Memoir from Antproof Caseby 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 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.
- Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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- Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
- NOOK Book
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- 610 KB
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.
- 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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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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"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 life....coffee. He's human after all.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!