Winter's Tale (Helprin) - Book Reviews

Book Reviews
[T]he heart of this book resides unquestionably in its moral energy, in the thousand original gestures, ruminations...writing feats that summon its audience beyond the narrow limits of conventional vision, commanding us to see our time and place afresh. Is it not astonishing that a work so rooted in fantasy, filled with narrative high jinks and comic flights, stands forth centrally as a moral discourse? It is indeed.... I do not pretend to know why or how the marvelous concord of discords in Mr. Helprin's Winter's Tale is achieved. I can testify only to the force of the book's summons to wider vision.... Not for some time have I read a work as funny, thoughtful, passionate or large-souled. Rightly used, it could inspire as well as comfort us. Winter's Tale is a great gift at an hour of great need.
Benjamin De Mott - New York Times (1983)

Helprin's portrait of a snow-bound New York from a 1900s that we just about recognise is peopled with Dickensian grotesques and fancies; gangs who battle in the streets, a race to build a bridge all the way to infinity, hidden communities surviving in corners of New York that never were, fantastical families in tumbledown houses at the centre of frozen lakes. There are vast newspapers, almost living things, in intense rivalry with each other, and a magical, Aslan-like horse that can leap across this icy vision of Manhattan. It's wonderful and perplexing and philosophical and, yes, sometimes infuriating.... On every re-reading, [I am] carried along by Helprin's lyrical prose and surreal depiction of New York.
David Barnett -

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