Jan 20th, 2012 by Annie
Winter’s Tale by Mark Helprin
In a strange New York City at the turn of the nineteenth century, Peter Lake is being pursued by the murderous Pearly Soames and his Short Tails gang, when he is rescued by Athansor, a beautiful and extraordinary white horse that becomes his companion. Peter burglarizes the wealthy homes on the Upper West Side and comes upon the consumptive and dying Beverly Penn while attempting to break into her father’s house. Beverly, a mystic in deep communion with the workings of the universe, and Peter become lovers. It is from Beverly and their unending love that Peter develops the keen sense of justice and purpose that carries him to the close of the twentieth century and to a duty he must perform.
Book Club Party Ideas for Winter’s Tale
Plan a winter white book club party for Winter’s Tale. Decorations can include white table cloths and linens, white candles, twinkling white lights, white flowers such as roses, camellias, chrysanthemums, dahlias, and fake snow to sprinkle over the table. Also, include at least one representation of Athansor. I found this great poster of a white horse in the surf which reminded me of Christiana’s first encounter with Athansor.
Since the New York City of Winter’s Tale has settled into a long winter era, include a selection of winter music, available at amazon.com, including The Hotel Café presents… Winter Songs
and If On A Winter’s Night.
And, encourage your guests to dress in white.
Book Club Menu for Winter’s Tale
Include some winter white foods on your winter white party menu. Here are some yummy ideas.
Popcorn and Delicious Fresh Dill Dip served with white party crackers for appetizers.
Waterthins Crackers are a great choice to serve with dip. Available at your local grocer or on-line.
This White Lasagna dish is so good! Your guests will probably go back for seconds so you may need to prepare two pans of this recipe.
For dessert, serve a delicious cake with snowy white marshmallow frosting topped with white sparkling sugar for a coating of frost. You could also wow your guests with a white chocolate fondue served with pieces of angel food cake and big marshmallows for dipping.
Here is a recipe for a Winter White Spiked Punch. It looks so pretty served in martini glasses. If you prefer not to serve a “spiked” punch, then prepare a non-alcoholic version by mixing together frozen lemonade concentrate (thawed), white cranberry juice, and ginger ale.
Book Club Resources
Ratings at the time this post was published
|Goodreads: 4.14 stars (4534 ratings)|
|Amazon: 4.1 stars (225 ratings)|
|LibraryThing: 4.25 stars (513 ratings)|
|My Rating: 4.75 stars Winter’s Tale is a hefty tome but I flew through it. Mark Helprin writes the most breathtaking lines of imagery! The interwoven multitude of characters span a century in a fantastical New York City. This novel is at times fantasy, romance, comedy, tragedy, whimsy, visionary tale, morality tale, and at all times fabulous!|
- Did you like Winter’s Tale? Why or why not. Did you find it difficult to read?
- There are many characters in this novel. How did you feel about the characters? Which character was your favorite and why?
- A movie adaptation of Winter’s Tale by screenwriter Akiva Goldsman has recently been announced. Who would you like to see play which parts? (If the movie is out, what do you think of the cast?)
- The author, Mark Helprin, has expressed disappointment (click here to read interview) over the lack of recognition his critically acclaimed novels, including Winter’s Tale, have received from esteemed literary awards, blaming this omission on his personal political views rather than on the merits of his work. Do you think he is right? Why or why not?
- Discuss the mythical winter-entrenched New York City of Winter’s Tale . The following quote should get the discussion going: “So with a city, which if it is to make its mark must be spirited, slippery, and ungovernable. A tranquil city of good laws, fine architecture, and clean streets is like a classroom of obedient dullards, or a field of gelded bulls – whereas a city of anarchy is a city of promise.”
- What role does the majestic Athansor play?
- Quite a few reviewers have written that the theme of Winter’s Tale is obscure. Do you agree? What do you think is the main theme?
Purchase Winter’s Tale at your favorite bookseller
|Mark Helprin was born in 1947 in New York City. He received his education from Harvard, Princeton, and Oxford. He also served in the Israeli army, Israeli Air Force, and British Merchant Navy. For more information on Mark Helprin, please visit his website.|
Other Works by Mark Helprin
Personal Insights, Favorite Quotes, etc…
This quote gave me goosebumps:
“And then he was suddenly overwhelmed. It was as if a thousand bolts of lightning had converged to lift him. All he could see was blue, electric blue, wet shining warm blue, blue with no end, everywhere, blue that glowed and made him cry out, blue blue, her eyes were blue.”
Do you have any other ideas or recipes for a book club party for Winter’s Tale? We would love to have you share them with us! You can leave a comment below and upload pictures as well.
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