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A Winter’s Tale, by Mark Helprin November 3, 2014

Posted by stuffilikenet in Awesome, Books, Brilliant words, Uncategorizable.

A Winter’s Tale, by Mark Helprin is either about a romance between a burglar and a doomed consumptive girl, a magic horse named Athensor, a madman becoming mayor of New York or a serious, lengthy meditation upon the spiritual meaning of winter.  It might be poetry, since it reads beautifully and it might be an epic, because it is surely as slow and ponderous as anything by Cecil B. Demille and it might be a story about how magic persists in the minds of those so gifted.

One thing it is not, however, is short.  This book is one of many reasons I have been slow to update this space.  Do not be fooled by the appearance of a movie of the same name; you can’t make a movie out of this.  It’s a book, dammit.

In short (hah!) Winter’s Tale is a long-form poem, as sure as Homer’s little doggerel is.  Do not start this unless you have a strong love of wordplay and a powerful ability to suspend disbelief.  If you have that, you are in for a real treat.

The wordplay here is second to none;  it kills any narrative flow like a stake through the heart, but that’s just fine.  The words are the thing, not the plot, the action or any personal conflicts.  Those are just the bread upon which sweet jams and jellies are lathered to make a word sandwich.

I cannot recommend this book too highly; I would give it ten stars but I only have five.


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