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Winter's Tale (Harvest Book) Paperback – 1 Mar 1995

3.9 out of 5 stars 97 customer reviews

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Paperback, 1 Mar 1995
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Product details

  • Paperback: 688 pages
  • Publisher: Thomson Learning; 1st Harvest Ed edition (Mar. 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0156001942
  • ISBN-13: 978-0156001946
  • Product Dimensions: 21.3 x 17.5 x 4.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (97 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,088,329 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Book Description

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.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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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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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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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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