by Mark Helprin
I don't know how this book ended up on my TBR list. It is a vast, sprawling fantasy of New York City. The main character is Peter Lake, an ignorant yokel who stumbles into the City in the 1800s and quickly falls into an organized group of thieves and petty criminals. One day while breaking into a house he falls in love with a rich girl (one of the most preposterous scenes in the book), who has a terminal illness.
Winter's Tale is full of surreal incidents and picturesque language to the point of ridiculousness. I was enjoying it for the sheer fun and astonishment of the word play until I reached page 200 where Peter Lake dropped out of sight and the already meandering plot took off in a direction I couldn't recognize. Then I did something I've never done before. I skipped about 150 pages and began reading again, when Peter Lake (like Rip Van Winkle) reappears after half a century has gone by. Having seriously lost interest in the storyline, I skimmed the last fourth of the book, reading only those parts that dealt with Peter Lake's search for his legendary white horse that could leap four city blocks and aspired to fly in the sky. Something about the style of this book reminded me a lot of The Tin Drum, or even One Hundred Years of Solitude. If anyone's managed to read and like Winter's Tale, I'd love to hear why!
Abandoned ..0/5.... Published: 1983, pp 688