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Random reviews from readers of Finding What’s Lost

“As soon as I began reading ‘Desperation Row’ this story had me captivated. I enjoyed the set up of short yet flowing chapters as each one left me wanting more. Adrian’s journeys were heartfelt and culturally adventurous as he searched for his mysterious past while simultaneously finding his future. I savored this character watching him grow from his unexpected losses gaining wisdom, gratitude, and new love. A story so alluring made it hard to put down. Gail is a marvelous storyteller.”

“You had me at Part I. Laughed, cried, felt the heavy heart, felt the love. The book could have ended here and I would have been satisfied. But to know another ‘story’ awaited, I couldn’t get there fast enough. And, what a journey. So much history,so many dreams and silver linings. The ‘relationship age’ of the main characters was a little concerning to me,(that’s the grandmother in me) but a love story/true soul mate adventure between those that love….and those that lost….. Ready for Part III.”

Loved Sex Beer and Naked Women. There’s a lot of these things in the book, which is very good thing in my humble opinion. The protagonist is very believable, and the writing is beautiful.”

“I couldn’t help but wonder about connections between the author and his work. To create such a story, he had to have been born in the U.S., had to have come to Germany to live long-term, had to have had a number of out-of-the-ordinary experiences and met a number of out-of-the-ordinary people. At the end of each chapter, I was wondering, ‘What is going to happen to Adrian next?’ This is the third of Mr. Winfree’s works that I’ve read. Will there be more?

“Gail Winfree is a true literary talent. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him getting nominated for a high literary award at some time. His books are definitely not “run of the mill”. I already noticed this when I read “Things I Remember”, where Gail Winfree proves himself as a deep thinker, one could even say a philosopher; mind you a daring philosopher who recklessly defies conventions. Now, Finding What’s Lost is a novel, not a poetry book that reminisces in philosophical thoughts, but here, too, Gail Winfree keeps surprising the reader with unusual thoughts, and there are many passages that give evidence of — sometimes startling — philosophical insights.

“Why did I not give this book 5 stars? There were exactly three reasons: (1) I found the preface unnecessary and a spoiler. No need to feed the reader with a synopsis of the book. Besides, I consider the author too critical of his protagonist, whom I neither found arrogant nor selfish, only somewhat immature as quite natural for his age. (2) I could have done without the very last chapter, for the second-last chapter would, in my opinion, have made a perfect ending. (3) I don’t care for it when fiction is written in the first person, but that’s just my personal dislike.

“All in all, I strongly recommend this book. I recommend it especially to readers who are appreciative of literary value.

“One caveat: The book contains rather graphic descriptions of erotic scenes (so it may not be the right read for people who are a bit prudish); yet this happens mainly because the protagonist, who the author assured me is not autobiographic, has the bad luck to keep running into beautiful, naked women.”

“I loved this book. I took it to the beach with me, and it read like the therapy of the ocean. I cried,and Cried, and laughed and laughed. It took me back to my own crazy escapades in life, and finished making me feel good. I would recommend to anyone who has traveled abroad, and had their own adventures, or to those that just hope to one day. I would also recommend to anyone that has lived, or spent a lot of time in Germany, it will take you back to the times and places stat still seem like home.”

“This book is a must read for everyone. Adrian’s journey through life had me enthralled from beginning to end. Wen I read the last page I was so sorry that the book was finished. All the characters became real for me and I loved it. I wonder if it is a semi-autobiographic. I will certainly read any new books that Gail puts out. Genius. Pure and simple.”

“What can I say about a book that I loved, besides ‘I loved it!’

Finding What’s Lost, by Gail L. Winfree, is a story about a young American man in Germany, on a quest to find his birth parents. Along the way, Adrian, the main character, finds a life for himself. He falls in love, more than once. I cried when the character, Hanna, passed away. Half-way through the book, I found myself not being able to put it down. I felt what the characters were feeling. Mr. Winfree’s attention to detail in descriptive writing made me feel like I was a part of the scenes in the book – in the cities, in the countryside, and even in the car during the road trips. I found myself rooting for Adrian, wanting him to get the job, wanting him to fall in love with Alice, wanting him to find his parents. I loved Adrian’s lifestyle – where he chose to live, his modestness, gentleness, and his humbleness. The dialogue between the characters was realistic, and I found myself wanting to join in the conversations with them. The characters were well thought out, each one of their personalities jumped from the pages. I found myself being able to relate in many ways to quite a few of the characters’ attributes. That may have been Mr. Winfree’s greatest gift – allowing the reader to identify with the characters in the story – after all, everyone has a story to tell. Mr. Winfree’s writing-style is unique, simplistic, “real life,” and easy to follow. The ending was not what I expected – better than I could have imagined. This is a story that is well worth the read, and now that I have finished it, I will read it again! Much gratitude, Mr. Winfree, for a book well written! I will definitely be reading your other books, Things I Remember, The Reality of Being Lovers, and all of your future books to come. Thank you!”

“Truly enjoyed this book. The prose is spare but poetically eloquent. The story is dramatic enough to keep my attention while believable enough for me to envision it. It took me back to an area of the world that I love & proved difficult to put down. I was sad to reach the end – and that is always the sign of a book I won’t forget.”

“In this first-person narrative Adrian Berger, a 24 year old American, tells about the big L’s: Life, Love, Lust and Loss.

“His journey begins in America, where he attended college, and leads him in the second part of the book to Germany, specifically to Kaiserslautern (aka K-Town). The chapters are interrupted by sections called ‘interlude’, which represent some kind of diary, and lead out of the context of linear story.

“The whole book I think is worth reading. Although written in a rather simple language, it’s good literature, especially for a debut novel.

“Two things I would like to highlight:

“German terms from the Alltagswelt are incorporated into the text here and there, whenever the narrator feels it fits. As a German native speaker I hardly notice and it doesn’t interfere with my flow of reading. I would imagine though that people without knowledge of German may feel differently.

“Second, some sex scenes are described quite explicitly, but in no way pornographic whatsoever.
“I really enjoyed this book, and I hope you will too.”

Finding What’s Lost was overall a good book. It takes place in 1972 in America. A 24 year old man named Adrian Berger just loses his parents to an accident. He finds out afterwards that he was adopted; he then searches for his family’s roots in Kaiserslautern Germany (where the second half of the book takes place).

“The author has a different writing style than the usual. I must say I kind of enjoyed it. Each paragraph was spaced which made for easier reading. I also liked how he wasn’t very descriptive on unimportant scenery or other facts. His writing was ‘to the point’; it did not drag on. Some problems I did find were many spelling mistakes. For example; the word quiet was always spelt as quite, the word trivial was spelt trivia, the word lose was spelt loose, etc. There were also a few grammar errors. This did not take away from the unique writing style though.

“My favourite quote from the book is on page 21. This is when Adrian finds out his birth name was Nicholas and his thoughts to himself were interesting, ‘Nicholas Iwanovitz, you came before me. Adrian Berger was never born. He was created and formed into something he is not’.”

“Beautiful ‘Coming of Age’ novel. Deceptively simple writing style, by an author owing a certain debt to Hemingway. I really enjoyed it. The author draws you into the main character, Adrian Berger, who has to deal with some terrible losses at a young age; all related with compassion and sensitivity. It also evokes a past age of recent history: post Vietnam War America, and West Germany, with US presence still very evident. I warmed to Adrian, and another surprise in the narrative is the appearance of the author himself as a guide and mentor to the young writer. The themes of death and loss are central to this novel. The author weaves the losses in Vietnam, with early deaths of Rock stars of the period, such as Hendrix & Joplin, with the loss of those close the main character. A moving and engaging book.”