Winter's Tale

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Winter's Tale

by Mark Helprin

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt | February 1, 2001 | Hardcover

Winter's Tale is rated 3.125 out of 5 by 16.
A bestseller that takes readers on a journey to New York of the Belle Epoque, where Peter Lake attempts to rob a Manhattan mansion only to find the daughter of the house at home. Thus begins the love between the middle-aged Irishman and Beverly Penn, a young girl who is dying. 'This novel? is a gifted writer's love affair with the language' (Newsday).

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 688 pages, 9.5 × 6.25 × 2.03 in

Published: February 1, 2001

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0151972036

ISBN - 13: 9780151972036

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Rated 4 out of 5 by from Read it for the escapism I found i had to seriously apply myself to get through this book, but once I got absorbed in it I much enjoyed reading it. The books is FAR better than the movie, but still i found it didn't flow well and it was a bit of work for me to stick to it to finish the whole book.
Date published: 2015-10-17
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Winter's Tale I'm sorry to say that this book was so awful that it took me nearly 4 months to read it. Not what I expected considering the cover... So illogical and confusing! It was certainly money wasted. This is the first book that made me feel like I never wanted to read again. And they made a movie out of this thing?!
Date published: 2015-02-23
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Worthwhile, even if it is a tome I rarely read fantasy, but the writing in this novel is wonderful. I was incredulous to how Helprin could make dense descriptions flow so beautifully. The underlying philosophies and thoughts that surface are beautiful too. However, I did find that it took too long for all of the disparate characters and stories to tie together.
Date published: 2014-11-01
Rated 4 out of 5 by from beautifully Written this book is not for everyone, but a beautifully written story. the way it was written reminded me of "Grapes of Wrath" Story is different but the way it makes you feel. Absolutly love this book will definetly re-read
Date published: 2014-07-18
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Winter tale Did not keep my interest. A hard read. Too wordy.
Date published: 2014-05-31
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Longest book everrrrrr Confusing and mind numbing! I kept expecting magical greatness that would make it all make never came. The focus was too great on creating a fantastical story, that it failed to deliver an actual, cohesive story.
Date published: 2014-05-26
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Winters bore I can't do it. This is torture. 15 pages and. Can't read more. I have never hated a book this much.
Date published: 2014-04-25
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Winter's Tale Couldn't finish this book. Waded through half way and decided it wasn't worth reading a book I didn't enjoy just to finish it. Only second time in over 35 years of reading the book is left unread.
Date published: 2014-03-18
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Winters tale by mark Helprin This story is about parallel universe time lines, the original story is about the white horse, who touches many lives, disappears into the fog (like the Bermuda Triangle) then reappears after many years to be just as strong as he ever was, the stories that surround him are linked by the people he is directly involved with and those who are related to them. Without the horse the story could have been several short stories about the newspaper families.
Date published: 2014-03-06
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Wendy Left me wanting to know more.
Date published: 2014-02-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Winter's Tale Not for everyone, this book left me tingling and wondering what forces play just beneath the surface of our own lives. For weeks afterwards I reframed my perspective of everyday and even dreamed in Helprin echoes. Beautifully written and oddly moving. Hard to explain, really.
Date published: 2014-02-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A beautifuly written book Mark Helprin writes wonderfully and poetically. This book is for those who enjoy listening to a man (and I mean both Helprin and Alessandro, the story’s main character) who has a way with words and is a masterful story teller. It is not so much what he says but how he says it that makes the experience enjoyable. That said, the story is still wondrous and magical and comical and tragic.This is one of my desert island books. I truely did not want it to end. I've read it 3 times over the past 15 years and I know that I’ll read it again. I wanted to write this review as a counter to the first reviewer. The book is not about WWI; it is about a man and his adventures in life and what he has learned as he nears the end of his time. If that reviewer was looking for history, I understand why he was disappointed.
