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The Pacific and Other Stories

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  1,076 Ratings  ·  124 Reviews
At long last, almost ten years since his previous book, Mark Helprin returns with The Pacific and Other Stories, a collection of sixteen stories that display the remarkable scope, incomparable wit, and deft prose that have come to be his signature. A British paratrooper jumps into occupied territory; the 1958 New York Yankees gain an unexpected teammate in a puny, teenaged
Paperback, 384 pages
Published June 28th 2005 by Penguin Books (first published 2004)
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Jim Fonseca
May 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Sixteen short stories, several set in times past, many during WW II. I thought the two best were the bookends; the first and the last. In the first story, Il Colore Ritrovato, an Italian opera agent, approaches a young couple who are street singers. The young woman has great talent but the agent, getting on in years, has regrets about how his actions changed people’s lives -- maybe not for the better. To illustrate the strength of the writing, here are a few lines taken just from this first stor ...more
J.A.A. Purves
Jun 11, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
I realize that there are other readers here who have commented on how Helprin overwrites or overdescribes things. But that is only a problem if you are in a hurry to get somewhere. It is not a problem if you are willing to stop, like Jacob Bayer, and ask why there is a need to hurry in the first place.

This is a little book that contains some stories that are just perfect, but there's no appreciating the art that Helprin is constantly honing and perfecting here if you don't realize how much he si
Stephen C.
Feb 13, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who enjoys a GREAT set of short stories. This guy is the best.
I could never say enough about the quality of these short stories. Helprin is the very best at this genre and these are the single best collectin of short stories I have ever read. His depection in Monday is incredible and in each story he captures the essence of the human condition. He takes us to the emotional seat of each person in each story and it is an amazing depiction and presentation by a writer of how we live and of who we are. I'd have to say this is the single best work you can read ...more
Oct 22, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Everyone
I haven't finished this collection yet, but it's been a real revelation for me. I had only read Helprin's longer work before (I thought was good, but not amazing), and his traditionalist style isn't really my cup of tea. But these short stories are on another level entirely - great, moving stuff. I appreciate anyone who can write moving pieces in short form without playing the normal games. And the lines in some of these - the description of the mother in "Last Tea with the Armorers" comes to mi ...more
Jul 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is a pretty mixed bag, I must say. I couldn't finish some of the stories, but others just broke my heart they were so powerful. The determining factor - I don't really like baseball, but I love the story about baseball in this collection.

Most of the stories, the best ones, deal with lost and finding hope in the lost. Those that are good are very powerful. Others, not so much.
May 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Wow. These short stories were beautifully written. One of those books that you need to read slowly to savor. Some stories struck me more than others, but a beautiful compilation.
Feb 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Wow, this guy can WRITE!!! I've only read a few pages, and I'm hooked. And for some reason his photo amuses me no end. I would've guessed "stockbroker", rather than Amazingly Gifted Author"
Jul 17, 2008 added it
I had rather high hopes for this short story collection, The Pacific and Other Stories. Helprin’s manner is a kind of anachronistic old school seriousness leavened with mostly clean gags and jokes (though he’s not above profanity or vulgarity). Basically simple stories as simple morality tales, Good and Evil quite apparent and obvious. In this sense, Helprin, as a political conservative (he wrote speeches for the elder Bush), is also a cultural conservative of a certain decent kind.

Sometimes th
Apr 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Mr. Helprin's capacity for imagining and powers of evoking mental images are impressive. In the opening paragraphs of the title story, he describes ocean waves glimpsed through cedar boughs in the early morning light. The mental image was almost photographic, but also dynamic and panoramic. I haven't seen natural images quite like that since reading Matthiessen's Snow Leopard. His style and themes are very masculine. Many of the stories involve soldiers at the moments before death or loved one's ...more
Jan 16, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This collection of short stories, from veteran author and political commentator Mark Helprin, is notable for the overwhelming optimism and positivity expressed in each of the stories. Happy endings are not usually such an inevitability, especially in collections of short stories, and these tales are thus not only refreshing but perfect for rainy-day reading. The prose has a tendency to be a bit heavy handed, but is beautifully wrought.

That said, I would have liked to have seen a bit more variet
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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
More about Mark Helprin...
“How the holy and the profane mix in the light of day and at the end of life is sometimes the most beautiful thing in this world and a compassionate entry into the next. After failure and defeat, a concentration upon certain beauties, though forever lost and unretrievable, can lift the wounded past roundedness and the dying past dying, protecting them with an image, still and bright, that will ride with them on their long ride, never to fade and never to retreat.” 1 likes
“The quality of Venice that accomplishes what religion so often cannot is that Venice has made peace with the waters. It is not merely pleasant that the sea flows through, grasping the city like tendrils of vine, and, depending upon the light, making alleys and avenues of emerald and sapphire, Citi s a brave acceptance of dissolution and an unflinching settlement with death. Though in Venice you may sit in courtyards of stone, and your heels may click up marble stairs, you cannot move without riding upon or crossing the waters that someday will carry you in dissolution to the sea.” 1 likes
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