This at times inspired anthologywhich draws from small and big-gun literary magazines in equal measuresis heralded by a sonorous, sagacious introduction that pulsates with profound love ``for language that can be as beautiful and hypnotic as song.'' Helprin is also disdainful of minimalists, revisionists who ``make literature the servant of politics,'' publishers who put out ``astonishing junk'' and ``back scratching among writers.'' C. S. Godshalk pens a piercing delineation of a boy's wrenching love-hate feelings for a mother who abandons him and a younger brother; and Gish Jen limns a charming reflection by a Chinese-American woman who is wistful for a youth when ``the world was a place that could be set right: one had only to direct the hand of the Almighty and say, just here, Lord, we hurt here.'' A husband's nightmares presage the sundering of his marriage in a vividly authentic tale by Richard Bausch; and a man's appropriation in a dream of the experiences of a Vietnam veteran propels his therapist/social worker, a vet, on a drinking jag in an exalting story by Robert Stone. (October)
A conservative commentator who has served in the Israeli army may not seem the likeliest source of whimsy, but Mark Helprin's tales are written from the soul of a poet. Soldiers and burglars figure prominently in his work, but the stories are not tales of intrigue; they focus more on love, morality and far-flung travels.
Mark Helprin, a novelist, is a contributing editor of The Wall Street Journal. He is also a senior fellow of the Claremont Institute and a fellow of the American Academy in Rome. In 1996 he served as a foreign policy adviser to presidential candidate Bob Dole.
His books include A Dove of the East & Other Stories, Refiner's Fire, Ellis Island & Other Stories, Winter's Tale, Swan Lake, A Soldier of the Great War, Memoir From Antproof Case, A City in Winter, and The Veil of Snows.
Mr. Helprin was raised on the Hudson and in the British West Indies. He has degrees from Harvard College and Harvard's Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.