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Helprin, Mark

Entry updated 12 September 2022. Tagged: Author.

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(1947-    ) US author who served in the British Merchant Navy and the Israeli armed forces, experiences transmuted in A Dove of the East and Other Stories (coll 1975), which contains some fantasies. He is best known for Winter's Tale (1983), an epic Urban Fantasy [see The Encyclopedia of Fantasy under links below] set in an imaginary New York. The novel attempts to be a fantastic history of the City in the twentieth century, celebrating the forces which gave birth to it, and catapulting it towards an ambiguously redemptive apocalypse at the end of the millennium. Helprin employs sf images and ideas (such as extraordinary Machines and Time Travel), but at heart the book remains a fairytale, concerned more with Magic than with science. The Swan Lake sequence of Young Adult tales – comprising Swan Lake (1989 chap), A City in Winter (1996) and The Veil of Snows (1997), all three assembled as A Kingdom Far and Clear: The Complete Swan Lake Trilogy (omni 2010) – combines fairy tale, fantasy and fabulation in describing the life of an exiled princess who must regain (and keep) her land, which is dominated by a vast edificial metropolis described in terms Equipoisal between Urban Fantasy and Dystopia; the illustrations by Chris Van Allsburg (1949-    ) are central to the conception. Freddy and Fredericka (2005) is a Satire with touches of fantasy, a kind of Alternate History tale in which the Prince of Wales attempts to reclaim America. His novels have been described, not entirely helpfully, in terms of Magic Realism. [PR/JC]

Mark H Helprin

born Ossining, New York: 28 June 1947



Swan Lake

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