Weinberger’s sensitivity to words and gift for clear, in The Ghosts of Birds, spout like a geyser ... The range of Weinberger’s interests in human cultures might be summarized as 'everything everywhere from the beginning until now,' and he writes with erudition and charm ... A warm humanism pervades The Ghosts of Birds, and Weinberger has ways of making clear that it is universal ... Professors might warn graduate students against such writing as too casual or 'reductive,' but I disagree. The points Weinberger makes here are essentially correct and are much clearer than they would be if dressed up in academic jargon. In addition to its clarity, plain language has the virtue of allowing ideas from ancient times and distant places to extend into our present, just as shared humanity itself extends.
Combining scholarly authority with a moral allegiance to the arcane, the translator and editor Weinberger creates genre-bending essays and prose poems to help us see the world anew. This eclectic collection spans centuries and cultures and might make you wonder if there is anything its author doesn’t know ... Weinberger often marshals fantastical-yet-real facts, in texts as brief and deadpan as anything by Lydia Davis.
Weinberger’s deep erudition shows on the page with both the force and the subtlety of a sledgehammer. But beyond this display, there is beauty and strangeness in the fragments Weinberger has plucked from half-forgotten texts ... Weinberger’s best essays feel like portals into places or times of which you may have heard, vaguely, but which surprise you with their specificity ... Weinberger’s breadth of reference presents unique problems in reading. Though I’m fascinated by Weinberger’s essays, sometimes I feel bored when they linger or meander...Perhaps because of his desire to collect interesting information, Weinberger’s narratives often lose energy.