We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access.
 >   > 
In Sunlight and in Shadow | [Mark Helprin]

In Sunlight and in Shadow

New York in 1947 glows with postwar energy. Harry Copeland, an elite paratrooper who fought behind enemy lines in Europe, returns home to run the family business. In a single, magical encounter on the Staten Island ferry, the young singer and heiress Catherine Thomas Hale falls for him instantly but too late to prevent her engagement to a much older man. Harry and Catherine pursue one another in a romance played out in postwar America’s Broadway theaters, Long Island mansions, and the haunts of gangsters.
Regular Price:$27.97
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

Your Likes make Audible better!

'Likes' are shared on Facebook and Audible.com. We use your 'likes' to improve Audible.com for all our listeners.

You can turn off Audible.com sharing from your Account Details page.

OK

Publisher's Summary

Mark Helprin’s enchanting and sweeping novel asks a simple question: can love and honor conquer all?

New York in 1947 glows with postwar energy. Harry Copeland, an elite paratrooper who fought behind enemy lines in Europe, returns home to run the family business. In a single, magical encounter on the Staten Island ferry, the young singer and heiress Catherine Thomas Hale falls for him instantly but too late to prevent her engagement to a much older man. Harry and Catherine pursue one another in a romance played out in postwar America’s Broadway theaters, Long Island mansions, the offices of financiers, and the haunts of gangsters. Catherine’s choice of Harry over her longtime fiancé endangers Harry’s livelihood - and eventually threatens his life.

Entrancing in its lyricism, In Sunlight and in Shadow so powerfully draws you into New York at the dawn of the modern age that, as in a vivid dream, you will not want to leave.

About the author: Mark Helprin was educated at Harvard, Princeton, Columbia, and Oxford. He served in the Israeli military and the British Merchant Navy. He is the acclaimed author of Winter’s Tale and numerous other works.

©2012 Mark Helprin (P)2012 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What the Critics Say

“In this prodigious, enfolding saga of exalted romance in corrupt, postwar New York, resplendent storyteller Helprin creates a supremely gifted and principled hero…Helprin’s suspenseful, many-stranded plot is unfailingly enthralling. The sumptuous settings are intoxicating. The novel’s seething indictment of mobster rule in the 1940s is bracing, and the lovers’ high-stakes predicaments are heartbreaking. Helprin’s personal articles of faith shape every scene as he expresses deep respect for soldiers, sensitivity to anti-Semitism and racism, and stalwart belief in valor and individual exceptionalism. So declarative is this philosophical tale that it can be read as Helprin’s spiritual and lyrical answer to the big, bossy, and enduring novels of Ayn Rand.” (Booklist, starred review)

“Elegant, elegiac…A fine adult love story - not in the prurient sense, but in the sense of lovers elevated from smittenness to all the grownup problems that a relationship can bring.” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review)

“Glorious and golden, truly like reentering another world where another sensibility prevails and even the sunlight and shadow have a different weight.” (Library Journal)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.5 (83 )
5 star
 (26)
4 star
 (17)
3 star
 (20)
2 star
 (12)
1 star
 (8)
Overall
3.7 (72 )
5 star
 (28)
4 star
 (20)
3 star
 (9)
2 star
 (5)
1 star
 (10)
Story
3.4 (73 )
5 star
 (23)
4 star
 (15)
3 star
 (14)
2 star
 (10)
1 star
 (11)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Leslie San Francisco, CA, United States 10-10-12
    Leslie San Francisco, CA, United States 10-10-12 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
    16
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    5
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    2
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great Insomnia Listening"

    This is sort-of a compliment. I suffer from bouts of insomnia, and have found that putting on an audiobook to occupy my brain is a great way to get back to sleep at 4 in the morning. It's also a great way to listen to a book without any of the distractions of the outside world, and really listen to the writing.

    This only becomes problematic when a story becomes engaging (for instance, I initially started listening to Little Dorrit to put myself back to sleep, but at some point became so interested in the story that I would wake up and rewind back to hear what I'd slept through.)

    So far, I have found In Sunlight and in Shadow is a perfect book to fall back to sleep to. The writing is dreamlike, lyrical and descriptive, the plot pacing so slow and the narration so generally monotone (there's nothing worse then when a male narrator badly imitates a woman's voice -- the pitch change can shock you back awake) that this is perfect insomnia listening. I fell asleep to it one night, and dreamt I was in New York.

    My only issue with it is that by day, my waking brain cannot stay with it. I listened to a description of Catherine taking a breath in a music hall about 3 times and spaced out every time before I figured out what she was actually doing there. I honestly thought she was an oboe player. I had to read a review to learn that she was a singer.

    To do this book justice, I think I'll go back to listening to it only at 4 am, and find something a little more engaging to listen to by day.

    PS - A great thing about the Audible app on the iphone, is that you can program it to go off - and it sort of fades out very subtly. This is especially recommended when you are nearing the end of a book. The last thing you need at 4:45 am is to be jolted back awake with: "Audible hopes you have enjoyed this program!"

    16 of 18 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Optimistic skeptic 10-16-12 Member Since 2003

    Terry McArdle

    HELPFUL VOTES
    78
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    56
    7
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    4
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Worth the effort"
    If you could sum up In Sunlight and in Shadow in three words, what would they be?

    Lyrical, gorgeous and romantic.


    What other book might you compare In Sunlight and in Shadow to and why?

    The Piano, Frank Conroy: New York City; the 1940s; Glorious romantic style. Overcoming great obstacles against hard reality; growing into adulthood through travail and an unwillingness to give up.


