Monday, November 14, 2011

Winter's Tale Readalong Post #2

Okay I didn't get up a post last week, because I admit that it took me awhile to get into the book and I was distracted by other things. But I forced myself to stay up and finish the section for today and I'm really glad I did because I'm becoming very enamored by the book. Like most readalong chunksters, it took about one hundred pages for me to become engaged because so much back story had to be laid. But the writing is very beautiful and descriptive, even if I feel Helprin has overused the word hiss.

So...some observations!

--This is a magical book, that much is clear half the time I have no idea what's going on. I sort of feel like I'm reading a story only getting some of it, because the world it takes place in is so completely different. But I sort of don't mind because it's so enchanting.

--Even though I was rolling my eyes at how Peter Lake and Beverly fell in love by merely looking at each other, their emotions feel so real. Peter Lake's dream of Beverly after she died was heart wrenching, the general urgency to their days as death approached felt so true.

--I love the way New York feels in this book--it feels so alive, teeming with feeling and emotion, a place where a mass of humanity collides and there's beauty and ugliness. I love the discussions of justice, that the contrast between the wealthy and the poor is something that plagues Peter Lake, that he's haunted by the vision of that sickly child he saw when he first arrived in New York. I think it's interesting that every time he brings this up, the wealthy have an excuse, a reason why there are poor people that pretty much frees them from all responsibility. But it's till not enough for Peter Lake.

--There's even a little bit of humor, though not enough. One of my favorites was when they sent a telegram telling them to look everywhere for Beverly, and the reply was, "where's everywhere" so they listed off all the places to look. I don't know why, but that really made me laugh.

--I guess ultimately I'm just really enjoying the way this book is so otherworldly, yet not, a little like a fairy tale, but not, with rich descriptive language and tackling big huge issues.

One of my favorite quotes so far:
"You don't have to believe me. It's all right if you don't. The beauty of the truth is that it need not be proclaimed or believed. It skips from soul to soul, changing form each time it touches, but it is what it is."

Anyone else reading along? Please tell me what you think so far!


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