Captain James Raymond is a retired naval officer and voracious reader – he’s also my Pop. Given his burn rate on books, it’s a natural to ask him to stand in for me while I saw through Twenty Years After. Watch for future reviews by him.
A beautiful novel set in New York City during the early post WW2 years. Henry, a young paratrooper returns from war and attempts to reestablish his family leather business. His wartime experiences leading his squad into Normandy on D-day and during the battle of the bulge establishes his character using flashbacks. Love at first sight occurs on the Staten Island ferry and the book follows our character as he woos and wins Catherine, an actress who is also the daughter of a wealthy and important family.
Helprin’s love for New York come through clearly in this lyrical book where every word has been carefully chosen. The principal characters are people you would like to meet and get to know and the city forms the stage for this love story. The ending leaves the reader saying – “if only…” This is a book I have added to my short list of books which I will want to reread more than once.
Read also A Soldier of the Great War , also by Mark Helprin.
RAR – I have – great read!