Memoir from Antproof Case by Mark Helprin | NOOK Book (eBook) | Barnes & Noble
Memoir from Antproof Case

Memoir from Antproof Case

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by Mark Helprin

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An old American who lives in Brazil is writing his memoirs. An English teacher at the naval academy, he is married to a woman young enough to be his daughter and has a little son whom he loves. He sits in a mountain garden in Niterói, overlooking the ocean.

As he reminisces and writes, placing the pages carefully in his antproof case, we learn that he was a


An old American who lives in Brazil is writing his memoirs. An English teacher at the naval academy, he is married to a woman young enough to be his daughter and has a little son whom he loves. He sits in a mountain garden in Niterói, overlooking the ocean.

As he reminisces and writes, placing the pages carefully in his antproof case, we learn that he was a World War II ace who was shot down twice, an investment banker who met with popes and presidents, and a man who was never not in love. He was the thief of the century, a murderer, and a protector of the innocent. And all his life he waged a valiant, losing, one-man battle against the world’s most insidious enslaver: coffee.

Mark Helprin combines adventure, satire, flights of transcendence, and high comedy in this "memoir" of a man whose life reads like the song of the twentieth century.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Helprin's narrator writes his "memoir" as an old man, reviewing an extravagant and occasionally perilous life spanning many of the major events of the 20th century. (May)
Donna Seaman
An antproof case is a meticulously crafted trunk that even the tiniest of insects can't infiltrate, a handsome antique emblematic of what was once good and true in the world, at least to the inexhaustible, idiosyncratic, wise, tender, hilarious, and poetic narrator of Helprin's spellbinding novel. This unnamed and utterly charming octogenarian is writing his meandering and episodic autobiography in a secluded mountain retreat across the bay from Rio de Janeiro and instructs us, with amusing regularity, to "please return the previous pages to the antproof case." And we would, if we could, because we wouldn't want to lose a single sheet of this magical and transcendent story. Our feisty memoirist, who claims to have been educated in a Swiss mental institution after killing a man on a New York train and to have been one of the world's richest men, a war hero, an ardent lover, and a master thief, is a veritable Scheherazade, spinning one mesmerizing but highly unlikely tale after another. As his energetic and entertaining narrative progresses, an odd fact emerges: this health-conscious adventurer vehemently believes that coffee is evil, a peculiar obsession that we eventually learn has deep roots and profound consequences. Helprin has a great gift for meaningful, dazzlingly detailed description as well as a nimble sense of humor and a keen perception of life as a jumble of the holy and the profane, a chaos that can only be tamed by the power of love.

Product Details

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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Meet the Author

MARK HELPRIN is the acclaimed author of Winter's Tale, A Soldier of the Great War, Freddy and Fredericka, The Pacific, Ellis Island, Memoir from Antproof Case, and numerous other works. His novels are read around the world, translated into over twenty languages.

Brief Biography

Upstate New York
Date of Birth:
June 28, 1947
Place of Birth:
New York, New York
A.B., Harvard University, 1969; A.M., 1972. Postgraduate study at Oxford University, 1976-77.

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Memoir from Antproof Case 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Atthebeach More than 1 year ago
"A Soldier of the Great War" was my first Helprin book. I was mesmerized and set out to read every Helprin book---which I have. "Memoir from Antproof Case" is my favorite, though not his best selling or most important book, it's probably his most relatable. This story about a man's life filled with adventure, danger, heroism, love, crime, fame, wealth, loss, sadness, and more love is just plain enthralling. The story unfolds as the man in his older years writes his memoirs and keeps them in an antproof case. Looking back on an amazing life, one few could imagine and fewer could have lived, at a time when it is really almost over, is so poignant and powerful. This man's life is so full and such a wild ride, you just can't wait to follow it from one outrageous event to another. And yet, ironically, his greatest nemesis in He's human after all.
R1Ecko More than 1 year ago
I found this book in a hole in the wall coffee shop that has a bookcase where you can pick up and drop off books as you like. The book did not even have a cover anymore and I started it like I start every book, opening to a random page and seeing if the writing style caught my eye. It did and this quickly became my most read book in history. Cover to cover, over and over, the characters are hyper realized, with quirks and lovable faults and the randomness is almost hilarious at times and heartwarming at others.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The voice of the never-named memoir writer is beguiling from the very beginning. He is true to himself in matters of principle - love, fairness, fidelity, defying the consumption of coffee. He is charming. He also is deadpan funny as he recounts his fantastical life. Very few works of fiction can make me laugh out loud, and this one succeeded. The sublime humor is based deep within the character, and I don't think he knows just how funny he is. This novel also has the gorgeous, moving prose and humanity that drew me into 'The Pacific & Other Stories' and compelled me to seek out other Helprin fiction.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Helprin is a resplendent writer. He writes with such flare that one sometimes forgets about the plot or purpose of his novel. Each phrase, sentence, and paragraph is so well crafted that they carry multiple meanings and are often hilariously poignant. The protagonist of Mark Helprin's fourth novel struggles through enormous challenges and succeeds in many different fields, befriending popes and presidents along the way. He then retires to a sleepy little Brazilian village to write his memoirs. And this is the hyperbolic crux of the novel: he hates coffee and has retired to Brazil! This is just the tip of the satirical iceberg that Helprin has created. Memoir from Antproof Case is a sweeping satire of the twentieth century. It exposes the pernicious nature of our western compulsion for selfishness. Mark Helprin writes with the vocabulary of Dickens, the wit of Twain, and an irresistible imagination that is his own. It has been a long seven years since Helprin's latest, a drought which will hopefully be ended soon. But that remains to be seen. Wishing to hear from Mr. Helprin soon, Dan Hokstad North Bay ON.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Many book covers are littered with promise and guarantee of 'laugh out-loud laughter'. 'Memoir' delivers, in a Fed-Ex overnight fashion. Helprin is a magician, interlacing the emotional elements of humanity; the earth, wind, and fire of life. If this story, and all its meaning, were to be transferred to canvas, there would be an insufficient amount of colors to furnish justice. Bravo Helprin, bravo.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Another great book from one of the undiscovered jewels in American literature. Mark Helprin never ceases to amaze. I was reminded of Kurt Vonnegut's writing style in this novel, but Helprin takes it to another level. His intermingling of the sublime and the ridiculous is just right in this novel. A circuitous journey that had me enthralled by the characters involved. Like his novel, A Soldier of the Great War, Helprin takes us on an epic journey that encompasses time and distance, yet in a less serious and grandiose vein. The palet of words he uses to color this grand journey are a wonderment. I've found few authors who can delight and amaze like Mark Helprin...and he does it using vastly different themes,settings, and tones in each of his works. In reading Mark Helprin, I'm reminded of a Rubik's cube. I know this will all fit together at the end, and I envy someone with the talents to make the difficult seem so easy!
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