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Archive for the ‘Mark Helprin’ Category

I have just finished Ellis Island, a lovely book of excellent short stories, by Mark Helprin. Now that I have read a few of his books, I see patterns and stories that are common to his work, and recognize those moments of frenetic wild abandon that he sometimes just cannot resist, rhapsodies of description that ascend into the impossible but still, are magical. Silly and wonderful ecstasies of language. And often, very moving indeed. Charming figures of speech: “I followed, dizzy as a loon, through a maze of wooden stairs and hallways so rich with age that you could have boiled them in a pot and made a delicious broth”. His own experiences, and his delicate sense of family and city history forms a stalwart support for the stories, some of which might otherwise falter into froth and whimsy.

Hell's Gate, NY

Hell’s Gate, by Michael John Boog.1888. The image depicts the area where the East River, Harlem River and Long Island Sound meet called Hell Gate. The name reflects the turbulent waters that exist as a result of conjunction of bodies of water. Museum of the City of NY.

 

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