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A Dove of the East: And Other Stories

really liked it 4.0  ·  Rating Details ·  443 Ratings  ·  26 Reviews
The twenty stories here, many of which first appeared in The New Yorker and have since been anthologized throughout the world, are strikingly beautiful essays on enduring and universal questions: In Rome, in the hour of his death, and American priest must choose between his Church and his God. An Israeli scout risks the safety and respect of his comrades in an act of trans ...more
Paperback, 192 pages
Published June 1st 2005 by Mariner Books (first published 1975)
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Bob Koelle
Oct 03, 2008 Bob Koelle rated it liked it
This book took an inordinately long time to finish for me. His floral prose is more appropriate for the long form. If you're writing a three or four page story, I'm looking for more direct story-telling, and not such overlong descriptions of characters and settings, with whom we are only spending a few minutes. And some of the descriptions seemed overwrought to me as well, which surprises me. Helprin's language is what attracts me, as much as his story-telling. Perhaps it was just out of place.
Jan 31, 2009 Anna rated it really liked it
The landscape imagery in many of these stories is incredible. Sometimes it feels like Helprin is using characters solely to convey the story of a place. As in his other fiction, here Helprin writes idealistic characters like no other. The interests in truth, beauty, and justice that permeate his other works are here as well. Some of these stories felt a little incomplete or not fully realized, but even those had their charm. There is often a magical quality to Helprin's writing, and some of thes ...more
Mar 28, 2008 Christopher rated it it was amazing
Every story in this book is gorgeous. I love Mark Helprin, and I wish I could say that I found this book to be as flawless as ELLIS ISLAND AND OTHER STORIES or WINTER'S TALE, but for some reason I can't bring myself to do it. It's obvious that some of these stories were written when Helprin was younger and had yet to fully marry his way with words to his poetic vision, but let that not be too great a detraction from this wonderful, wonderful book of short stories.

To read these stories is to be u
Moses Operandi
May 14, 2012 Moses Operandi rated it liked it
I had to return this book to the library, so I couldn't finish the last story. But I doubt it would give the lie to the impressions I got from the rest of the book.

This is early Helprin. It's clumsier and more formulaic than Winter's Tale or Freddy and Frederica.

In these stories, Helprin's characters are much the same: beautiful, world-weary, tanned, exotic.

It's like a multi-national Great Gatsby with Jewish sophisticates falling into long, depressing love affairs and ruminating about them as
Feb 13, 2009 Bensmomma rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
Helprin's short stories are as brief and intense as fables, and they have the same sort of mythic quality. The people in them don't talk much, but a single one of their gestures or observation speaks volumes. Somehow they are both spare and emotionally detailed. In tone they are generally tragic and romantic, culminating in the title story, in which which a lone ranchhand in post-WWII Palestine holds a kind of deathwatch over an injured dove. In less able hands this would just be four-hanky melo ...more
Oct 05, 2014 H.Friedmann rated it liked it
Shelves: favorites
Mark Helprin is one of my favorite authors. All of his stories have an element of the fairy tale to them created by a certain style of writing. Even when the tale takes place in the world as we know it, there remains a mood that feels somehow magical and otherworldly.

That being said, this compilation somehow felt the darkest of all the ones that I have read, dealing primarily with Death and Loss. As a result, it may be my least favorite, but that doesn't mean it's any less excellent. So read it
Apr 10, 2011 Matthew rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This volume is better described as a collection of character sketches rather than short stories. Helprin tells fantastic tales in his novels, but this collection--while including some of his fantastical style--more often than not involves a short, sympathetic description of a one character and his tragic past or a brief period of his life. Especially touching are A Jew of Persia, Katrina Katrin', and A Dove of the East.

It was probably my least favorite of Helprin's fiction, but that is like sayi
Natalie Joseph
Mar 18, 2013 Natalie Joseph rated it it was amazing
Wow! That's my review of this collection. Mark Helprin is a master of elegiac writing. Though he employs great simplicity in his style of writing, understanding his work requires thought. From reading this collection, I believe him to be one of the best contemporary American novelist! My favorites so far are "First Russian Summer" and "Katrina, Katrin." You can tell that he has used his life experiences to help in writing and also he believes in the power of his love. His words are beyond beauti ...more
Paul Piro
Jan 28, 2015 Paul Piro rated it it was ok
Short stories ??? Many struck me as little more then character sketches. Halfway through the collection I found myself shaking my head and somewhat exasperated, oh no, not another young woman with green eyes wearing a white dress. Last time I checked there are four seasons. Maybe pretty green eyed women in white dresses and young men captivated by them only come out in the autumn. Mark Helprin may have been young when these were written, in the thrall of love and still cutting his teeth on a lit ...more
Joe Holley
Sep 25, 2015 Joe Holley rated it it was amazing
Mark Helprin is not light reading. He is a master storyteller and his stories are filled with deep meaning and hidden gems of wisdom. His command of the english language translates into his writing which is impeccable creating a rich reading experience. My favorite story in this book was the title story "A Dove of the East". I have loved everything I have read by him and thoroughly enjoy reading great writing. A must read for Helprin fans.
Feb 01, 2009 Chris rated it really liked it
Tales richly evocative of the places they are set. Helprin seemingly writes with his passport as much as his pen, effortlessly taking us from country to country, and not in broad brush strokes but with colorful intimacy. Especially impressive considering these were all written in his twenties.

