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Print Novel July 9, 2003
Mark Helprin
Memoir from Antproof Case

Memoir from Antproof Case made me crave a bottle of Pellegrino and a bar of bitter chocolate. It also made me stop drinking coffee (temporarily) -- a testament to the persuasive beauty of Helprin's prose. Inhabited by a multitude of eccentrics, such as Nestor B. Watoon, an inept English instructor to the Brazilian navy; a Scandinavian engineering genius named Smedjebakken; and a beautiful girl with a mortal fear of crickets, the novel also offers bank heists, trips to Italy, rigorous calisthenics, and plenty of rewarding digressions in between. Sometimes absurd, always hilarious, Antproof Case is, in the end, an old man's last words to his son -- the story of family, love, career and, of course, a lifelong crusade against coffee.

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