In Sunlight and in Shadow

  • Read by: Sean Runnette
  • Runtime: 29.9 Hours
  • Recording: Unabridged
  • Release date: 10.2.2012
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio
  • Genre: Fiction
  • 29.88 hrs10/2/2012Unabridged
  • ISBN-13: 978-1-4708-1038-2
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A New York Times Bestseller

A 2012 Washington Post Notable Book for Fiction

A Kirkus Reviews “New and Notable Title”, October 2012

A BookPage Book of the Day, October 2012

Selected for the October 2012 Indie Next List

An 2012 Amazon Top 100 Book

An AudioFile Editors’ Pick in October 2012

Mark Helprin’s enchanting and sweeping novel asks a simple question: can love and honor conquer all?

New York in 1947 glows with postwar energy. Harry Copeland, an elite paratrooper who fought behind enemy lines in Europe, returns home to run the family business. In a single, magical encounter on the Staten Island ferry, the young singer and heiress Catherine Thomas Hale falls for him instantly but too late to prevent her engagement to a much older man. Harry and Catherine pursue one another in a romance played out in postwar America’s Broadway theaters, Long Island mansions, the offices of financiers, and the haunts of gangsters. Catherine’s choice of Harry over her longtime fiancé endangers Harry’s livelihood—and eventually threatens his life.

Entrancing in its lyricism, In Sunlight and in Shadow so powerfully draws you into New York at the dawn of the modern age that, as in a vivid dream, you will not want to leave.

Editorial Reviews

“Mark Helprin’s sprawling new novel, In Sunlight and in Shadow, uses language, not music, to conduct the swelling themes of at least half a dozen Oscar-winning films to lyric crescendos. Passionate, earnest, nostalgic, and romantic in multiple senses of the word, it resurrects with throat-catching regret and nickel-gleam luster the automats and assumptions of the America of the 1940s, both the sets and the sensibilities.”

New York Times

“[A] beautifully read story, full of romance, philosophical musings, and poetic passages…Sean Runnette’s reading of Harry suited the thoughtful, strong, smart and sexy Harry. Helprin’s text with Runnette’s narration of the time and location of post-war New York City is eloquent and listeners will be entranced.”

Soundcommentary.com

“In its storytelling heft, its moral rectitude, the solemn magnificence of its writing, and the splendor of its hymns to New York City, the new novel is a spiritual pendant to Winter’s Tale, and every bit as extraordinary…There is no question that Mr. Helprin prefers the age of the past. In Sunlight and in Shadow is a sublime anachronism, not only in its classical structure but in its belief that literature should serve higher truths…Even the most stubbornly resistant readers will soon be disarmed by the nobility of the novel’s sentiments and seduced by the pure music of its prose…The book especially soars in its latter half. A masterly hundred-page interlude revisiting Harry’s wartime experiences during the Normandy landings and the Battle of the Bulge expands the novel’s scope and sets it more clearly inside history. Mr. Helprin builds superbly to a two-part finale…The harmonization of the dual climaxes results in passages so gorgeous and stirring that I was moved to read them out loud. That is fitting, because the writing throughout In Sunlight and in Shadow sounds as though it were scored to some great choral symphony.”

Wall Street Journal

“Helprin paints a dazzling portrait of the city…and evokes the universal, dizzy delight of falling head over heels in love…Wise, saturated with sensory detail, and beautifully written, Sunlight celebrates the unquenchable bliss of existence.”

People

“Prose seems too mundane a term for Helprin’s extravagant way with words and emotions…Post–World War II Manhattan isn’t merely the backdrop…it’s a magical urban landscape…In Helprin’s rhapsodic rendering…In Sunlight and in Shadow is at heart a romance, not just the romance of two attractive young people but the romance of life itself.”

Los Angeles Times

“Literary characters don’t get much more perfect than Harry and Catherine…Poster-sized World War II archetypes of a vanished America…In Sunlight and in Shadow is a sensational and perfectly gripping novel: a love story, a tribute to the fighting spirit of World War II, a hymn to the majesty of New York.”

Washington Post

“Helprin is gifted at writing about war—not just combat but the vastly complex and contradictory world that surrounds combat—and the passages describing Harry’s wartime experiences are…lyrical, thrilling, and at times astonishing…In Sunlight and in Shadow, like all of Helprin’s novels, exists to remind us that…it is sometimes wiser and more fulfilling to cherish our deepest ideals than to mock them.”

