Alice Strand's recommendaion
Peter Lake robs a NYC mansion on a snowy night, and his life is changed forever.
This book is complex tapestry that defies attempts to sum it up in a sentence or two. Even now that I have finished, I am still unable to pinpoint what the book is "about," but the story itself--with all of its strange and beautiful moments--is certainly a journey, and I am glad to have read it. The writing is poetic in that it examines the world in a new way, and finds truth, beauty, and goodness in unexpected places. I remember seeing a review that described this book as a love song to New York, and that, perhaps, comes closest to capturing the "aboutness" of this story, yet at the same time, it truly is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg that is this book.
This book is nearly 500 pages, but well worth the read. It is absolutely enchanting; a mix of history, fantasy, adventure and romance. As a native New Yorker, I knew many of locations mentioned in the book. I've passed through Grand Central thousands of times as pictured on the cover. I recommend it to anyone.
This is a magical book with aspects of a real New York City. Open your mind to its magic and it is wonderful -- both dark and light. The movie is only a shadow of the book and leaves out so much that would have made it great.
Amazing, breathtaking, funny, sad, moving, and thoughtful. Wow, that's a mouthful. Deservedly so, as this is a book outside of labels and genres and expectations. And do yourself a favour: skip the movie.
This book took my ages it finish. While the writing is beautiful and I really enjoy the plot, I don't know if I would recommend this book to someone. Many of the descriptions seemed drawn out and unnecessary, but beautiful all the same. It totally depends on your style whether or not you'd enjoy the book, but personally it was too long.
As the story begins, we meet Peter Lake and the horse Athansor, both on the run from Lake's mortal (immortal?) enemy, Pearly Soames. We don't yet know who Peter Lake is or what he did to earn Soames' wrath, but we cheer his hard-won escape. Later, Peter Lake breaks into a stately home with the intent of burglarizing over the winter holidays when the family is away, but instead finds that Beverly, the lovely, consumptive daughter of the house, remained home. Despite the awkward circumstances of their meeting, Beverly and Peter Lake waste no time falling in love. Overall, my reaction is one of feeling misled. The story line that initially piqued my interest abruptly ended a quarter of the way into the book, and what followed was a jumbled mess of magical realism involving characters that were not particularly likable. Winter's Tale is obviously popular for some reason (or is it a case of the mediocre being heralded as profound?). It's quite possible that my analytical brain isn't capable of appreciating the mystical elements. In any case, it wasn't the book for me.
"A sad tale's best for winter."-Shakespeare
I really enjoyed Helprin's writing and certain specific passages of the book were truly lyrical in nature. Might not appeal to everyone, but then I've always despised Moby Dick, and some actually enjoyed that.
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