Derek's Reviews > Winter's Tale

Winter's Tale by Mark Helprin
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's review
Sep 14, 2007

it was ok
Read in May, 2007

Flowery and ultimately meaningless

There are many beautifully descriptive passages, mostly of the wind & snow; the best are those concerning the magical horse Althansor. Unfortunately, there are many of them, and I found my heart beginning to sink whenever another chapter began with another beautifully descriptive passage about the wind & snow.

I never did discover a plot. The human characters came and went without any real impact, either on the story or on me, although the magical horse is characterized probably better than most. Peter Lake does span the whole novel, but he spends the final part in a daze of incomprehension which I shared. The occasional moments of drama all resolved easily and without any great surprises.

I was irritated by the wholesale dismissal of non-central characters, but it seemed I was expected to believe in the city (I am reluctant to call it New York because it is obviously not a real place) and care what happened to it.

In the end, I felt no attachment to the city, and it seemed, finally, that the author didn't either.
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02/16 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-9 of 9) (9 new)

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Cassiel I also share your daze of incomprehension. Such a lot of writing effort spent on so little content.

Estott I felt just like you- the best parts are memorable (Helprin writes beautifully) but the book held me at arm's length. None of the characters have any depth or reality.

Lisa Hoenig Agree. And also agree that the horse was the best character by far. I listened to this book, and by the sound of reviews here, that was my first mistake...

Alison McLennan Somewhere is the marriage of beautiful descriptive literary writing with a plot that keeps you turning pages and weaves all those loose threads into a meaningful tapestry. I love this book but I know what you mean.

Bette Hester I agree with everything Derek stated. No way am I going to read all 673 pages.

Marion Watson Beautiful book, amazing

Michele Moskovitz I can't seem to finish this book! I feel like I have been on page 500 forever. How does it end? I want to move on from this! I still don't even know what it's about other than "a love story" somehow...

Sewa Nuga I felt the same way. Everytime a beautiful descriptive passage came along I thought "oh no! Not again". Once the plot picked up I would get so excited but then he would slow it down to watching paint dry speed with the descriptive passages. There were so many unresolved story lines which usually ickse to no end but I was just glad to finish this book I didn't care I just wanted to be out of that world and somewhere else.

message 9: by Bloodorange (new) - added it

Bloodorange Similar sentiments here: I'm 20% into the book, and I feel that the multitude of completely useless sentences are there only to stop me from considering the quality of the plot.

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