Date published: 2014-02-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Winter's Tale... Not For the Faint of Heart or Easily Distracted Helprin's writing is not to everyone's taste. It is dense & full of many ideas, as well as being extremely rich in its description. I first read A Winter's Tale in 1985, & reread it twice more before picking up a PB copy in Italy while traveling through Europe in 2nd yr UNI in '87. I finished its 768 pages on the beaches and in the parks of Nice in 3 days. I've reread it, & Refiner's Fire over & over so many times I can't remember how many any more, & it's unusual for me to forget how often I've reread a book. But these are the only 2 Helprin books I love. The rest I don't. A Winter's Tale, like Refiner's Fire, is an adult Fairy Tale, not in the style of Crowley's Little Big, but in the way it evokes the magic of a long past time, place & love. Brilliant! This description is from the TP edition and is a much more evocative... much better publisher's note than that on the PB or Hardcover, and is for some reason much less vague, in that it actually tells you what the story is about... and so I've included it here: "New York City is subsumed in arctic winds, dark nights, and white lights, its life unfolds, for it is an extraordinary hive of the imagination, the greatest house ever built, and nothing exists that can check its vitality. One night in winter, Peter Lake--orphan and master-mechanic, attempts to rob a fortress-like mansion on the Upper West Side. Though he thinks hte house is empty, the daughter of the house is home. Thus begins the love between Peter Lake, a middle-aged Irish burglar, and Beverly Penn, a young girl, who is dying. Peter Lake, a simple, uneducated man, because of a love that, at first he does not fully understand, is driven to stop time and bring back the dead. His great struggle, in a city ever alight with its own energy and beseiged by unprecedented winters, is one of the most beautiful and extraordinary stories of American literature.:" You can see why I call this an adult fairy tale, and it's setting, in turn of the twentieth century New York City, makes it that much more magical. It recalls, in Peter's mechanical skill, the development of the industrial age and how it seemed to those living through the change it wrought... Simply through the description of the machinery that was newly invented, yet still idiosyncratic in its character, not coming from a mass market economy like so many toasters... the tricks, prowess and artistry that it took to coddle even the most simple machinery into working, and that almost slight-of-hand quality that is lost to all but the best mechanics in a world where everything is run by computers or specialists... That secret machinery that ran NYC at the turn of the twentieth century is described in just such terms, as are the neighbourhoods, the local characters and types, and the story that unfolds within this new and wondrous world. And so the entirety unfolds in all its magical wonder for the reader, just as it does within the story for the characters who populate it, but only if the reader has the patience to explore such a complicated world. For those who do, this is a rare treat - a feast of words and a world just coming of age and whose characters mirror that same confusion and wonder. For those who like their fare lighter and faster, the lack of instant gratification will definitely frustrate.
Date published: 2011-06-07
Rated 1 out of 5 by from SAVE YOURSELF! I have to agree with Janice. I am annoyed to think of how many reading hours I won't get back. I bought this for my husband and, when he said he couldn't get into it, I thought I'd give it a go. After all, I bought it based on a newspaper recommendation. I stuck it out until the bitter end! It is not that the book is not well written, it's that the plot is just impossible, convoluted and a weirdo type of fantasy. It just didn't grab us in the slightest. Sorry Mr. Helprin, not my cup of tea!
Date published: 2009-11-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Spellbinding This is a story about a city of legend, its magic, its mystery, and the wacky and brilliant characters who are all part of its great destiny. Peter Lake, a man of the most humble birth and upbringing, is an expert mechanic who loves the thrill of a well-executed robbery. One frosty night he stumbles upon love while robbing a mansion, and he is forever changed and driven by it. Despite moments of hilarity and comedic nonsense, Helprin's nutty characters all possess tiny, but bold, elements of truth, beauty, and purest justice. This is one of the most beautiful and dazzling stories I've ever read. Through Helprin, you'll be transported between the depths of New York's underground and realms of icy celestial cities. Winter's tale inspires you to see the potential in our world for miracles, and your winters will sparkle a little bit more too.
Date published: 2006-03-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantasy marries reality I can easily say without a moment's pause, this is the best book I have ever read. It is the definitive 'tale' that unites the believable and unbelievable in such a comfortable way that makes you enjoy suspending your disbelief. I promise this book will make you roar out loud with laughter and feel unwilling tears roll down your cheeks. This book draws you in to a world uncomparable to anything you can relate to but at the same time, feel as part of something so natural. I read this book many years ago but I will never forget it's affect. This is truly one of those books that takes you in, and takes you away.
Date published: 2000-09-01

