Ellis Island and Other Stories Paperback – Feb 28 1985
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"It's genius. . . . Ellis Island ascends to the peak of literary achievement." - The Boston Globe
"Such an ambitious reach is almost unheard of in our short fiction." - The New York Times Book Review
"Constant brilliance . . . Rarely less than breathtaking . . . every single story sings with purity, vibrates with light."- The Plain Dealer (Cleveland)
About the Author
MARK HELPRIN is the acclaimed author of Winter's Tale, A Soldier of the Great War, Freddy and Fredericka, The Pacific, Ellis Island, Memoir from Antproof Case, and numerous other works. His novels are read around the world, translated into over twenty languages. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
The stories in Ellis Island and Other Stories offer the same enticing overdose of goodness but in smaller doses. Lest you be thrown off by the cover or the title, these stories are definitely not history or even historical fiction. They are not exclusively about immigrants, Europe or the War, although threads of these subjects do run through them.
The title story, Ellis Island is the longest and the last. It is about the Ellis Island and immigration, of course, but it is also fantastic fantasy complete with a wonderful machine that melts the snow from the streets supported only by its own jets of fire, the Saromsker Rabbi and his glorious sermon on bees, the lovely Hava, and Elise, whose hair is nothing less than a pillar of fire. Of the eleven stories, Ellis Island comes closest to Winter's Tale in its spirit of fantasy, although A Vermont Winter best describes the perfection of a deep Northeastern snow. As in Winter's Tale, in Ellis Island, Helprin is not averse to destroying beautiful things for the sake of a larger good, even if the logic of his narrative does not demand that he do so. But that, you see, is Helprin; for him death is just another part of art.
All of these stories are brilliant and all of them are beautiful.Read more ›
What Ellis Island represents is a writer still in the process of finding his footing. We see in many of these stories the genesis of what will become the themes and motifs that will preoccupy the mature artist. The characters are consumed by romanticism and wanderlust, even the Vermont cranes who occupy a central position in the collection. The writing is lyrical and quite often moving. At times, however,it comes across as too consciously poetic, the metaphors forced. While Helperin strives for Joycean epiphanies, his endings too often come off as carelessly constructed fade-outs. This is particularly true of "The Schreuderspitze" and "Martin Bayer." I agree, however, with the reader who singled out "A Vermont Tale" for praise. It stands out in this volume as a forerunner for the type of controlled symbolism Helperin will later perfect. It really is, to use a hackneyed term, a "haunting" tale.
The title-piece of this collection, "Ellis Island," was the source of my biggest let-down.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
Few writers can evoke a sense of place and mood like Helprin. The first story, "The Schreuderspitze", is as mystical and moving a story as you'll ever read. Read morePublished on July 31 2001 by Michael J. Edelman
Mark Helprin's writing provides a wonderful experience somewhere between the pruned brilliance of Hemingway,the lyricism of Pasternak, and the surreal vistas of Garcia-Marquez. Read morePublished on April 14 2000 by James A. Scott
Mark Helprin is one of the few authors I've read that makes me forget I am reading, i.e. his words create such a strong sense of place that I lose myself in his stories. Read morePublished on Feb. 23 2000