winter’s tale

title: Winter’s Tale

author: Mark Helprin

genre: Fiction, fantasy, romance, orphan

suggested by: BuzzFeed

dates read: October 13th – October 20th

review: 2 out of 5 stars

summary: As an infant Peter Lake’s parents tried to immigrate to America but are turned away when they are found to have consumption.   Desperate to have their son live a better life, they find a model boat and float him back to shore. He spends the first twelve years of his life being raised by swamp people, The Baymen. After he is forced to leave the swamp, he makes his way into New York City, where he learns to steal, work metal, and falls in love.

personal thoughts: I’ll be honest, I didn’t even finish this. I got about 250 pages in and decided that I had given it a fair shot.   It’s 748 pages long and I had a difficult time getting as far as I did. It was filled with superfluous descriptions and paragraphs that went on and on and on talking about nothing. It was really strange (a flying horse and people coming back from the dead are just a few examples), a lot of the dialogue didn’t make sense and it seemed like it was trying to be philosophical without really doing so.   I’m not a picky reader (or at least I don’t think I am) but I do want a story that is well written without meandering in a way that is nonsensical. I really liked Beverly but (SPOILER) she dies. I also liked Isaac Penn but (ANOTHER SPOILER) he dies too.   I tried going to the end to see if it got any better but, in what I read, the story wanders just as much as the first 250 pages. Sorry, Helprin, not a fan.

favorite quotes:
“one might make the case that New York would not have shown without its legions of contrary devils polishing the lights of goodness with their inexplicable opposition and resistance.” p. 21

“Finally, night and evening were solidly entrenched outside the house and inside wherever bright lamplight fought deep shadow.” p. 97

“He knew that it made everyone perfectly equal, and that the treasures of the earth were movement, courage, laughter, and love.” p. 138

“’The beauty of the truth is that it need not be proclaimed or believed. It skips from soul to soul, changing form each time it touches, but it is what it is, I have seen it, and someday you will too.’” p. 194


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