With all due respect to Steven Pressfield the master of historical fiction, Stephen King the master of fiction period and countless other authors like Ron McLarty and Leif Enger who I read with fervor, I must admit that I consider Mark Helprin THE master of writing. By the way, if you click any of the covers, you will go to the book on Amazon. Every since I read Winter’s Tale the first time 30 years ago, I’ve often said of Mr. Helprin’s prose, “If you open any of his books at random to any page and begin to read, what rolls from your tongue is pure poetry.”
Yesterday afternoon as I worked my Friday shift at the Redemptorist book store, Marie called to let me know that the physical proof of my new book Gaspar, Another Tale of the Christ had arrived at the house. I couldn’t wait to get home. After you spend over two years researching, writing and re-writing a manuscript, there is something very special about holding the physical fruit of your labor in your hands. Even as I write this, the book smiles at me from the corner of my desk.
When I returned home, the plain, unadorned brown box waited patiently for me where Marie had placed it on my desk. I carefully opened the package and finally held the book in my hand. Gaspar is my sixth novel in 10 years, and the longest by a considerable margin.
I read the two opening paragraphs aloud to my wife. “I like that,” she replied. Then I did the Mark Helprin test and opened the book randomly and read another paragraph
We glide into the mist. It is thick and moist, then light begins to penetrate its weakness and it begins to rise like a flock of birds hiding in a marsh. Land emerges before us and extends as far as we can see from east to west. This is no small spit of land like those islands we have passed during our thirty days on the water. This land has substance. It is a real place. I believe it is the end of the world. Exhausted, we collapse on the rocky beach, and within minutes, the sun’s warmth lures us to sleep. Dog runs off to explore the nearby forest ….
While I’ll make no claim to be Mark Helprin, I’ll stand by my words.
For whatever reason, the book begged me to read the final paragraphs. Hard for me to explain, but I had difficulty getting through them; I kept getting choked up, not because it was the end of the book, but because I find the conclusion as emotional as I read it now as I did when I first wrote it a year ago. Marie smiles and turns away to allow me my private tears and emotional release.
I will post the announcement tomorrow that Gaspar, Another Tales of the Christ is officially available on Amazon. I expect the Kindle version to be up by mid-August. Thanks for your continued interest and support.