Saturday, April 21, 2012

Shelf Candy Saturday #16: Winter's Tale, by Mark Helprin

This wonderful book meme/blog hop
is hosted by

Stephanie @

The purpose of this feature is to display
a beautiful book cover,
with information, if available,
about the cover illustrator,
photographer, and/or designer.

For all the participation rules,
just click

I am again contrasting
two covers this week.
One is for the hardback edition,
while the other is for 
the trade paperback edition.

Hardcover, 673 pages
Harcourt Brace & Company
September 20, 1983
Genres: Romance, Literary Fiction,
Magic Realism

Why do I love this cover?

I think it's so magical...  First of all, there's all that glorious blue in various shades that go from dark blue to a bright, celestial blue.  Then there's the horse, hovering over the city of New York, with stars in its body.  This is a reference to the constellation of Pegasus.  The city itself has been transformed into a surreal, misty winter landscape.  The combination is nothing short of stunning, hinting at the literary wonders to be found inside the book. 

I also love the font used for the title and author's name, as well as where these two lines are placed.  They fit right in, not obstructing the images at all.  The font reminds me of the hand printing style used by architects on their plans, which I've seen in the past. 

I had heard of Mark Helprin some time back, and, intrigued by the story, looked up the book on Goodreads, Amazon, and eBay.   When I saw this gorgeous image, I knew I had to have this specific edition of the novel!  This cover has two of my favorite things in life -- a horse and the color blue! 

I was able to locate an excellent copy on Amazon a couple of years ago.  Since I had a promotional offer at the time, the total price I paid was $21.04.  I've seen it on eBay recently for over $60.00, since this is a first edition.  I think I got very lucky!

Mark Helprin
Trade Paperback, 748 pages
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
June 1, 2005
Genres: Romance, Literary Fiction
Magic Realism

I would probably have bought this edition, had I never seen the hardback edition.  This is a really nice cover.  I'm a huge fan of black & white photography (although this one does seem to have a slight greenish tint), and this is a very well done sample.  I love those shafts of sunlight!  However, this cover doesn't give me the aesthetic and magical pleasure that the first one does.  The first cover makes me want to get right into the story, while this one makes me think that the book might be interesting, but without the necessary ingredient -- fantasy -- that I prefer in my fiction.

The photograph of New York City
on the bottom of the hardback cover
is titled "Park Avenue", and was taken
 in 1936 by
William Thomas.
It was provided by
Unfortunately, I was unable to find
information about the photographer, since I encountered several people
with the same name
when I did my Google search.
I wasn't sure which one of them was
the one who took this particular photo.

The beautiful jacket design is by
Fred Marcellino.

Here are two websites with
information about him:

The following link, found at
Pulcinella Press,
will take you directly to a collection
of book jackets
designed by Marcellino:

So what do you think 
of this cover?
(The blue one, specifically!)
What beautiful cover(s) 
are you featuring this week?


  1. I agree, I love the first one a lot more. It's beautiful and makes me think the story will have fantasy elements and it also reminds me of the snowy, magical cartoon movies I would watch around Christmas. It almost makes me think that the horse is actually a unicorn :). While I like the light flowing in through the windows on the second cover, I don't like that the cover is in black and white. Then again, if the cover had been in color the light probably wouldn't have stood out as much.

    1. Oh, I'm so glad you agree! Yes, the blue cover is definitely more magical. It's interesting that you're mentioning a unicorn. It could be one for sure!

      You're right about the shafts of light in the second cover -- they probably wouldn't stand out as much if this cover had been done in color. I think black & white photography makes a powerful aesthetic statement, although I do love color photography, as well!

      Thanks for the great comment!! : )

  2. It is so impressive that both covers can be equally amazing but so different. I love the lighting and the photo in general on the second cover and I would hangthat one on the wall, but the first cover and the way that astronomy is incorporated rocks my world. Thank you for sharing these. I am not familiar with the book, so I am going to give it a try. I can't wait to tell you what I think.

    1. Hey, Steph! Oh, I love the lighting in the second cover, as well as the photograph itself. I, too, would hang it on my wall. But I would do the same with the blue one! And, it would have a place of honor, too.

      This novel is supposed to have lush, poetic prose. It's considered a literary masterpiece. I must confess I haven't read it, though...can you believe it? So I'm realy looking forward to your review of it!! (But of course, I'll read it, too! Lol.)

      You're very welcome for the share, and thanks for the great comment!! : )

  3. Great covers and they're so different! I'll have to check this book out, it's not one I've heard of before. :)
    ~ Anna @ Book Lovn' Mamas

    Our Shelf Candy

    1. Yes, they really ARE different! This book is supposed to be a literary masterpiece, so definitely check it out!

      I'll be going over to your SCS post in a few! Thanks for commenting!! : )

  4. These are great. I love how they take something a bit ordinary - the city view and the train station - and add or enhance a touch of something magical or ethereal to them - the unicorn and the incredible lighting in the station photo. I have not read anything by this author, but now I am curious! Great picks!

    1. Oh, that's precisely what's so GREAT about these covers!! I do prefer the cover with the horse, althogh the one with the train station is very nice, too.

      You should really check out this book! I've heard that it's a literary masterpiece! (Yeah, I must confess I haven't read it yet...)

      Thanks for the great comment!! : )

  5. Wow, these are great covers! I really like the paperback one, with those shafts of sunlight! If I saw that at the bookstore, I would pick it up and buy it! Great shelf candy!

    1. Oh, I'm glad you agree! I do prefer the one with the horse, although the other one is pretty nice, too. Be sure to check this book out!

      Thanks for the nice comment!! : )

  6. Wow! these are gorgeous! My daughter would Love the first one, that horse is gorgeous and I love that color. It almost looks like the horse if flying over the city... on an adventure. I really prefer it to the second cover, though they are both beautiful. They are very different, aren't they? I was expecting them to be very similar but they aren't. I will have to look into these further, Thank you so much for showing these wonderful covers off! thank you for the wonderful comments lately on my blog, they always make me smile!

    1. Hey, Cambria!

      I agree that both covers are gorgeous, but you know I prefer the first one, because of the horse, and all the blue! Lol. They are indeed very different. I would have expected them to more similar, too, as you say. However, I've seen the cover of the mass-market paperback edition, and it IS just like the hardcover one, except that there's no white border.

      You're very welcome for the share, as well as for my comments on your blog. So glad I make you smile! : )

      Also, thanks for the very nice comment!!


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