A bit passively delivered at times. But what they sometimes lack in urgency and pace, they more than compensate with exquisite subtlety and heartbreaking beauty. Timeless, gorgeous storytelling.
Mar 23, 2011 Fred rated it it was amazing
It's been a few years since I last read these stories, but they never fail to satisfy when picked up again (and again) - this is an ideal book for a country house bedside shelf. I cite the Boston portrayed in "Back Bay Conservatory" as the one I grew up in and loved, and which has utterly vanished under the present day's affluent suburbanized-world-city synthetic pseudohistorical gloss...
Stephen C.
Feb 13, 2008 Stephen C. rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone who appreciates great literature.
See my review of The Pacific and Other Stories. These are as good although not as well promoted. Helprin is amazing in capturing the emotion of who we ar eand what we feel and this is simply an extension of the Pacific and other short stories. Both collections are exceptional and should not be missed.
Feb 21, 2016 Josh rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
I gave this four stars instead of five because the stories are not all of equal caliber. Some of them felt forced, as if they were trying too hard to be literary. But those are the minority. The majority of the stories were brilliant, and in the span of a few pages caught me up completely.
Sep 02, 2013 Kathleen rated it really liked it
Recommended to me by someone at work, I decided to give this anthology a try.

The stories are beautiful! A trend I picked up on was the glorious prose followed by a devastating twist in the tales. Beautifully written; I only regret it took me so long to pick it up to finish the last story.
Rose Anderson
This is Helprin's first published book, a collection of short stories, exquisite gems. These word pictures are all very poignant and perceptive, mostly exotic and many with a Jewish background. They alternate between male and female protanganists.
Aug 06, 2011 Alan added it
This is one of the most beautifully written collection of short stories I have ever had the pleasure to read. Fantastic.
Adam Graffunder
Jan 09, 2008 Adam Graffunder rated it it was ok
I really liked Helprin's novels when I read them years ago. This collection seemed somewhat forced into the short form, but A Dove of the East was better than most of the other stories.
Feb 29, 2012 Peter rated it really liked it
Mark Helprin has a vast range of subjects upon which he writes. And I like that because it matches my own curiosity. He writes with an eye to color, both in human nature and nature nature.
Kathy rated it liked it
Oct 20, 2011
Peter Bodnar
Peter Bodnar rated it liked it
Dec 19, 2014
Jennifer Perkins
Jennifer Perkins rated it it was amazing
Sep 23, 2012
Josh Meyer
Josh Meyer rated it it was amazing
Jul 26, 2013
Ellen Machalick
Ellen Machalick rated it it was amazing
Sep 21, 2016
Rob Millenaar
Rob Millenaar rated it it was amazing
Nov 16, 2014
Misty Hobbs
Misty Hobbs rated it liked it
Jul 19, 2012
Crowned Dragon
Crowned Dragon rated it really liked it
Dec 22, 2008
Ted rated it it was amazing
Mar 06, 2013
Steven Burley
Steven Burley rated it it was amazing
Aug 03, 2014
Sybil rated it it was amazing
Feb 10, 2008
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Mark Helprin belongs to no literary school, movement, tendency, or trend. As many have observed and as Time Magazine has phrased it, “He lights his own way.” His three collections of short stories (A Dove of the East and Other Stories, Ellis Island and Other Stories, and The Pacific and Other Stories), six novels (Refiner's Fire, Winter's Tale, A Soldier of the Great War, Memoir From Antproof Case ...more
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“Then in the darkness and purity of the meadows he began to feel that the world had many secrets, that they were shattering even to glimpse or sense, and that they were not necessarily unpleasant. In certain states of light he could see, he could begin to sense, things most miraculous indeed. Although it seemed self-serving, he concluded nonetheless, after a lifetime of adhering to the diffuse principles of a science he did not know, that there was life after death, that the dead rose into a mischievous world of pure light, that something most mysterious lay beyond the the enfolding darkness, something wonderful. ” 2 likes
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