We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
I am halfway through Helprin's* latest novel, In Sunlight and in Shadow. I've read most of his novels.
It's a love story in New York, but also has been described as a love song to New York. I think he also approached it as a chance to put all of his thoughts about what life is about into the words of his protagonist. Thus sometimes he lapses into "telling" instead of "depicting." His protagonist is Harry Copeland, a Jewish NYC leather goods manufacturer just returned from WW 2 who falls in love with an enormously wealthy and social WASP heiress.
Unlike his (I think) masterpiece, Soldier of the Great War, the new book could have used some vigorous editing but, like all of his stuff, worth the read because he is a very smart and observant fellow who just can't resist throwing all of his thoughts in there.
Helprin has an impressive and interesting bio. He had many adventures in life before settling down to write stories (and political commentary on the side). That's the best way to do it.
I like the detail that he does most of the manual labor on his farm in Virginia.
(* Note: Not to be confused with Mark Halperin, the Time Magazine politico)
I tried half a dozen times to read "Soldier of the Great War" and just could not get beyond the starting chapters. Perhaps if I'd taken it on a cruise or island hopping I could have waded through it but that would have been no surety of getting it read either since many a bad book found its way into the briny deeps after just one or two chapters. Maybe it picked up speed after the first 240 pages...
Like a lot of people, I have too many books to read and just keep buying.
The "Soldier of the Great War" sat on many different shelves since 1991,the year when I attended a book signing at a small local book store. Mark was very engaging and I have continued to follow him principally through his WSJ articles.
Having lived in Italy for several years, I finally relented and read the Soldier. A fabulous and compelling story that I am sorry took me so long to open.
if anyone wants to read post-WW1 malaise/ anomie, then the best sources are those were where there: Robert Graves, Goodbye to All That; Sigfried Sasoon, the Sherston trilogy; and a few others of that generations.
There are some ( OK, me), who think that somewhere between A Winter's Tale and Soldier, that Mark dismissed his editor, or found a more compliant one. For all that I like his work very much, and usually give one of his novels as a Christmas present. Soldier was a fantastic love story, much as Winter's Tale was.
Thanks for the recommendation, BD, I'll definitely pick it up.