The book may be a paean to New York, a morality tale, or a treatise on beauty and justice, but it’s also a window—a window through which we can see not just the struggles of another time, but the way in which humanity struggles against everything which it cannot know or control in blind pursuit of ideals, principles, happiness, and survival.
Living as I do in an engineer’s world of specificity and detail, it is humbling to consider the city on such a scale. But Helprin’s gift is to make it seem magical and effortless, like the passing of the seasons.
Photo: Self-portrait at Mt. Auburn Cemetery, 2008.