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A New York Winter's Tale Paperback – 13 Feb 2014

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Product details

  • Paperback: 768 pages
  • Publisher: Picador; Media tie-in edition (13 Feb 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1447247558
  • ISBN-13: 978-1447247555
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 4.7 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (76 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,412 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

From the Back Cover

Now a major film starring Colin Farrell, Jessica Brown Findlay and Russell Crowe

One night in New York, a city under siege by snow, Peter Lake attempts to rob a fortress-like mansion on the Upper West Side. Though he thinks it is empty, the daughter of the house is home . . .

Thus begins the affair between this Irish burglar and Beverly Penn, a young girl dying of consumption. It is a love so powerful that Peter will be driven to stop time and bring back the dead; A New York Winter's Tale is the story of that extraordinary journey.

About the Author

Educated at Harvard, Princeton and Oxford, Mark Helprin served in the Israeli Army, Israeli Air Force, and British merchant navy. He is the author of six novels and three short-story collections and he also writes non-fiction and children’s books.

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By elephvant on 23 Feb 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Whatever the pros and cons of the upcoming film may be (personally I have no intention of seeing it) one great thing to come from its release is that this wonderful book is now finally available on Kindle.

Mostly set in a kind of mythical New York the story covers so many characters and interwoven tales that a plot summary is nearly impossible. However, the main two characters as far as I'm concerned (other people may find other characters grab their attention more) are Peter Lake - a kind hearted criminal on the run from one of his former gangs - and Beverly Penn - a consumptive girl who Peter meets and falls in love with while attempting to burgle her home.

The novel is one of the best examples of 'magical realism' I've encountered. The turn of the century New York in which most of the action takes place is evocatively described and many of the characters deal with very difficult and important issues in the real world and their thoughts and dilemmas are described by Helprin in very real terms. Almost everything, though, is shot through with magic and fantasy - from white guardian horses to after death returns of loved ones to physics defying pool shots - and so even the most realistic scenes are tinted by the background presence of magic.

Yes, it is rather long, and, yes, at times things get almost needlessly complicated and confusing, but stick with it and you'll find a very poignant and moving work that can be enjoyed on many levels.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Dolphin TOP 100 REVIEWER on 3 Jun 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I discovered this book through a song, the hauntingly beautiful "Beverly Penn" by The Waterboys (recently reissued as a piano demo for In A Special Place: The Piano Demos For This Is The Sea). I was intrigued by the lyrics which seemed particularly inspired, even by the high standards of that exquisite musical poet, Mike Scott. After reading the book, I discovered that the song movingly captures the essence of the main plot in this concatenation of stories. There are many threads, each one perfectly developed, taking place at times concurrently, but often in different spatial planes and it really takes the confident touch of a master story-teller to gather them and wrap up the whole wonderful unit in a most satisfying way, so that by the end, the reader feels that everything is right with this imaginary world, at least.

This is a challenging book to describe but the best I can do is to say that it takes me away to another dimension in which I can happily reside for hours at a time. It's fantastic but also brutally realistic, historically valid but also gloriously fanciful. The key character, Peter Lake, is one of the most likeable literary creations I have ever encountered. We grow to love his quirky personality and admire his unpretentious inner beauty. With the news that this book is about to be made into a movie, I am particularly nervous about the actor choice for Peter Lake. There are many other players in this large cast to grow fond of (my other particular favourite is, of course, Beverly) and even some truly funny interludes; in fact I could often imagine Helprin giggling quietly to himself as he had fun with his own creations.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 31 Dec 1998
Format: Paperback
This book was handed to me by my Mother who had grown up in New York. She loved it and encouraged me to read it as well. I happened to do just that as Winter came upon us in Maryland and it was as if I truly was on some roof watching the stars run across the sky. Now I live in California and this book brings the Fall and Winter seasons to me. I have not read such a beautifully descriptive author since Stephen R. Donaldson. Thank you Mark Helprin for this story. It's not long enough at all. The ending brings, "Somewhere in Time" to mind. I could even see Christopher Reeve playing Peter Lake if only... I'm pleased Mr. Helprin didn't leave it open to cash in on with endless additions. A Classic with very few others on my bookshelf.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Zoe Brooks on 20 Sep 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is epic in vision, ambition and size (673 pages of relatively small type in my edition). And a few days ago I very much doubted that I would hit my target of reading a book a week, but I finished it today, having spent all of yesterday reading. I did read the Lord of the Rings in two days (and all through one night), so I suppose finishing Winter's Tale wasn't a complete surprise. Whether I would have finished this book without the challenge is questionable. I might have given up, which would have been a shame as the book is worth the effort, I am grateful to my challenge for keeping me reading.

The book ranges in time from the late 19th century to the eve of the 21st. It is set in a fantasy New York, heaving with the poor dying in their hovels and gangs of thugs, overseen by hugely powerful newspapers and their magnates, full of energy, hope and despair. As someone who has never been to New York and who is unlikely to go, I felt that I missed a lot of the book's richness. There is a rave review from the New York Times review link here which gives you a New Yorker's take on the book.

The description on Amazon (above) is misleading. Peter Lake may be the main character of the book, but he disappears for the central part of it, and the love story with Beverly although enchanting is actually a minor part of the book. With Peter Lake removed from the story, the focus shifts to a larger cast of characters. Don't expect subtle characterisation in this book. With the exception of Peter Lake and the elderly newspaper owner Harry Penn, Halprin's characters are symbols, vehicles for forces of love, truth etc. The good are good, the evil are evil and there isn't that much of a focus on the latter.
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