Sunday, December 27, 2009

CSD Book Club Selection - Winter's Tale, by Mark Helprin

The new Common Sense Dancing Long Book Club selection is Mark Helprin's Winter's Tale. Discussion of the book will begin on February 1st.

Winter's Tale was published in 1983, and in 2005 the New York Times voted it one of the 25 best American works of fiction of the past 25 years. The original review from the Times can be found here. A couple of years ago, Paste Magazine critic David Langness, wrote about reading it in one sitting, crying for 15 minutes afterward, then re-opening it and starting again. So, we're hoping it will be a little more easily accessible than our current selection, Moby Dick.

Winter's Tale is structured differently than Moby Dick, and, to make it work, the weekly discussions will cover different numbers of pages. Our preliminary schedule for the first four weeks:

Week 1: Prologue through "Pearly Soames" (39 pages)
Week 2: "Peter Lake Hangs from a Star" through "Beverly" (60 pages)
Week 3: "A Goddess in the Bath" through "Lake of the Coheeries" (57 pages)
Week 4: "The Hospital in Printing House Square" through the end of book one (43 pages)

We will try to get the discussion threads up on Mondays, though we may need to stay flexible as real-world stuff gets in the way. Please share your thoughts and comments as we read along!

ADDED - Discussion of A Winter's Tale will begin on February 1st. I somehow forgot to include that in the original post.


Ellen said...

I got a little behind with Moby Dick there, but I'm looking forward to this one. When are we starting?

JRM said...

Winter's Tale is by far the best novel I have ever read. Actually, it is by far my favorite work of art in general... far better than any song I have ever heard or any painting I have ever seen. You are all in for quite a treat.

Night Writer said...

Great, great novel. I've read it through three times and often just pick it up and flip it open at random and start reading. I'll be interested to see the discussions.

Anonymous said...

I read Winter's Tale once in 1983 . I just had bought the book and didn't know anything about it: I'd felt an irresistible attraction. My english wasn't good and still isn't but I fell under its magic spell at once and never recovered.
I can't wait to read all your comments about it . Like JRM I also think that Winter's Tale is the most fascinating and beautifully written modern novel I have ever read. Simply said: a masterpiece.