Chicago Tribune

“New York, New York, it’s a wonderful town! And Mark Helprin’s new near-epic novel makes it all the more marvelous. It’s got great polarized motifs—war and peace, heroism and cowardice, crime and civility, pleasure and business, love and hate, bias and acceptance—which the gifted novelist weaves into a grand, old-fashioned romance, a New York love story…Helprin does several things extraordinarily well: He fights for and wins our close sympathy for his characters, even as he delivers a full-throated rendering of life at war and life at peace (with a little of each in the other). He also pays wonderful attention to the natural world, such as that New York Spring that opens the story, the changing of seasons, dawn in France and winter in Germany during the war, such domestic matters as thirty minutes of kisses, and the rue and wonder of a great love affair. I was desperately disappointed, though, by the end of this grandly charming and deeply affecting novel—but only because it ended.”

NPR

“Helprin has written another expansive novel, as if no one has yet alerted him that the novel is dead. Here it is, a poetic and likely enduring rendering of New York just after the Second World War, a love story that pines for love but even more fervently for an industrious and ascendant America that is no more and maybe never was…In Sunlight and In Shadow matters. It is a novel, with all of the presumption and ambition and sense of transport that that word once carried when it was the boss…If his latest novel is a book out of time, perhaps it holds clues as to where the novel ought to go from here.”

Esquire

“Helprin is the closest thing modern culture has to such esteemed figures as John Keats and Walter Pater—he evinces a type of Romantic Aestheticism that is a dying breed in this barbarous age…Though Modernists and Post-Modernists have undoubtedly dominated the twentieth century, and the beginning of the twenty-first century, I do foresee the pendulum swing back…[with] Mark Helprin as a leading figure of the twenty-first-century Renaissance.”

Huffington Post

In Sunlight and in Shadow takes a huge bite out of one very complex Apple, blending aspects of its art and commerce into a story that pulses not just with romance but also with an energy befitting America’s most vibrant city. Helprin is a master of his material.”

Seattle Times

“More symphonic prose poem than narrative. It is a paean to love, idealized, and also a love letter to New York City in all its rhythms, human and natural, its moods, weathers, changing colors of sky and water. The writing is so highly lyrical and lovely that sometimes my aesthetic receptors clogged with a surfeit of beautiful language…I succumbed to its idiosyncratic spell…There is a tragic climax, perhaps inevitably, since it is difficult to imagine a perfect love enduring unchanged by time. But the novel’s main theme is the loving embrace of small visions and actions that become extraordinary if we have the spirit and energy to notice their textures.”

Minneapolis Star-Tribune

“In the long sweep of his textured, absorbing look at life in New York City in the middle of the twentieth century, Mark Helprin talks about many big issues yet always gives them a human face…Precise yet transcendent turns of phrase put readers right beside the couple as they deal with the circumstances…[of] a literary love story that rivals those celebrated in earlier classics. And Helprin has demonstrated once again the ability to make readers experience what Harry tells Catherine everyone must have: ‘the friction, the sparring with the world, that you need to feel alive.’”

St. Louis Post-Dispatch

“In this prodigious, enfolding saga of exalted romance in corrupt, postwar New York, resplendent storyteller Helprin creates a supremely gifted and principled hero…Helprin’s suspenseful, many-stranded plot is unfailingly enthralling. The sumptuous settings are intoxicating. The novel’s seething indictment of mobster rule in the 1940s is bracing, and the lovers’ high-stakes predicaments are heartbreaking. Helprin’s personal articles of faith shape every scene as he expresses deep respect for soldiers, sensitivity to anti-Semitism and racism, and stalwart belief in valor and individual exceptionalism. So declarative is this philosophical tale that it can be read as Helprin’s spiritual and lyrical answer to the big, bossy, and enduring novels of Ayn Rand.”

Booklist (starred review)

“Elegant, elegiac…A fine adult love story—not in the prurient sense, but in the sense of lovers elevated from smittenness to all the grownup problems that a relationship can bring.”

Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Glorious and golden, truly like reentering another world where another sensibility prevails and even the sunlight and shadow have a different weight.”

Library Journal

Author Biography

Mark Helprin was educated at Harvard, Princeton, Columbia, and Oxford. He served in the Israeli Infantry Corps, Israeli Air Force, and British Merchant NavyHe is the acclaimed author of Winter’s Tale, A Soldier of the Great War, Freddy and Fredericka, In Sunlight and in Shadow, Memoir from Antproof Case, and numerous other works. His novels are read around the world, translated into over twenty languages.

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Reader Biography

Sean Runnette, an Earphones Award–winning narrator, has also directed and produced more than two hundred audiobooks, including several Audie Award winners. He is a member of the American Repertory Theater company and has toured the United States and internationally with ART and Mabou Mines. His television and film appearances include Two If by Sea, Cop Land, Sex and the City, Law & Order, the award-winning film Easter, and numerous commercials.

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