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.”
“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.”
“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!”
“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’.”