Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Tuesday Intros No. 8: Winter's Tale, by Mark Helprin

Welcome to First Chapter, First Paragraph Tuesday Intros,
hosted by Diane @

Every Tuesday, each participant
shares the first paragraph 
(sometimes two) from a book
they're reading,
or thinking about reading.

The book I've picked this week is...

 Winter's Tale
Mark Helprin
Hardcover, 673 pages 
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 
September 20, 1983
Contemporary Fiction, Literary Fiction,
Magic Realism, Romance


About the Book
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 the 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 besieged by unprecedented winters, is one of the most beautiful and extraordinary stories of American literature.

A White Horse Escapes

There 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 hoof beats, 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.   

This is yet another novel
I've owned for years, and have
yet to read! And with such 
a GORGEOUS cover, too!
I ADORE horses, and the color blue!!
I love the vivid, poetic prose,
so I think I'll be picking
this one up very soon!
(After I mentally kick myself
    for not doing so, all this time.)   
From what I've posted above, 
would you say that
I should keep reading? 


Emma Littlefield said...

This sounds like too much of a romance for me I'm afraid, one of the genres I struggle to get away with. Hope you enjoy though...sounds like you are already 😄

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

I've read nice reviews of this one but, it just doesn't seem like one for me. Hope u enjoy it.

JoAnn said...

The cover is so appealing, but the mention of magical realism always scares me off. Hope you enjoy it!

Sandra Nachlinger said...

This sounds like a good story, even though the opening paragraph didn't appeal to me. Sentences too long with too many passive verbs! The author did do a good job of establishing the setting and creating a mood, however, and I'd keep reading.
My Tuesday post features STELLA BAIN.

Brian Joseph said...

The writing in the passage that you quoted is very impressive.

It imparts a certain sense that one is in the scene and conveys a lot of atmosphere.

Maybe it helps that I know the area being described and I can picture it in winter.

This book sounds very good.

Maria Behar said...

Hi, Emma!

Yes, there's definitely romance involved, which is something I love. In this case, though, the style is that of literary fiction, which I would like to read more of.

Thanks for dropping by! :)

Maria Behar said...

Hi, Diane!

Oh, I'm definitely looking forward to reading it!

Thanks for commenting back!! :)

Maria Behar said...

Hi, JoAnn!

Magic realism is precisely one of the things that appeals to me about this novel! Lol. The cover is definitely gorgeous!

Thanks for visiting!! :)

Maria Behar said...

Hi, Sandra!

I think this passage is very poetic and evocative, and it has definitely pulled me into the story! I love the pictures the author has created in my mind -- the whiteness of the horse is even "whiter" because he's surrounded by snow. The whole description of a new day starting is lovely. These are gentle, peaceful images. They make me wish I lived up north, instead of down here in Florida, where we don't have seasons! Lol.

I sure agree with your statement: "The author did do a good job of establishing the setting and creating a mood..."

I'm going to greatly enjoy this book!

Thanks for stopping by!! :)

Maria Behar said...

Hi, Brian!

The writing is indeed impressive! It's very poetic, and does put the reader right in the scene. I consider you SO lucky for knowing the area described.....I do wish I could see snow up close and personal. But even though I am not familiar with the area, I can still picture the whole scene in my mind. That's how skilled this writer is!

I know I'm going to really enjoy this book!!

Thanks for visiting and commenting!! :)

Heather Fineisen said...

This is one of those books I've always been curious about but not sure if I wanted to read it.

Charlie Anderson said...

This one doesn't particularly grab me. I hope you enjoy it, though!

A Belle’s Tales said...

I started watching the movie but lost my interest not too far in. However, I know one should never judge a book by its movie! Haha! I'm still very much intrigued by the premise of this book, and I hope to read it one day in the not too distant future ;) Thank you for sharing!
~ Michele

Maria Behar said...

Hi, Michele!

Oh, how very nice that you dropped by here, too!! :)

I found out just the other day that a movie was made of this book. I had no idea! Now my curiosity is REALLY piqued, especially since you've seen the film, and didn't like it. It's really too bad that movie makers frequently end up messing up a book.... Maybe they'll make another version of this book sometime in the future. (Hope I'm still around for it, if it happens. Lol.)

Thanks so much for visiting this blog, as well!! And I've just noticed you're following me now, with GFC!!!!! OMG!!!!! You are such a PEACH!!!! MANY THANKS & HUGS!!!! <3 :)