To me, Helprin doesn't so much write as seduce. His exquisite prose creates worlds and characters that are immediate and overwhelmingly romantic. I loved this story of a profoundly good man struggling with the wounds of his past to create, against all odds, a future for his family. And Paris! Ah Paris! Never has the city been so perfectly rendered. Recommended By Kathi K., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
The magnificent new novel by the gifted, singular #1 New York Times bestselling author of Winter’s Tale and A Soldier of the Great War.
Mark Helprin’s powerful, rapturous new novel is set in a present-day Paris caught between violent unrest and its well-known, inescapable glories. Seventy-four-year-old Jules Lacour ― a maître at Paris-Sorbonne, cellist, widower, veteran of the war in Algeria, and child of the Holocaust―must find a balance between his strong obligations to the past and the attractions and beauties of life and love in the present.
In the midst of what should be an effulgent time of life ― days bright with music, family, rowing on the Seine ― Jules is confronted headlong and all at once by a series of challenges to his principles, livelihood, and home, forcing him to grapple with his complex past and find a way forward. He risks fraud to save his terminally ill infant grandson, matches wits with a renegade insurance investigator, is drawn into an act of savage violence, and falls deeply, excitingly in love with a young cellist a third his age. Against the backdrop of an exquisite and knowing vision of Paris and the way it can uniquely shape a life, he forges a denouement that is staggering in its humanity, elegance, and truth.
In the intoxicating beauty of its prose and emotional amplitude of its storytelling, Mark Helprin’s Paris in the Present Tense is a soaring achievement, a deep, dizzying look at a life through the purifying lenses of art and memory.
"Constant brilliance...rarely less than breathtaking." Boston Globe
"The last epic novelist...he takes the long view. Esquire
"I find myself nervous, to a degree I don’t recall in my past as a reviewer, about failing the work, inadequately displaying its brilliance." New York Times Book Review
"Prose seems too mundane a term for Helprin’s extravagant way with words and emotions." Los Angeles Times
"A masterpiece filled with compassion and humanity. Perfect for the pure pleasure of reading." Kirkus Reviews
About the Author
Mark Helprin is the acclaimed, bestselling author of Winter’s Tale, In Sunlight and in Shadow, A Soldier of the Great War, Freddy and Fredericka, The Pacific, Ellis Island, Memoir from Antproof Case, and numerous other works. His novels are translated into more than twenty languages and read around the world. He lives in Virginia.