Tag: Mark Helprin

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No profound thoughts from yours truly. Just a short Sunday diversion from the concerns of the day to the beauty of language: Like the atom, which in its internal bonds contains the essence of matter and energy, in her glance, the sparkle of her eye, the grasp of her hand, the elasticity of her hair […]

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Winter’s Tale by Mark Helprin

 

If I were marooned on a desert island and could only have one book, it would be Winter’s Tale by Mark Helprin. I first read this book in a Boeing 747, in 1984, on my way to Britain for a three-week vacation with my then-husband. I remember reading a passage, I don’t remember which, that made me cry it was so beautiful.

After Ray and I got married, for a while we went to bed at the same time, and he would read me a chapter before turning out the light. Sometimes I would fall asleep while listening to him read, but I could hear that he liked the book as much as I did (he had not read it before). In 2005, he gave me a hardback first edition of the book, and it lives on my bedside table, always waiting for me to open it to just about any page, and resume the braided stories of Athansor, the white horse, and all the people’s lives he touches.

Quote of the Day: “Not Law but Fraud”

 

In Mark Helprin’s 2012 novel In Sunlight and in Shadow*, we meet a returning WWII veteran, Harry Copeland, who inherits the family business from his deceased father. When the business is threatened by a mafia boss, resulting in the death of one employee, and Harry himself nearly beaten to death, Harry learns that he will find no help from law enforcement or any other authority because all of them are being paid off. Harry must decide whether he will take matters into his own hands — eliminating the mafia boss himself.

“My enemy is not the law,” he found himself saying under his breath as he walked — talking to himself was not a good sign — “but the enemy of the law, against which the law is too weak to defend itself. If the law is complicit in crime, is it the law? If, when not complicit, it not only fails to protect but proscribes self-protection, then it is not law but fraud. Anarchy arises not from those who defend themselves by natural right, but from officials who fail in their calling, look the other way, succumb to threats and blackmail, or who are themselves criminal. If without defending me the law says I can’t defend myself, it is no longer the law, and I have to defy it.”

As you might guess, I could not read this passage without immediately thinking of the last two years of the Mueller investigation. Given all we have learned about the involvement of the DOJ and the FBI (et al) in inventing the Russia Collusion narrative out of whole cloth, convicting people on process crimes — crimes that didn’t exist apart from the investigation themselves, we must ask whether what we are seeing in Washington is law . . . or fraud? If the law is complicit in ca rime, is it the law?

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“Though not vast, France is a big country, neither elongated like Italy or broken into archipelago like Japan, Denmark, or Indonesia. France is solid and centered. In Paris a Frenchman can feel that his world stretches more or less evenly in all directions, uninterrupted by sea or mountains, and yet not with the infinitude of […]

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