One of the most celebrated novelists at work today, the author of such enduring works as Winter’s Tale, A Soldier of the Great War, and In Sunlight and In Shadow, Mark Helprin is here today with his newest, Paris in the Present Tense (Overlook). This visit also marks a return to Seattle, a city Mark Helprin once called home. The new novel has characters in present-day Paris facing death and the prospect of death in loved ones both young and old - and traces some threads out of Paris’ World War II past.
“It is the fluidity of Helprin’s prose that makes this novel of ideas so utterly captivating and Jules a lovable if flawed hero. Helprin’s principal achievement lies in his subtle, often profound exploration of religious intolerance, capitalism, and technological advances in stark contrast to Jules’ inspiring humanism. These themes are never didactic but instead build on the metaphor of the Seine with its treacherous current, whirlpools, and half-submerged tree trunks churning just below the surface while Jules glides skillfully along in his delicate [rowing] “shell.” - Bill Kelly, Booklist.
“A modern-day story of love, music, and death . . . A masterpiece filled with compassion and humanity. Perfect for the pure pleasure of reading.”- Kirkus.
“Paris in the Present Tense is a twilight novel, and its love affair, essential to any Helprin work, is a complex one, haunted by time . . . Helprin, author of the indelible Winter’s Tale and A Soldier of the Great War, has always been most comfortable in the epic mode, retaining a classicist’s eye for beauty while preserving enough of the contemporary world to speak to the present. His prose has an aching beauty.” - Saul Austerlitz, The Boston Globe.
“In most of the novels written in the United States since World War II, we find characters who have little or nothing to believe in . . . Mark Helprin is one of the rare writers for whom this is not the case . . . His books are romances in the chivalric mold, in which beauty, love and bravery possess a greater reality than the characters dedicated to honoring them. This is true again in his enchanting new novel, Paris in the Present Tense . . . This passionate and uplifting book produces a kind of music that few living writers know how to create.” - Sam Sacks, The Wall Street Journal