PositiveAir Mail... a charming account ... is leavened with stories beyond Berlin. Among the bit players weaving in and out of the book is Martin Stummer, a Bavarian adventurer who began trapping animals in Ecuador, supplied Klös with South American deer, and who, Mohnhaupt writes, ended up in the Philippines as the king of a small island. One wishes to know more about him. Not all the minor figures on whom Mohnhaupt periodically dotes are quite so colorful. Dathe and Klös are hardly Shakespearean characters, either, but as frenemies for nearly half a century, they encapsulate the larger saga of the great city, the era, and a world in conflict.
PositiveThe New York Times Book ReviewHalf memoir, half cri de coeur, Lessard’s lambent, thoughtful, exquisitely written collection of interconnected essays dissects—as an art historian would a picture, a literary critic a text, a medical examiner a cadaver—a diverse swath of America ... She writes about such places from what you might call an exalted literary remove. The mode is epistolary, poetic, occasionally honest to a fault (the Youngstown remark, for example) and moral ... Lessard laments that American students, intent on business careers, are not more interested in these things, that they eschew social activism today, a fogyish plaint that seems the exact opposite of true. I wondered how many of them she had interviewed for the book. I found myself wishing for the voices of more local residents when she was on her jaunts into what appeared to her to be the haphazard zones of atopia ... Surely these places aren’t nowhere to all the people who live there ... Fortunately, writers like Lessard demonstrate that the truth awaits excavation.
RaveThe New York Review of Books\"... remarkable and quite unexpected volume, one that sails well past its homiletic genre into the realm of literature, a memoir whose success clearly owes not a little to a reader’s surprise in discovering that a celebrity one may have presumed to know on the basis of that haircut and a few television commercials hawking cameras via the slogan \'image is everything\' emerges as a man of parts—self-aware, black-humored, eloquent ... No doubt much of the book’s immediacy and structural ingenuity, and perhaps the whole literary invention of Agassi’s mature and affecting image, are due to [Moehringer]—likewise (the persuasive simulacrum of) Agassi’s voice, his curiosity and abiding wonderment.\