Monday, May 14, 2012

2012 book 135

Mark Helprin's Winter's Tale
This was my FAVORITE book when I was in high school and college, and I used to reread it at least once a year . . . though it's been about ten years since I last read it, partially b/c my old paperback copy (actually my dad's old paperback copy) completely fell apart, and partially b/c when I tried to read the fancy new paperback edition that came out in like 2005, it was a) too heavy, and b) I bogged down about halfway through and didn't have the heart to keep reading it in case I didn't love it anymore.

Which is perhaps too much backstory for this blog, but whatever. A Kindle version finally came out, which made me much more eager to try reading it again (though, be warned, it has a million stupid typos of the sort that happen when a book is converted to a digital file for the first time). And it holds up pretty well. The first third--set in the very early 20th Century, focusing on mechanic/burglar Peter Lake and his love-at-first-sight with one Beverly Penn (side note, somehow they are making a movie of this book starring Colin Farrell and Lady Sybil from Downton Abbey in these roles, with Russell Crowe as a crime boss and Will Smith as some part I haven't figured out yet) is still the strongest--this book is like 800 pages long, and the middle is kind of slow, and everyone falls in love at first sight with someone, and there's a pretty uninteresting interlude where a guy runs for mayor for no reason, and I STILL haven't figured out what political/philosophical thought I am supposed to take away from this book, besides "Yay New York I guess"--mainly b/c Peter Lake is the BEST. And frankly this book is a little weird, all flying horses and Baymen and a rainbow bridge to the future (it came out in 1983, but the last chunk takes place in 1999). I like the flying horse a lot, but trying to explain this story is nigh impossible. Anyway, turns out I do still love it despite its flaws.

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