Winter's Tale (Harvest Book) Paperback – 1 Mar 1995
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The New York Times No. 1 bestseller - now a major film starring Russell Crowe, Colin Farrell and Jessica Brown Findlay. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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. See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Read the book, but a strong performance by everyone and a movie well put togetherPublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
Bought this for the mother inlaw she loves it so job donePublished 5 months ago by firstname.lastname@example.org
it has been twenty years since I read a book that I never wanted to stop reading as much as this one… usually i am irritated when authors go into flights of fantasy, but his... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Timbun1
Was not sure what to expect but was not a bad read. Not sure I would recommend it thoughPublished 7 months ago by Kindle Customer
Badly written ramble. Unedited. Very poor. Like long speeches, this could have been better shorter! Characterisation non-existent. Plot lines confusing. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Amazon Customer
Jessica Brown Finlay (Downton's - Lady Sybil) and Colin Farrell headline this story. It's modern, It's fairy tale and there are twists that you don't think are plausible. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Ms. J. K. Moore
I simply couldn't get into this book and have, in a rare fit for me, given up. I'm sure it's up some people's street, just not mine.Published 14 months ago by Hannah