Holly Weiss's Reviews > Winter's Tale

Winter's Tale by Mark Helprin
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's review
Apr 02, 2010

it was amazing
bookshelves: american-historical-fiction, historical-fiction, literary-fiction, group-read

.Update to my review after seeing the movie version 2/2014. The movie focuses on the first 180 pages about Peter and Beverly's magical romance. There are elements of the battle between good and evil, but the movie certainly can't include the entire book. Well done, I thought.

Re-read Winter's Tale in April 2013. Extraordinary writing. I am at a loss to describe this masterpiece of literature. As Newsday Magazine says, "It is a gifted writer's love affair with the language."

The almost 800 pages of reading is both taxing and magical. I had to linger on passages and reread them because of the beauty. The opening scene with Athansor, the white horse, is marvelous. The character of Peter Lake, who couldn't seem to die is unforgettable, as is Beverly, the woman who couldn't stop loving him even after her death. Lastly, the city of New York, described during the many winters in a millenium. Historical fiction. Magical realism. Historical fantasy. Utterly compelling.

"Peter Lake had beard Beverly say that the greater the stillness, the farther you could travel, until, in absolute immobility, you achieved absolute speed. If you could hold your breath, batten yourself down, and stop every atom from its agitation within you, she had said, you could vault past infinity." p. 184.

Have I yet grasped the book's meaning? I'm not sure Helprin wants me to. As one of his characters says,

"His strategy was to make each hour more intense than the hour that preceded it. The idea was to hold them off balance, shock them, disorient them, wade into their sensibilities, blind them with flashing lights, and hit hard and harder, so that the opposition might be incapacitated, and the bridge might take." (592)
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Reading Progress

April 2, 2010 – Shelved
July 22, 2012 – Shelved as: american-historical-fiction
February 17, 2013 – Shelved as: historical-fiction
February 17, 2013 – Shelved as: literary-fiction
April 9, 2013 – Started Reading
April 9, 2013 – Shelved as: group-read
April 19, 2013 –
page 264
April 21, 2013 –
page 389
April 23, 2013 –
page 562
April 24, 2013 – Finished Reading

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