finally, the pricing for this uneven, thirty year old book is a little outlandish. The publisher is obviously look to piggy-back sales on the back of the movie. This would be ok if the movie and the book had more to do with each other. I would give this one a miss on this basis alone until the price comes more into line with what you would expect to pay for a book as out of date as this one is, maybe $2-5.00. Certainly not the almost ten they are charging now.