This collection of 16 stories displays the remarkable scope, incomparable wit, and deft prose that have come to be Helprin's signature. Lighthearted, glittering fables are met with starker tales that sound the depths of sacrifice and duty.
As ambitious and imaginative as any of Helprin's past works (Memoir from Antproof Case; Winter's Tale; etc.), the 16 stories collected in the author's first book in nearly a decade are gloriously rich and varied. In "Perfection," Helprin's fabulist skills glitter as a Hasidic boy from 1958 Brooklyn makes a pilgrimage to "the house of Ruth" in the Bronx, believing that he must save Mickey Mantle and the "New York Yenkiss." Other tales explore loss, regret, retribution and time's passage, their exotic locations Italy, France, Israel, the orange grove-era Pacific coast imbuing them with exuberant life. In "Il Colore Ritrovato," a bookkeeper-turned-impresario, who years ago discovered one of the world's greatest (and unhappiest) opera singers, happens upon another untrained but perfect soprano and wrestles with his conscience about introducing her to the professional world. In "Monday," an honorable contractor willing to sacrifice other contracts and his own reputation to renovate the home of a woman whose husband was killed on September 11 learns "the power of those who had done right." "Passchendaele," a story of unrequited passion between a Canadian rancher and his neighbor's mute wife, is tender and moving, as are "Last Tea with the Armorers" and "Prelude," each demonstrating immense faith in the power of love. These are sturdy, rewarding stories from a master of the form. Agent, Wendy Weil. 4-city author tour. (On sale Oct. 25) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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June 27, 2005
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