– More About This Product –

Winter's Tale

Winter's Tale

by Mark Helprin

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 688 pages, 9.5 × 6.25 × 2.03 in

Published: February 1, 2001

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0151972036

ISBN - 13: 9780151972036

About the Book

A breathtaking novel by the author of "A Soldier of the Great War," this is a book about the beauty and complexity of the human soul, about God, love, and justice.

Read from the Book

A WHITE HORSE ESCAPESTHERE WAS a white horse, on a quiet winter morning when snow covered the streets gently and was not deep, and the sky was swept with vibrant stars, except in the east, where dawn was beginning in a light blue flood. The air was motionless, but would soon start to move as the sun came up and winds from Canada came charging down the Hudson. The horse had escaped from his master's small clapboard stable in Brooklyn. He trotted alone over the carriage road of the Williamsburg Bridge, before the light, while the toll keeper was sleeping by his stove and many stars were still blazing above the city. Fresh snow on the bridge muffled his hoofbeats, and he sometimes turned his head and looked behind him to see if he was being followed. He was warm from his own effort and he breathed steadily, having loped four or five miles through the dead of Brooklyn past silent churches and shuttered stores. Far to the south, in the black, ice-choked waters of the Narrows, a sparkling light marked the ferry on its way to Manhattan, where only market men were up, waiting for the fishing boats to glide down through Hell Gate and the night. The horse was crazy, but, still, he was able to worry about what he had done. He knew that shortly his master and mistress would arise and light the fire. Utterly humiliated, the cat would be tossed out the kitchen door, to fly backward into a snow-covered sawdust pile. The scent of blueberries and hot batter would mix with the sweet smell of
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Table of Contents


A White Horse Escapes 3

The Ferry Burns in Morning Cold 10

Pearly Soames 20

Peter Lake Hangs from a Star 40

Beverly 95

A Goddess in the Bath 110

On the Marsh 130

Lake of the Coheeries 143

The Hospital in Printing House Square 173

Aceldama 191


Four Gates to the City 219

Lake of the Coheeries 221

In the Drifts 264

A New Life 347

Hell Gate 370


Nothing Is Random 401

Peter Lake Returns 403

The Sun... 418

...and The Ghost 438

An Early Summer Dinner at Petipas 445

The Machine Age 456


A Very Short History of the Clouds 505

Battery Bridge 507

White Horse and Dark Horse 544

The White Dog of Afghanistan 579

Abysmillard Redux 591

Ex Machina 606

For the Soldiers and Sailors of Chelsea 641

The City Alight 666

A Golden Age 697

epilogue 747

From the Publisher

A bestseller that takes readers on a journey to New York of the Belle Epoque, where Peter Lake attempts to rob a Manhattan mansion only to find the daughter of the house at home. Thus begins the love between the middle-aged Irishman and Beverly Penn, a young girl who is dying. 'This novel? is a gifted writer's love affair with the language' (Newsday).

About the Author

MARK HELPRIN is the acclaimed author of Winter's Tale, A Soldier of the Great War, Freddy and Fredericka, The Pacific, Ellis Island, Memoir from Antproof Case, and numerous other works. His novels are read around the world, translated into over twenty languages.

Editorial Reviews

"This novel is imaginatively engaging as well as entertaining, and it will find an eager audience among adults and older adolescents alike," predicted LJ's reviewer quite accurately (LJ 8/83)?the book became a smash best seller. This magical story of the multiple lives of protagonist Peter Lake is now available in an oversized trade paper edition.