    What does Sean Runnette bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Enunciation, an ability to manage voices well and convincingly. Easy to listen to for nearly 30 hours.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    It made me patiently watch and engage, unusual for me.


    Any additional comments?

    Give this book a chance, but be prepared to sip. This is poetry as well as fiction, and it requires time and attention. I found it well worth it.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jayne SONOMA, CA, United States 11-01-12
    Jayne SONOMA, CA, United States 11-01-12 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    22
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    5
    5
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "It's Not the Story, It's the Narrator"

    I am still struggling through this recording, but have decided to switch to the written book. I've come to the conclusion that the narrator must have substantially missed the tone the author was going for.

    Helprin is the author of one of my favorite books of all time - Freddy and Fredericka - which I have listened to at least three times. The narrator of that one, Robert Ian Mackenzie, gets it exactly right. No doubt In Sunlight and In Shadow is a different kind of book, but I can't help but feel there are moments of irony that are completely miscast in Runnette's sing-song melancholy tone.

    I'm going to have a try at the printed work because I think Helprin is trying to do something that needs doing. I
    think he is trying to cast a line from World War II to the present and show the seeds that have brought us where we are today - the difference between paper wealth and real productivity, and between image and identity. He's up to the challenge. I'm reserving judgment on whether he's accomplished it or not.

    This is one of the few occasions that I've felt a narrator truly compromised my experience of a book. Too bad. Runnette has a nice voice, but he takes elegiac to a new high (or low) here.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert Summerville, SC, United States 10-12-12
    Robert Summerville, SC, United States 10-12-12 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    86
    3
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Incredibly tedious and pretentious"
    Would you listen to another book narrated by Sean Runnette?

    Yes.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    Not for me. It is not a book I would recommend to any of my friends.


    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Concerned Reader Stamford, CT, USA 01-21-13
    Concerned Reader Stamford, CT, USA 01-21-13 Member Since 2003

    Michael

    HELPFUL VOTES
    152
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    40
    31
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    3
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Too long and romaticized"
    Any additional comments?

    Years ago I read Helprin’s A Soldier in the Great War and found it to be an impressive description of the stupidity of war. In Sunlight and in Shadow he jumps back to WWII from a somber post WWII present. The portions of the book that cover the war are first rate. Unfortunately his descriptions of Harry’s romance with a young singer in NYC is too sophomoric and so overwhelmingly romanticized they are difficult to listen to. The words cloy. Perhaps this is due to the bated breath or the reader; as if this love affair between a thirty something vet and Katherine (no virgin) were something on the pedestal of adolescence. There is a bit of F. Scott Fitzgerald to the scenes in the Hamptons among the well-heeled set. This is juxtaposed to the gritty business of protection rackets in NYC. The book is also interminably long due to rambling descriptions and a fondness for employing an excess of adjectives. If you can get past the saccharine romance and the ponderous verbiage there is a good story with a bit of depressing and maybe inevitable ending.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Grasha 10-29-12
    Grasha 10-29-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    15
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Wonderful story - terrible reader"
    What did you like best about In Sunlight and in Shadow? What did you like least?

    Character development, story line, evocations of NYC at a particular time.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Sean Runnette’s performances?

    Never! I finally went to the library and borrowed the hard copy to read as I could not stand the sing-song quality of his voice, What a disservice to the terrific work of a very talented writer.


    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    deborah hermiston, OR, United States 10-10-12
    deborah hermiston, OR, United States 10-10-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "tons of long, detailed descriptions."
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    storyline


    What was one of the most memorable moments of In Sunlight and in Shadow?

    i now am interested in war stories


    Would you be willing to try another one of Sean Runnette’s performances?

    he drove me crazy with to much long detailed descriptions. i would often forget what it was he was talking about. my mind wandering off and wishing to just hear story


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    sad


    Any additional comments?

    will avoid this author

    7 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Julie Kapaau, HI, United States 02-26-13
    Julie Kapaau, HI, United States 02-26-13 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    3
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "too wordy"

    This author just goes on and on with his descriptions. I found my mind wandering off because of all of the unnecessary imagery.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susan 12-16-12
    Susan 12-16-12 Member Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
    106
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    94
    21
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Not good for listening"
    What would have made In Sunlight and in Shadow better?

    Read the written word


    What was most disappointing about Mark Helprin’s story?

    Narration combined with incredibly detailed description of every breath and every button. Too much. I had to stop.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Sean Runnette’s performances?

    Probably not


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Boredom


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Aviation enthusiast Connecticut 11-19-12
    Aviation enthusiast Connecticut 11-19-12 Member Since 2000
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Could not keep going"
    Would you try another book from Mark Helprin and/or Sean Runnette?

    No. Perhaps the narrator was handicapped by the material, which was tedious and overwritten, but the combination of Helprin's diarrhea of words and Runnette's whispery earnestness was deadly.


    What could Mark Helprin have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    Cut out half the words and rethink the ones he kept. Can't say about the story line because after two hours of listening I'd just gotten to the boy meets girl part.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Sean Runnette’s performances?

    Yes, my real problem with this book was the author.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    No.


    Any additional comments?

    I bought this book on the recommendation of someone without noticing that it was by the same author as Fred and Frederika, another book I was unable to finish. Helprin is overly enamored by his own writing - much of which is nonsensical. When the words he has assembled do make sense, too often they are hammering the reader over the head with political or social philosophies inappropriate to the era in which the story takes place. After listening to two hours I realized In Sunlight and in Shadow is layered with pretty words and endless descriptions that give an appearance of something important, but underneath the book its pretentious drivel. And that's when I decided to turn it off.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 21 results PREVIOUS123NEXT

    There are no listener reviews for this title yet.

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank You

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.