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Winter's Tale by Mark Helprin

Winter's Tale (original 1983; edition 2005)

by Mark Helprin

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3,4541101,555 (4.05)235
Title:Winter's Tale
Authors:Mark Helprin
Info:Mariner Books (2005), Edition: First edition., Paperback, 768 pages
Collections:Your library

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Winter's Tale by Mark Helprin (1983)

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» See also 235 mentions

English (109)  Italian (1)  All languages (110)
Showing 1-5 of 109 (next | show all)
This should not be listened to as an audio book. I'm on disc 4 and I can't go any further. It's hard to follow and it's boring. I've read different reviews and I shouldn't have picked it up. Plus I read that the movie is different than the book so why even read the book when I wanted to read it before seeing the movie. So I'm moving on. DNF ( )
  MHanover10 | Jul 10, 2016 |
Too too too much. I expected to love the book, I only finished because this was a book club reading. I love Neal Stephenson, so I can handle a long tale with many, many characters and long, meandering descriptions of things like, say, eating a bowl of Captain Crunch.

Usually when a book has this many rave reviews about beautiful writing and wonderful storytelling, I understand why even when the story isn't my cup of tea. But this, whatever it is, I just don't get. Words on top of words for the sake of words. ( )
  rlsalvati | Jul 5, 2016 |
inventive but much longer than it needed to be. ( )
  Bostonseanachie | Jun 5, 2016 |
Winter’s Tale - Mark Helprin

4 stars
audio performance by Oliver Wyman

The story begins in what isn’t really New City at the turn of the 20th century. There are some very oddly different things about this New York City. To begin with, it’s cold. The polar vortex doesn't even begin to describe it. What seems to be a typical white dairy horse, becomes a mythical flying creature in the fight between good and evil. Evil take its shape in the form of Pearly Soames, leader of of the Short Tail Gang. The unlikely hope of mankind is the unusual Peter Lake, burglar extraordinaire. Their story spans the century.

Most reviews of this book either praise or damn Helprin’s effusions of descriptive language. It’s true, he is very long-winded. The tracks of this tale are often lost in the avalanche of words, but they are very sparkly words. Descriptive language would not have been enough to keep my attention on this strange circuitous story. The characters did that. There are a lot of characters, exaggerated, humorous; they walk off the page like comic book figures from Gotham City. I enjoyed them. I cared about them. They made me laugh. Some of them are clearly caricatures of famous people. I’m sure I missed some New York City in-jokes.

I think it’s important to remember that this book was published in 1983. The World Trade Center Towers were 10 years old. If you keep the publication date in mind, the ending of Helprin’s fantasy 20th century New York City might seem a bit prescient, instead of tasteless. It was still painful to read his description of a city burning at the end of the century. Halprin has a moral message to deliver here. Although, I don’t think I agree that the callused, casual slaughter of innocents will ultimately result in a regrowth of justice, it works within the context of his story.

I had the audio version and enjoyed Oliver Wyman performance. He delivered those long, long sentences with enough expression to keep me from drowning in the words. I bought the kindle edition because I felt compelled to highlight many of those words. I will probably try to see the movie at some point, but there’s not a chance it will capture the detail and complexity of this novel.

( )
1 vote msjudy | May 30, 2016 |
I get it. A “Winter’s Tale” is something that is told around the fire at night while you are snowbound for months in your longhouse, or cabin, or cave, or whatever. It should be a series of stories… and have a cast of hundreds… and feature doomed lovers, flying horses, hidden villages, ridiculous dwarves, and time travel. Hearing someone tell you this tale would give you hope to make it through winter… hope that there is a golden light to be attained somewhere in a just city….

But at a novel? It doesn’t work at all. There are so many things wrong it makes my head hurt to think about listing them.
( )
  memccauley6 | May 3, 2016 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Helprin, Markprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Marcellino, FredCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Thomas, WilliamCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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"I have been to another world, and come back. Listen to me."
No One Knows the City Better
First words
A great city is nothing more than a portrait of itself, and yet when all is said and done, its arsenals of scenes and images are part of a deeply moving plan.
Winter, it was said, was the season in which time was superconductive - the season when a brittle world might shatter in the face of astonishing events, later to reform in a new body as solid and smooth as young transparent ice.
A tranquil city of good laws, fine architecture, and clean streets is like a classroom of obedient dullards, or a field of gelded bulls - whereas a city of anarchy is a city of promise.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0156031191, Paperback)

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 Side.

Though 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 dying.

Peter 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 beseiged by unprecedented winters, is one of the most beautiful and extraordinary stories of American literature.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:29 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

When master mechanic Peter Lake attempts to rob a mansion on the Upper West Side, he is caught by young Beverly Penn, the terminally ill daughter of the house, and their subsequent love sends Peter on a desperate personal journey.

(summary from another edition)

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