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In Sunlight and in Shadow by Mark Helprin

In Sunlight and in Shadow (original 2012; edition 2012)

by Mark Helprin

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3921727,329 (3.43)13
Title:In Sunlight and in Shadow
Authors:Mark Helprin
Info:Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (2012), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover, 720 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:Fiction, Read in 2012, Hardcover, New York City, Reviewed

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In Sunlight and in Shadow by Mark Helprin (2012)



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Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
Beautifully written, but the last few chapters left me distraught. ( )
  lovelypenny | Feb 4, 2016 |
Beautiful writing, fast-paced, well-developed story. A tale of a love affair which spanned several decades. ( )
  VashonJim | Sep 5, 2015 |
This is the third Helprin. I loved Winter's Tale. I did not love, but persisted with Memoir From An Ant-Proof Case but this time, I am not going to keep on. The tone is elegiac, the descriptions are detailed and I have little doubt lovingly researched and accurate, but the magic just isn't there. I love reading about 'old' New York, or what I think of as "E.B.White's" New York. The story that isn't going to work for me. Why? I can't really say, perhaps because the two protagonists, Catherine and Harry are elevated to the status of minor deities, one for courage the other for her beauty and it feels . . . like too much work to read it for 700 pages. They aren't people I can identify with at all. I'm sorry because Helprin writes so well. So far none of the pure magic that was in Winter's Tale seems to have made its way into his other fiction.
  sibyx | Jun 10, 2015 |
Massive book that should be read slowly and pondered as you work your way through it. I made the mistake of thinking I could listen to this tale Harry and Catherine, and decided I'd rather read and ponder it. Set in post WW2, it describes some of the changes in society that formerly well-to-do families and businesses had to adapt to. Only made it to Chapter 20, before I decided I was missing many ideas I'd like to spend more time thinking about. ( )
  Pmaurer | Feb 10, 2015 |
I enjoyed being in the world of this book (post-WWII NYC with Harry & Catherine), and I loved the basic story of love at first sight (or before), but I am not sure I like the ending. The writing is beautiful at times, but also overdone. Too many long descriptions/similes for my taste. Still, the title is appropriate and it was a good read. Best part was probably the long flashback to Harry's time in the war. I would rank this behind The 25th Hour and Rules of Civility in terms of NYC books. ( )
  saholc | Jan 24, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
It’s incredible that this story — or, to be more precise, these stories — hasn’t been told before. Except that, of course, it has, and they have . . . though never before in more than 700 consecutive pages, between the covers of one book.
"In its storytelling heft, its moral rectitude, the solemn magnificence of its writing and the splendor of its hymns to New York City, the new novel [In Sunlight and in Shadow] is a spiritual pendant to 'Winter's Tale,' and every bit as extraordinary. . . . [T]he writing throughout 'In Sunlight and in Shadow' sounds as though it were scored to some great choral symphony."
added by sgump | editWall Street Journal, Sam Sacks (Oct 2, 2012)
Elegant, elegiac novel of life in postwar America, at once realistic and aspirational, by the ever-accomplished Helprin. ... A fine adult love story—not in the prurient sense, but in the sense of lovers elevated from smittenness to all the grown-up problems that a relationship can bring.
added by ablachly | editKirkus (Sep 1, 2012)
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Life-giving Venus, who beneath the gliding
stars of heaven
Fills with your presence the sea that bears our
And the land that bears our crops. . .
You alone govern the nature of things,
And nothing comes forth into the shores of
Or is glad or lovely without you. . . .
- Lucretius, De Rerum Natura, I
First words
 If you were a spirit, and could fly and alight as you wished, and time did not bind you, and patience and love were all you knew, then you might rise to enter an open window high above the park, in the New York of almost a lifetime ago, early in November of 1947.
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Book description
Postwar New York glows with energy. Harry Copeland, an elite paratrooper who fought behind enemy lines in Europe, has returned home to run the family business. Yet his life is upended by a single encounter with the young singer and heiress Catherine Thomas Hale, as they each fall for the other in an instant.

Harry and Catherine pursue one another in a romance played out in Broadway theaters, Long Island mansions, the offices of financiers, and the haunts of gangsters. Catherine’s choice of Harry over her longtime fiancé endangers Harry’s livelihood and eventually threatens his life. In the end, it is Harry’s extraordinary wartime experience that gives him the character and means to fight for Catherine, and risk everything.

Not since Winter’s Tale has Mark Helprin written such a magically inspiring saga. Entrancing in its lyricism, In Sunlight and in Shadow so powerfully draws you into New York at the dawn of the modern age that, as in a vivid dream, you will not want to leave.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0547819234, Hardcover)

Q&A with Mark Helprin

Mark Helprin

Q. In Sunlight and In Shadow has been likened to both your Winter’s Tale and A Soldier of the Great War. What do you say to that?

A. When I wrote Winter’s Tale, I’d often walk ten or twenty miles a day through New York, taking in overwhelming rafts of imagery, sounds, views. And when I wasn’t doing that, I virtually lived at The New York Historical Society, just as I had jeopardized my freshman year in college by sitting on the floor of the stacks at the New York section, mesmerized by one book after another.

The result of these obsessions was to live in the world of New York circa 1900 as if I were really there, as if it were still bustling invisibly right where it had been, and I could see and feel it. The book opens with, “I have been to another world, and come back. Listen to me.”

With In Sunlight and In Shadow, the effect is perhaps stronger, and, for me, easier. It takes place not in a world I had to seek but one – New York in the 40s – into which I was born. The density and accuracy of the images, the onrush of memory, the stunning recollections of sound, speech, song, dress, all came easily. The people in In Sunlight and In Shadow are, with great poetic liberty, people I knew and/or loved – even the gangsters, the financiers, the actresses, intellectuals, soldiers, and factory workers.

When I finished A Soldier of the Great War, I gave it to several Italians to see if the pitch was correct, but with In Sunlight and In Shadow I didn’t have to do that, because there is nothing I know better. The book is like Winter’s Tale in that I have made it as obsessively truthful and beautiful as I could, in the hope that a reader may feel that he is in the book rather than where he is, and perhaps even wish to remain for a while, as in waking from a dream.

It’s unlike Winter’s Tale and more like A Soldier of the Great War in that in it one doesn’t depart from the texture of reality, as exceptional and intense as that reality may be. When my father read Winter’s Tale, which I had dedicated to him shortly before he died, he said, now you’ve got to write a book as enchanting as this but in which every element is possible in the real world in which we live. Then you would have something really marvelous.

That’s what I’ve tried to do. Whether or not I’ve succeeded is not for me to judge, but I can say that writing the book gave me the same feeling, persistently over time, and always strongly, as falling in love. I’m not quite sure what that means except that it’s great to have a job that you would do even if you weren’t paid for it.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:11 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Returning home after serving in World War II to run his family business in New York, paratrooper Harry Copeland falls in love with young singer and heiress Catherine Thomas Hale, who risks everything to break off her engagement to another man.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 2 descriptions

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