Feature

Novel of the week: In Sunlight and in Shadow by Mark Helprin

Mark Helprin’s latest opens in 1946 New York City just as Harry Copeland is about to spot an heiress on the Staten Island Ferry.

(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $28)

Mark Helprin’s latest “reads like an adult fairy tale,” said Ellen Emry Heltzel in The Seattle Times. It opens in 1946 New York City just as Harry Copeland, a strapping ex-paratrooper, is about to spot an heiress on the Staten Island Ferry and woo her with lofty proclamations of his ardor. But Harry is the Jewish son of a leather-goods manufacturer, and Catherine the daughter of true blue-bloods, so there will be obstacles, including the Mafia, that this beautiful couple will have to overcome. Helprin’s novel proves to be “a sublime anachronism, both in its classical structure and in its belief that literature should serve higher truths,” said Sam Sacks in The Wall Street Journal. Harry and Catherine embody beauty and virtue, and Helprin is “unapologetic about portraying” their love as something divine. As if the “solemn magnificence” of this novel weren’t enough, Helprin has crafted dual climaxes for his lovers that proved “so gorgeous and stirring” that “I was moved to read them out loud.”

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