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Winter's Tale (1983)

by Mark Helprin

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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4,4551392,210 (3.99)266
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.
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» See also 266 mentions

English (134)  Italian (1)  All languages (135)
Showing 1-5 of 134 (next | show all)
I read this long ago, and it has stayed with me vividly since. I’ve kept my copy of the book through many moves, and I look forward to reading it again some day. ( )
  BarbKBooks | Aug 15, 2022 |
Wait a moment while I finish wiping the tears from my eyes. I cannot see to write. The image of a flying Angel horse is receding into the nighttime sky and my heart is shining fiercely.

Spanning a century, A New York Winter's Tale is the best and the brightest of a fairytale, a fight between good and evil and the love story of the Universe.

Beautifully written, Mark Helprin leads you by the hand into a world of wonders and terrors. Hold on to your heart, before it melts betwixt two star-crossed lovers.

You will never see the end coming, and when it does, oh, the joy! Yes! You must read this book! Do it for all your hopes and dreams. ( )
  Windyone1 | May 10, 2022 |
*** ITA/ENG ***
Il libro è ambientato in una Manhattan parallela, fatta di magia, di banchi di nebbia misteriosi e grandi cavalli bianchi. I personaggi principali sembrano effettivamente usciti da una fiaba, più che da un romanzo.

Ho tuttavia fatto davvero tanta, tanta fatica a terminarlo. La prima parte, escluso forse il primo capitolo, è stata quella davvero difficile da completare, con dei momenti *schifo* (in relazione all'infanzia di Peter Lake) e uno stile molto pesante. Da lì in poi la scrittura si 'sveltisce' un po', arriva anche un minimo di humor, e si soffre un po' meno, ma in certi passaggi mi sono resa conto che dovevo essermi persa qualcosa, senza capire dove, e alcuni personaggi mi sono sembrati introdotti e poi abbandonati senza davvero dare un contributo alla storia.

Per contro, il finale, che ho visto vituperato da tanti, mi è sembrato perfettamente adatto al tono e alla storia che il libro ha raccontato.

Non escludo che la mia capacità di concentrazione sia sicuramente diminuita in un momento come questo, e che libri così lunghi e con uno stile così convoluto, soprattutto se in lingua originale, non siano esattamente romanzi da spiaggia. Però, ogni tanto mi sarebbe piaciuto dire all'autore che, va bene, una cosa la si potrà dire in dieci parole invece che due, ma non è che bisogna per forza usarle sempre tutte e dieci!
******************

The book is set in a parallel, fairy-tale Manhattan, with a mysterious and ethereal atmosphere and larger than life characters.

There were some puzzling, eww! moments at the beginning, like incestous sex at 12 years old, but actually for me all Part I of the book, after the first two chapters, was plodding and slow. Only from Part II the narration gained momentum again, even if there were some parts where I still found myself confused, and characters that, once introduced in detail, seemed to give very little contribution to the story itself.

This is a difficult moment for all people, so I think I might not have had the ability to concentrate enough to read a book of this kind, but I still think Mark Helprin was at times too heavy-handed in his flowery writing.

Letto per le sfide
1. Trim your TBR - Libro #04, per la task Un libro che avete in comune con la Mod, ma che nessuno dei due ha letto.
2. Alphabet 2020 per Un libro di un autore di cui il cognome inizi per H
3. Babele 2020 - Modalità difficile (1/15)
4. Extra-Large 2020 - Modalità difficile (1/9, #749 pagine).
5. Esimio sconosciuto 2020 - (1/5) ( )
  JaqJaq | Jan 7, 2022 |
Wow, this is just one big messy pile of "um, wha?!" Magical realism, as you may remember, is super not my jam, mostly because I am a firm believer in the notionthat if you introduce magic or any other out-of-the-ordinary elements into an otherwise-normal setting, you're gonna need to explain and justify it. But this novel goes so far beyond breaking that rule that it pushes over into utter nonsense. So we have a steampunk-ish, old-timey, yet sort-of-quasi-futuristic NYC, a street rat orphan who's wise beyond his means, a magical (and in no way explained) flying horse, a street gang that's meant, I think, to be menacing but comes off 100% comical and which is, I think, supposed to be the main Big Bad, but disappears for most of the book only to POOF back into the action at the end, again, with no explanation, and a super-rich and super-brilliant (or maybe just totally bananas) young woman who's dying of TB. Oh, and a cloud bank that's somehow deadly and surrounds NYC but also moves but also people come and go from the city unharmed with - you guessed it - no explanation. But wait - there's more! Helprin apparently gets bored of these main characters, so he abandons them for a new set, but their actions and circumstances aren't any less lacking in logic. Just...wooof. And it doesn't read as if all these logistical problems are the point; instead it reads like a sloppily-written fevre dream, or a toddler telling you about the dream they had last night and getting sidetracked many, MANY times along the way. Yeah, it's that agonizing and exhausting. ( )
1 vote electrascaife | Oct 29, 2021 |
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 |
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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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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.

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