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Winter's Tale (1983)

by Mark Helprin

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
4,2751322,089 (4)262
Peter Lake--orphan, thief, mechanic extraordinare--and Athansor, a flying Brooklyn milkhorse, establish a reign of love and justice in New York City in the year 2000.
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» See also 262 mentions

English (130)  Italian (1)  All languages (131)
Showing 1-5 of 130 (next | show all)
Helprin is a terrific writer, with whimsy and fantasy elements. The imagery of the white horse (Athanor) reminded me somewhat of Germinal, one of my all-time favorite books. Engaging characters, but a bit too much skipping around for 5 stars. ( )
  skipstern | Jul 11, 2021 |
Read for book club...
With exception of a crazy religious apocalyptic book, I have never give a 1 star rating to a book that has at least a 4 star rating on goodreads. A 4 star book usually means at least I will like it or find it "okay." I kept reading thinking something is going to happen, somehow this book will come to together because so many people "liked" it. Honestly...probably the worst book I ever read.

I am truly saddened over the rating on this book.In a world where Tolstoy or Cather or Steinbeck can't be tolerated by the average reader, we replace it with stuff like this and call it amazing. The problems have probably been flushed out through many reviews but here is my list...

-the whole book (the whole thing is a problem)

-the editor...whoever edited this book should be fired and never allowed to work again as an editor. Maybe they tried to get it edited and it caused all the editors to weep and want to gauge their eyes out after 20 pages. Maybe the editors took up the task and realized it would take the rest of their lives to properly edit the book so they just skipped it.

-all the words...there are SOOOOO many of them. BLAH...it is like someone threw up a dictionary. It is like the author chose the word lovely and then looked up all its synonyms and then proceeded to use them all in the same sentence. Even worse, half of his descriptions don't even make sense when you really break them down. I like wordy books (see my Count of Monte Cristo or Les Miserables unabridged reviews :) but not wordy books without a purpose. Do you want to know how wordy this book it? Just for a test I had my husband read every 4th page for about 40 pages. He was able to understand the basics of what was happening skipping 3 pages at a time. (Now I wish that is how I had read it)

-the plot...I know you are probably thinking, "why would she complain about something that doesn't exist?" But it is true, I am complaining about the fact that there is no real plot at all.

-The Sun...once again, a writer obsessed with "writers" in their book. What a surprise. The glorious "print" will save the day. A whole book with a random plot and random characters designed just so there can be a glorious newspaper.

-The sex...well...sounds like a horny old man decided to pretend he was a teenager and make his characters go around doing all the things he didn't get to do when he was a horny teenager.
Then, to add insult to injury, all the women in the book are, of course, absolutely beautiful and perfectly willing to throw their "unspoiled" self at a stranger that they instantly fall in love with. Convenient (for the men) that the women character's main attribute is that they are beautiful and easy without too much personality.

-the characters...mostly...they are all terrible. I liked the horse, and I liked Abby and Martin and Mrs. Gamely. I tried to like the others but eventually they all just fell apart...of course, with no real plot it must be hard to develop characters.

The good news is that there is no way the movie could ruin the book! ( )
  mcsp | Jan 25, 2021 |
If you attempt to read this book: do not stretch it out over several months with breaks in between, as I did. I had to double back multiple times to catch the thread of the story. ( )
  resoundingjoy | Jan 1, 2021 |
Meh. There we fun little adventures through out this book, but I didn't really enjoy the writing flourish or even the overarching plot the tied all the people together. ( )
  jzacsh | Sep 9, 2020 |
Too much detail and offshoots for me. Although the descriptions of NY are intriguing and the magical story of a man who does not age is interesting, there is too much of this book for me. There are sections that do not seem to end. There is a movie version, which only tells a 1/4 of the tale. Somewhat interesting, I did finish this LARGE book, but it was a struggle to get through. ( )
  mcorbink | Sep 8, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 130 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (9 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Helprin, Markprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Marcellino, FredCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Thomas, WilliamCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
"I have been to another world, and come back. Listen to me."
Dedication
FOR MY FATHER
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.
Quotations
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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Peter Lake--orphan, thief, mechanic extraordinare--and Athansor, a flying Brooklyn milkhorse, establish a reign of love and justice in New York City in the year 2000.

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