This is a love story about a city, New York City to be precise. Of course their are two people who shouldn’t be lovers, but over all it is the city that is the object of Helprin’s love.
When Harry met Catherine that day on the ferry, he knew he had met the one. It took him a little while to convince her, but inevitably he did. Overcoming racial prejudice (he was Jewish) and financial difficulties (she was rich; he owned a failing leather good factory) they forged a love that lasted through sunlight and shadow.
In anyone else’s hands, this would have been a banal tear jerker, but in Helprin’s delicate hands, it is a book that will live in my memory, alongside Winter’s Tale as a glowing paean to a great city.