Wednesday Reads: In Sunlight and in Shadow, Mark Helprin

It’s hard to pick a favorite, isn’t it? I’ve been a reader since I was a kid (anyone remember A.R. points? They were my jam) and people have been asking me for a long time, “What is your favorite book?”.


For years, I didn’t have an answer to this.  It kind of made me feel like a fraud, like all the books I spent so much time reading weren’t actually sinking in.  I guess I just needed to be a little patient though because a few years ago I finally stumbled across my favorite book.

I remember it like it was yesterday (and also rather creepily, like it was the first time I met my husband or something). I was in Barnes & Noble, trolling the rare clearance shelf, and I picked up In Sunlight and in Shadow by Mark Helprin because it was about New York, the jacket had a great hook and I liked the cover…hey, I’ve never claimed my reasons for choosing books was particularly scholarly.

Anyway, this book is for lack of a better word, gorgeous.  Instead of attempting a new review I’ll just show you guys the sappy one I wrote for Goodreads a few minutes after finishing the book.


I’m unsure of how to write a review for In Sunlight and in Shadow since it is, for lack of a better testimony, the book I’ve been searching for. Without question, it is now my favorite book and I have no doubt it will continue to be no matter how many more novels I read in my lifetime. It is more beautifully written than I could have imagined and I’m in true mourning for the characters of which I can no longer spend my days with. Even though I’m positive the pages will crease and fade over time due to my countless re-reads I’ll never be able to experience this flawless story for the first time ever again and because I recognized that early on (around page 20) I read as slowly as possible, for the first time in my life, because I couldn’t bear for it to end. I could go on and on about the qualities that should be appreciated and recognized by everyone (exquisite imagery, soul wrenching prose and countless lessons of life that you can’t help but draw from, hours and even days after you’ve finished the final word), but I won’t because I can’t do them justice and mostly, while incredible, those aren’t the reasons why I will follow every word of Helprin’s forever. In Sunlight is the best book I’ve ever read because I understood every rhythm, felt every word, laughed at every joke, marveled at all its genius and cried for every heart-breakingly beautiful moment, of which there are too many to count. Helprin’s story and its vivid characters spoke to me as no other novel, and honestly most of my real-life events ever have. To put it simply Helprin is a master, I will always be a follower and as anyone’s favorite book should achieve, In Sunlight and in Shadow awakened my soul and changed me entirely. 

…your favorite book should make you feel like that, right? I’m just glad I finally found it.

Review Details

Title: In Sunlight and in Shadow

Author: Mark Helprin

My Rating: 5 out of 5

Available Here


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One thought on “Wednesday Reads: In Sunlight and in Shadow, Mark Helprin”

  1. Just about to read it. A Soldier of the Great War by Helprin is my favourite book… it is magnificent, really truly magnificent; and I am hoping to enjoy this as much. Helprin has the ability to describe and pinpoint emotions and the minutae of situations like no one else.

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