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Publisher's Summary

On his last long walk, septuagenarian war hero, deserter, and professor Alessandro Giuliani shares his past with an illiterate young factory worker, spinning a remarkable tale of heart-stopping escapes, of loves unrequited and won, of madmen, dwarfs, and mafiosi. But overshadowing all is his most miraculous and terrible adventure, the Great War: a surreal parade of horrors that devastated and defined Alessandro, yet enabled him to experience fully the magic and beauty of the absurd human comedy called life.
©1991 Mark Helprin (P)2007 BBC Audiobooks America
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Critic Reviews

"Extraordinary....a vast, ambitious, spiritually lusty, all-guzzling, all-encompassing novel." ( The New York Times Book Review) "A rousing tale....riotous energy and sustained brilliance....Helprin lights his own way, in his ownsingular direction." ( Time) "A gripping, poignant and universally relevant moral fable." ( Publishers Weekly)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Annette on 05-07-08

I love this guy

Fans of Helprin will not be disappointed. It's a great sweeping epic tale of a man whose life is taken out of his control yet maintains a clear eye and his humanity. Hours of enjoyment, maybe even more than once...

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16 of 16 people found this review helpful


By Mary on 04-14-10

Long but memorable

At 31 hours, this is a long book. It's mostly a coming-of-age novel, set in the first world war... but that doesn't begin to do it justice. Ultimately, it is a book about beauty, love, and finding meaning.

The narration is wonderful. Parts of the book do drag at times, in part because it is long and in part because the author repeats themes, but I am very glad to have listened to it. It will provide food for thought for some time to come.

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13 of 13 people found this review helpful

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