“All rivers run full to the sea; those who are apart are brought together; the lost ones are redeemed; the dead come back to life; the perfectly blue days that have begun and ended in golden dimness continue, immobile and accessible…”
― Mark Helprin, Winter’s Tale
I read last week that Mark Helprin’s epic book, Winter’s Tale, is being made into a movie. I have mixed feelings about that as it is one of my favorite books and HOW can the fantasy elements not look ridiculous or too CGI on screen? Not to mention that the richness of the writing is impossible to script. But whatever. I’m always crying about a favorite book being made into a movie and then pleasantly surprised. Sometimes.
This movie has included Jessica Brown Findlay (Lady Sybil from Downton Abbey. An inspired choice!) as Beverly Penn. And even though I almost spit out my coffee when I read that Colin Farrell had been cast as Peter Lake, seeing him in the picture above made me change my mind. Possibly. I have always pictured Peter Lake as looking like Gabriel Byrne, so actually Mr. Farrell is not that far off. But really, Gabriel Byrne would be better. Right?
Anyway, I’m getting off track. The whole reason I started this post was not because of the movie or the fact that I want to live in Helprin’s magical land called the Lake of the Coheeries, but because lately I find myself falling asleep at night with visions of a fantastical, snowy New York City floating through my mind. Not the NYC of today, but the New York that exists in the book, in Central Park. In particular, on top of a mansion, lying in a down bed, warmly covered in fur rugs while the snow falls all around. When I close my eyes I see lanes of leafless trees flicking past me as a horse drawn sleigh slides faster and faster through the snow, as we clasp our warm hands under the heavy (faux!) mink blanket. These are not unpleasant images to have before sleep.
In WINTER’S TALE, Beverly Penn lives a solitary life on the top of her Mansion in the center of Central Park. She lies every night looking up at the falling snow or watching the stars roll across the night sky. She is not unhappy. Even though she lives this strange life above the rest of the world, a part of it, but not quite in it, she is eventually found by Peter Lake who is magical and adores her with his whole being until her inevitable death.
It’s that love story that makes the book so special for me. And I wonder at how images from Beverly’s life keep running through my head in the last moments before sleep these past nights. I wonder at who has found me and how he looks at me. I wonder at how when together I feel a part of the world, but not quite in it. I marvel at the warmth of our hands clasped underneath the (faux!) mink blanket and then fall asleep to dream about white horses flying across the Brooklyn Bridge. I wonder, “What does it all mean?” and then I just let it be, because it is wonder full. And who needs anything more than that?
“He could say nothing. He had no right to be there, he had already been profoundly changed, he was no good at small talk, she was half naked, it was dawn and he loved her.”
― Mark Helprin, Winter’s Tale
Happy Holidays! And PLEASE read the book before seeing the movie.