Tuesday Aug 22, 2023

Stories That Defy Genre With Mark Helprin | SCC 109

The Oceans and the Stars: A Sea Story, A War Story, A Love Story (A Novel)

Mark Helprin belongs to no literary school, movement, tendency, or trend. As many have observed, and as Time Magazine has phrased it, “He lights his own way.” His three collections of short stories (A Dove of the East and Other Stories, Ellis Island and Other Stories, and The Pacific and Other Stories), seven novels (Refiner’s Fire, Winter’s Tale, A Soldier of the Great War, Memoir From Antproof Case, Freddy and Fredericka, In Sunlight and In Shadow, and Paris in the Present Tense), and three children’s books (Swan Lake, A City in Winter, and The Veil of Snows, all illustrated by Chris Van Allsburg), speak eloquently for themselves and are remarkable throughout, for the sustained beauty and power of their language. Helprin’s academic training, military service, decades of journalism, and involvement in politics and statesmanship as an obligation of citizenship, although secondary at best, have gained some attention nonetheless.

Translated into a score of languages, his books include A Dove of the East & Other Stories, Refiner’s Fire, Ellis Island & Other Stories, Winter’s Tale, Swan Lake (with illustrations by Chris Van Allsburg), A Soldier of the Great War, Memoir from Antproof Case, A City in Winter, and The Veil of Snows (both with illustrations by Chris Van Allsburg), The Pacific & Other Stories, Freddy and Fredericka, Digital Barbarism, In Sunlight and in Shadow, A Kingdom Far and Clear, and Paris in the Present Tense.

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