For what can be imagined more beautiful than the sight of a perfectly just city rejoicing in justice alone.
I have to admit that I was a little intimidated by this book at first. It being a behemoth at 748 pages and also that it is my boyfriend’s father’s favorite book. My boyfriend had also given it to me as a Christmas present, which felt almost like a rite of passage. I was terrified. “What if I end up hating it?” I thought. It’s such a delicate thing to give someone a book that is so dear to your heart and is at the top of all of your “Favorites of All Time” lists. That, along with with the sheer size of the thing scared me half to death.
I will be the first to admit that it did take me a while to finish it, but at 748 pages can you blame me? There were also some extenuating circumstances that also lead to the delay. (We had been packing to move again and I accidentally packed the book.) So, about a week ago I had a little more than 400 pages to go and I decided, since I had two days off, to buckle down and finish them. What a ride.
Mark Helprin has a way with words that is unparalleled. I know that I have said, many times, that an author writes poetically and Helprin is no different. He may even be the grandfather of poetic writing in a novel. Even the chapters are well chosen words that make you swoon. (I audibly said “genius” after reading the chapter “Nothing is Random” and right after it “Peter Lake Returns”.) He truly transports you to New York City and even though it is the NYC that we all know and love, it isn’t. There is a veil of mystery that surrounds the entire place and though you can’t quite put your finger on it, you know that it’s there. The city is just as much a character in this novel as any of the many characters and you grow to love it, if not more than the people living in it.
Of those people living amongst the backdrop of the city, Peter Lake is by far the one that I fell in love with most. I’m sure I’m not the only one either to succumb to his charms. He is a powerful force on the page and yet he is humble. I did start falling for him during the beginning of the book but it is towards the middle where he really starts to steal your heart away and begs you to stay with him. It becomes so, that you don’t want to put the book down because you have to leave him and the journey that you are taking, together.
There are truly no words to describe the feeling of reading this book. It is an adventure. It is epic. It is a mystery. I will not betray it by giving anything away and I am confident that everyone who reads this book will draw their own conclusions upon it’s ending, but I know what I believe. This book begs to be read and, trust me, it will stay with you long after you are done. Especially when the snow starts to fall.
All of my fears about this book were unfounded and I loved every word. I talked about the book so much that my boyfriend is now going to reread it. Even though I said it is a delicate thing to recommend a book that you love so much to someone in fear that they might hate it. I implore you to read this book. Best enjoyed in the winter time with a large cup of tea.