Sandy Nawrot's Reviews > Winter's Tale

Winter's Tale by Mark Helprin
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's review
Jan 16, 2014

it was ok

It is very hard for me to give this book two stars, since I have spent a solid three weeks reading this incredibly bloated novel. There was enough here to keep me going, because I was hoping for a big payoff at the end. And the movie is coming out next Friday. But the payoff really wasn't there.

There seems to be such a big deal made of the love story here between Peter and Beverly. And most certainly, that part of the story is charming and epic and tragic. But in reality, this is a small portion of a book that goes off on huge tangents with many random characters. Major investments in character development of people who later become only small players in the bigger picture. There is also a substantial element of philosophizing and WORDS, descriptions that go on and on and on, particularly about progress and the development of this mythical New York City. There were many times I zoned out. I had no idea what the author was trying to communicate, but I'm sure there was a message hidden in there somewhere. He seemed to be in love with his own voice.

I would add that I absolutely LOVED the white horse. That was my favorite part of the book. The author loves horses, that much is clear. The horse made me emotional.

The entire feeling of the book confused me. It almost felt like a fairy tale, with romantic bits of magical realism throughout. The prose felt other-worldly and dreamy. A white wall of fog that swallows people and preserves them for a hundred years? Bringing the dead to life? A bridge to heaven? Zooming around looking into every grave on earth? it was all very bizarre. In addition, while only part of the book took place in 1900, even the modern portions of the story felt...old. I'm fairly sure this was intentional, feeding into the time travel going on here. But it was disorienting.

One recurring element in the story was this adversarial relationship between Pearly Soames and Peter Lake. Pearly absolutely hated Peter, and chases him relentlessly, across town and across time, in order to kill him. WHY??? Because he double crossed him once? I really did not get it.

I'm worried about how all of this will be translated to the movie screen. When I look at IMDb, many characters in the book are not in the movie, and there are characters in the movie that are not in the book. This is worrisome. Have they just boiled everything down and made a sappy love story? We will see.

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Reading Progress

January 16, 2014 – Started Reading
January 16, 2014 – Shelved
February 9, 2014 – Finished Reading

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