9780547819235

In Sunlight and in Shadow

Helprin, Mark

ISBN 10: 0547819234 / 0-547-81923-4
ISBN 13: 9780547819235
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication Date: 2012
Binding: Hardcover
Editorial Reviews for this title:
Synopsis:
Can love and honor conquer all?

Mark Helprin’s enchanting and sweeping novel springs from this deceptively simple question, and from the sight of a beautiful young woman, dressed in white, on the Staten Island Ferry, at the beginning of summer, 1946.

Postwar New York glows with energy. Harry Copeland, an elite paratrooper who fought behind enemy lines in Europe, has returned home to run the family business. Yet his life is upended by a single encounter with the young singer and heiress Catherine Thomas Hale, as they each fall for the other in an instant.

Harry and Catherine pursue one another in a romance played out in Broadway theaters, Long Island mansions, the offices of financiers, and the haunts of gangsters. Catherine’s choice of Harry over her longtime fiancé endangers Harry’s livelihood and eventually threatens his life. In the end, it is Harry’s extraordinary wartime experience that gives him the character and means to fight for Catherine, and risk everything.

Not since Winter’s Tale has Mark Helprin written such a magically inspiring saga. Entrancing in its lyricism, In Sunlight and in Shadow so powerfully draws you into New York at the dawn of the modern age that, as in a vivid dream, you will not want to leave.

Review:

Q&A with Mark Helprin

Q. In Sunlight and In Shadow has been likened to both your Winter’s Tale and A Soldier of the Great War. What do you say to that?

A. When I wrote Winter’s Tale, I’d often walk ten or twenty miles a day through New York, taking in overwhelming rafts of imagery, sounds, views. And when I wasn’t doing that, I virtually lived at The New York Historical Society, just as I had jeopardized my freshman year in college by sitting on the floor of the stacks at the New York section, mesmerized by one book after another.

The result of these obsessions was to live in the world of New York circa 1900 as if I were really there, as if it were still bustling invisibly right where it had been, and I could see and feel it. The book opens with, “I have been to another world, and come back. Listen to me.”

With In Sunlight and In Shadow, the effect is perhaps stronger, and, for me, easier. It takes place not in a world I had to seek but one – New York in the 40s – into which I was born. The density and accuracy of the images, the onrush of memory, the stunning recollections of sound, speech, song, dress, all came easily. The people in In Sunlight and In Shadow are, with great poetic liberty, people I knew and/or loved – even the gangsters, the financiers, the actresses, intellectuals, soldiers, and factory workers.

When I finished A Soldier of the Great War, I gave it to several Italians to see if the pitch was correct, but with In Sunlight and In Shadow I didn’t have to do that, because there is nothing I know better. The book is like Winter’s Tale in that I have made it as obsessively truthful and beautiful as I could, in the hope that a reader may feel that he is in the book rather than where he is, and perhaps even wish to remain for a while, as in waking from a dream.

It’s unlike Winter’s Tale and more like A Soldier of the Great War in that in it one doesn’t depart from the texture of reality, as exceptional and intense as that reality may be. When my father read Winter’s Tale, which I had dedicated to him shortly before he died, he said, now you’ve got to write a book as enchanting as this but in which every element is possible in the real world in which we live. Then you would have something really marvelous.

That’s what I’ve tried to do. Whether or not I’ve succeeded is not for me to judge, but I can say that writing the book gave me the same feeling, persistently over time, and always strongly, as falling in love. I’m not quite sure what that means except that it’s great to have a job that you would do even if you weren’t paid for it.

Review

Editorial reviews may belong to another edition of this title.
 

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Book Description: Houghton Mifflin. 1 Cloth(s), 2012. hard. Book Condition: New. It is the summer of 1946, and postwar New York City pulses with energy in this "expansive, lyrical" novel (The New Yorker) from the Prix de Rome and National Jewish Book Award–winning author of Ellis Island and Other Stories and Winter's Tale. Soldier Harry Copeland has returned home to run the family business—but his life is upended by a single encounter with singer and heiress Catherine Thomas Hale, as each falls for the other in an instant. In a romance played out in Broadway theaters, Long Island mansions, the offices of financiers, and the haunts of gangsters (the book is, in many respects, a love letter to the city itself), Catherine's choice of Harry over her longtime fiancé endangers Harry's livelihood and even threatens his life. Ultimately, Harry must summon the strength of his wartime experience and risk everything to fight for Catherine."Prose seems too mundane a term for Helprin's extravagant way with words and emotions. Just when you think In Sunlight and in Shadow might float away into the ether, lofted by the sheer beauty of his sentences, he brings it down to earth with a shrewd comment on the speech patterns of Catherine's ultra-privileged social class, or a vividly specific account of the production process at the West 26th Street loft that houses Harry's high-end leather goods business. [The book] is at heart a romance, not just the romance of two attractive young people but the romance of life itself."—LATimes 705. Bookseller Inventory # 42817

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Book Description: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. 1st Edition. 8vo - over 7¾ - 9¾" tall. 1st Printing. Gift quality. Clean, bright, tight, unmarked copy w/no rips or creases. Unclipped dust jacket protected by archival cover. Quick, secure shipping w/free delivery confirmation. Bookseller Inventory # 008236

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