What are your thoughts on "A New Life" and "Hell Gate?" They struck me as transitional chapters in some ways - more beautiful women are introduced, more people fall in love at first sight (or, in one notable case, before first sight) I'm very much enjoying this novel so far, but, after reading these two chapters, I am beginning to believe that it needs a 'straight man' - somebody who the audience can identify with and serve as a frame of reference for the more whimsical and magical characters. When everybody leads a charmed life (and I apply that word to the destitute characters as well, if that's not too contradictory), nobody's life seems all that charmed; by the rules of Winter's Tale's universe, they are all normal. Having a few more normal characters would make the Peter Lakes, Christiana Friebourgs and Virginia Gamelys a little more special.
I loved the scene with Hardesty and Marko Chestnut. I can barely get cabs to stop for my, but ocean liners break for Hardesty Marratta. He must be a special guy.
Characters have now entered the city through three "gates" - some more literally than others. What do you make of the three gates so far, and what do you expect out of the fourth?
Most of the neighborhoods in Helprin's New York City exist in real life, but their size and relationship to one another are skewed - sort of like New Jersey landmarks in the songs of Bruce Springsteen. What do you make of Helprin's New York City, and what is your favorite part of it?
Moving forward, what do you think Virgina Gamely's role in the novel will be?