A Soldier of the Great War by Mark Helprin

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Synopsis

For Alessandro Giullani, the young son of a prosperous Roman Lawyer, golden trees shimmer in the sun beneath a sky of perfect blue. At night the moon is amber and the city of Rome seethes with light. He races horses across the country to the sea, and in the Alps he practices the precise and sublime art of mountain climbing. At the ancient university in Bologna he is a student of painting and the science of beauty. And he falls in love. His is a world of adventure and dreams, of music, storm, and the spirit. Then the Great War intervenes.

Half a century later, in August of 1964, Alessandro, a white-haired professor, still tall and proud, finds himself unexpectedly on the road with an illiterate young factory worker. As they walk toward Monte Prato, a village seventy kilometers distant, the old man tells the story of his life. How he became a soldier. A hero. A prisoner. A deserter. A wanderer in the hell that claimed Europe. And how he tragically lost one family and gained another.

The boy is dazzled by the action and envious of the richness and color of the story, and realizes that the old man's magnificent tale of love and war is more than a tale: it is the recapitulation of his life, his reckoning with mortality, and above all, a love song for his family.   This e-book includes a sample chapter of IN SUNLIGHT AND IN SHADOW.
 

About Mark Helprin

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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.
 
Published June 1, 2005 by Mariner Books. 880 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction, War, Science Fiction & Fantasy. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for A Soldier of the Great War

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Ariane's death turns Alessandro's mission in life from survival (on the northern front fighting the Austrians, in Sicily fighting deserters, in Rome and the prison of Stella Marls after the murder of his colonel forces him to turn deserter himself, as a prisoner of the Austrians on his return to ...

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Publishers Weekly

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With energetic, often lyrical prose capable of poetic images of great intensity, coupled with an antic imagination unleashed in scenes of high adventure and bizarre and droll events, Helprin's ( Winte

May 06 1991 | Read Full Review of A Soldier of the Great War

Publishers Weekly

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Energetic prose, poetic images of great intensity and an antic imagination combine in this gripping moral fable narrated by a septuagenarian irrevocably altered by WW I.

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Publishers Weekly

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With energetic, often lyrical prose capable of poetic images of great intensity, coupled with an antic imagination unleashed in scenes of high adventure and bizarre and droll events, Helprin's ( Winter's Tale ) dramatic, sweeping narrative focuses on one man's experiences during a turbulent perio...

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Entertainment Weekly

Alessandro Giuliani, the Italian hero of Mark Helprin's A Soldier of the Great War, spends much of the novel cliff-hanging — clinging to Alpine precipices and leaping chasms — and so does Helprin, literarily speaking.

May 24 1991 | Read Full Review of A Soldier of the Great War

People

And making Alessandro an Italian lets Helprin speculate on the value of being beyond the fray: "I'm perfectly content to watch the celebrants from here in the dark," Alessandro says of one procession.

Jun 10 1991 | Read Full Review of A Soldier of the Great War

MostlyFiction Book Reviews

They appeared to be mining not stone but white light, and when they took the stone in slabs and caused it to float through empty space, tracked by searchlights, hanging on gossamer cables and unseen chains, it was as if they were handling light in cubic measure, cutting and transporting it in den...

Nov 06 2010 | Read Full Review of A Soldier of the Great War

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