Wednesday, February 13, 2013

In Sunlight And Shadow by Mark Helprin

Harry Copeland, a war hero, has arrived back in New York City, his time as a paratrooper in Europe during World War II over.  While much is familiar, there are lots of changes and issues to resolve.  He meets Catherine Hale and is instantly enthralled.  However, it turns out that Catherine is an heiress; the only child of an old and extremely wealthy family.  Then there is the fact that Harry is Jewish, which makes him an anomaly in monied circles.  Finally, there is the fact that Catherine is already engaged to another man.

Then there is the matter of Harry's family business,  Copeland Fine Leather is known worldwide for their quality goods, and the business thrived under Harry's father. Now that Harry is in charge, problems have arisen.  The business is targeted by the Mafia and the protection money they extract each week is draining the business dry and putting its survival at risk,

These two issues form the backbone of the novel.  Mark Helprin fans will be delighted to see him return to the locale of his A Winter's Tale, his wildly popular novel of 1983.  The same lyrical prose and compelling story lines carry this novel.  The reader is transported to the various locales Harry's story unwinds in; Broadway, the New York manufacturing districts, Long Island mansions, Central Park and war-torn England and Europe.  Helprin does not shy away from the big questions of what makes a life worthwhile, the role of love, or the meaning of the law if it does not protect those who need it.  This book is recommended for all readers.

1 comment:

Becca Lostinbooks said...

I like the fact Harry is a paratrooper (my bf was one) but I can't say the plot appeals to me right now. I do like lyrical prose, though.