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Winter's Tale [Paperback]

Mark Helprin
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)

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Book Description

1 Jun 2005
The New York Times No. 1 bestseller 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.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


Product details

  • Paperback: 748 pages
  • Publisher: Harvest Books; Reissue edition (1 Jun 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0156031191
  • ISBN-13: 978-0156031196
  • Product Dimensions: 20.3 x 13.5 x 5.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 201,879 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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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.

--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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First Sentence
THERE was a white horse, on a quiet winter morning when snow covered the streets gently and was not deep, and the sky was swept with vibrant stars, except in the east, where dawn was beginning in a light blue flood. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magical Book 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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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Annual addiction 31 Dec 1998
By A Customer
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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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
If you plan to be shipwrecked on a deserted island, bring a toothbrush and this book. It's that good, and probably just that necessary. I've read 'Winter's Tale' like 6 times, and it keeps showing me new stuff. I'm not even clear on what it all means, really, but I don't think that matters. Helprin -- try to prove me wrong -- puts something gorgeous and profound and soul-pleasing in every single paragraph, if not every sentence. There's a glowing, resonant, orchestral familiarity in each romance, each caper, each heartbreak in this book; this is escapism of the rare sort that makes you believe that YOU CAN. And it's got a flying horse in it.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
If you've never read any of Mr. Helprin's books, this is the place to start. Magical, lyrical and unafraid to take risks, this is one of the most beautiful books you will ever read. I've lost about 4 copies of it to people I've lent it to. For those who find it elitist, I can answer only that Helprin, in all of his work, attempts to search for the transcendent, rather than the particular in our existence. Urban geography, class, race, gender all fade as particulars, cultural constructs of the time and place we live in. So, if those categories are the creatures of our culture and society, why are they any less real than the New York Helprin constructs? With "The Confidence Man," it is said that Melville gave up trying to strike through the page to the underlying truth of our existence, simply turning the mask outward to illustrate the unreadibility of modern existence. With Winter's Tale, Refiner's Fire, A Soldier of the Great War, and Memoir in Antproof Case, Helprin seeks to defiantly answer "NO!" to those who claim our lives are without meaning or significance. This is a book to read, love, savor and read out loud to anyone you care about. It will stay with you the rest of your life.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars At last! 16 April 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
It took a long time and it was hard work, but I finished it. I can tell nothing that it was about because I don't really know. Now it is finished I think I do have some understanding. I am sorry I can't say more. I think it is about love, universal balance, belief, time and continuity and, possibly, God. There is also a magnificent white horse.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars wonderful wonderful book 2 Mar 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Magical realism and love story that is beautifully written. I wish I had discovered it a long time ago and I'm looking forward to re-reading it
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars When Words Turn Into Magic... 14 Feb 2014
Format:Paperback
Winter’s Tale is a very complex novel. It’s main focus lies on New York City, but not the New York City we know. Not even New York City as it was around 1900, which is the time the first part of the novel is set in. Mark Helprin created his own version of this famous North American city we all know. If it doesn’t feel weird for you in Part I of the book, wait until you reach Part II. I was really confused! I had no idea what time I was in. Was that still the past (because the language and other details suggested that)? No it wasn’t, but where was I? If you try to find that out with the help of clues you usually pick up on the way, you’re lost. Well I was. I just started to accept it. This world is different even though it shares lots of similarities with ours.

Peter Lake for example. He looks human. He is human. If he would have had a better past, he might have become a normal, working-class citizen of New York. Things turned out a little different though and he starts to do things you can’t comprehend. You could call Peter Lake a main character, but I could be biased by the movie trailer. I’ve thought about it. There are so many characters in this novel. Every one of them is introduced in more than just two pages. At some point it got quite confusing to remember who was who. Many of these characters (e.g. Hardesty & Virginia) are very important and take up large parts of the novel. I can’t say if there really is a main character. What do you think?

As you can see, Winter’s Tale is a rather confusing adventure, but there is one thing that makes it worthwhile: the language! Okay, two. There’s also Athansor, the flying horse. If I had the time, and I hope I’ll have it someday, I would sit down and just read passages of the book for sheer pleasure.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Breathtaking....
A beautiful story....I don't understand why so many of you are being so critical about it, Surely we all look for a miracle in life...
Published 1 day ago by tattoojack
5.0 out of 5 stars My feelings summarised
After lending out my original copy (unfinished, and unreturned) many years ago I finally got round to a Kindle version late last year. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Pete Clarkson
1.0 out of 5 stars Dreadful
what was it all about??? as an avid reader of many genre, I thought I would love this book, it had no thread no real story almost as bad as the movie..but not quite!!
Published 2 months ago by lyndiloo
2.0 out of 5 stars Long and Strange
I found this quite a strange read. I kept hoping I would get more into it. It was ok but I found it a bit boring and hard work
Published 3 months ago by Tee Gee
3.0 out of 5 stars Better than the film
Although still quite obtuse in places, the concept is almost plausible. I would give a plot summary but there isn't enough room. Best try for yourselves I think.
Published 3 months ago by Rathfadden
3.0 out of 5 stars Two Souls in the Cold
So, I just got through 'Winter's Tale' and I came away with three quotes that were noteworthy:

"Truth is no rounder than a horse's eye. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Jenny Lee Bates
1.0 out of 5 stars Can't get past the first twenty pages
This book is not for me.

Unfortunately it is one of the very few books that I simply cannot "get into" and it is the writing style that leaves me cold. Read more
Published 3 months ago by MsNorthman
1.0 out of 5 stars twenty different story's
It was like twenty different story's, not a good read at all. I really thought it was a waste of my time and my money. Gillian x
Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent
Very good book, got delivered on time and in good condition, different to any other book i have read and looking foreard to seeing the film
Published 4 months ago by emma taylor
2.0 out of 5 stars A new york winters tale
I found that at times the book went on to long and many bits very irreverent. The idea of the book is very beautiful that Peter n Beverley's love can last all eternity. Read more
Published 4 months ago by colleen hindley
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