Reviews


One Hundred Miles from Manhattan is a book that Jon Stewart should have written. But he couldn’t have since he rarely leaves Manhattan. Thankfully Guillermo Fesser did. This famous Spanish wit dispels pre-conceived notions about America by using good old wanderlust and fresh eyes to document what a rich country we are. Not materially; but in spirit, history and character. Guillermo should sit back down and try his hand at the great American novel.

Bill Owens, Executive Editor 60 Minutes, CBS

Fesser looks at daily life through a unique lens. One Hundred Miles from Manhattan

is wacky, funny and full of characters I would like to meet. Bravo!

Pedro Almodóvar, Filmmaker

It´s a marvelous book!

Joe Donahue, The Round Table, WAMC

Guillermo Fesser’s never-ending curiosity delivers in One Hundred Miles from Manhattan an exciting mix of history, ordinary tales and fun facts that will provide American readers with a better understanding of their surroundings. With fast-paced and witty storytelling, going well beyond the stereotypes and clichés we are so used to hearing about America, Fesser captures the true essence of this country and its people, their vast cultural wealth and exhilarating complexity.

Juan M. Benitez, NY1

…As he struggled to reconcile what he learned from the people he met with his preconceptions about the U.S., their tales became fodder for a bestseller in Spain: A Cien Millas de Manhattan. In essence, it is his personal meditation on the unexpected Americas he discovers. Now the book has just been translated into English, giving Guillermo a crack at surprising you about a place you know. You should let him. Who better than a kind-hearted foreigner to help you marvel at our own land and learn something about your fellow Americans?

Nick Leiber, Bloomberg Businessweek

Since reading One Hundred Miles from Manhattan, I’ve noticed many things I’d taken for granted over the years, and heard many references to Rhinebeck and the surrounding areas and found myself saying, ‘I read about that in Guillermo’s book.’ So besides your having written a very entertaining, funny, affectionate and insightful book, you’ve taught me a lot about the history, culture and customs (not to mention the colorful characters) of where I live. So thank you!

Susan Piperato, Chronogram

When all those who know Guillermo heard about him moving to Rhinebeck, NY, we took for granted that this small town in the United States would enter into our lives in one way or another. As a book, a movie or as a conversation… We knew that Guillermo was going to let us know the fascinating things that happen there; those apparently simple sparks of life that occur to people and places. We also knew that Guillermo´s vision would be that of a curious child for whom any small thing may become a great event. Month by month, with love, with that ability to listen only mastered by someone who has spent his entire life talking, One Hundred Miles from  Manhattan is a universal book, a tribute to the small things, to the people and the places they inhabit. An homage to what they do, to what they cultivate and to what they crave for… The result is a book that includes us all; a narrative that flows free as the Hudson River; a book that makes us all feel at home, although it has been written 100 miles from Manhattan and a few thousand from Madrid.

Vicente Jiménez, El País

To tell a good story, first you have to find it. Fesser has a good eye. He preserves the curiosity of a six year old child, enriched by the experience of thousands of hours on the air releasing news on the radio. He is such a talented narrator that he would dig gold out of a simple anecdote. To tell a good story, first you have to be able to sniff it out; second you´d better know how to narrate it. I have to uncover my head to Guillermo´s brilliance, wrapped in tenderness, to introduce us to so many fascinating… ordinary people! That is his stroke of genius. One Hundred Miles from Manhattan is a gem carved in Rhinebeck, capital of his own personal world, at which Fesser has the generosity to invite all us.

Carlos Alsina, La Brújula, Onda Cero Radio

“I knew Fesser was a brilliant journalist, but after reading 100 Miles, I also have to give him the credit for his impressive narrative talents. I admire his ability of presenting so much researched material in such an enjoyable way.”

Rubén Amón, El Mundo

This is not just a good book it is excellent. The twice told tales the author, Guillermo Fesser, tells are resplendent with both humor and well researched facts. As a Spanish journalist living in the United States for the first time with his American wife and their children, one hundred miles from Manhattan, in Rhinebeck, New York, he recounts stories told to him by his new friends and neighbors with the meticulous rich detail and humorous back stories of an experienced international news reporter. When I finished his book I was refreshed. I enjoyed an interesting insight, not just into the human milieu that makes up the community of Rhinebeck, but to all of the many small communities in America like Rhinebeck. The author researched many of the stories he was told, in order to better understand them himself, and in the process conveyed, to me, new and interesting, sometimes humorous, information concerning the mechanical, political, and social/cultural history of the United States and finally, I felt good. I had been entertained and informed in a manner that simply made me feel more positive about my own community and the U.S. in general.

Nightwalker, Amazon

 There is something about America that causes Europeans to want to write about it in great, fascinated, loving detail. From the varied landscape, to the varied flora and fauna, to the varied populace, the volumes keep coming. It started with Lafayette before the ink had dried on the founding documents, and the latest comes from Guillermo Fesser, a worthy descendant.

Fesser is a major league radio talk show host in Madrid, and his wife is from Rhinebeck, NY. So we get a Spaniard’s appreciation of life in a small town in upstate New York, where everyone knows everyone, including their life histories. His take on modern American customs and habits, always tinged with his very conscious appreciation of pop culture and brands, makes this a fairly piercing portrayal of life here. What we take for granted are discoveries for him.

The book is 12 chapters – the months of one year in Rhinebeck – with a couple of side trips to Texas and Alaska to broaden the perspective. Rhinebeck – its people and its history – is plenty interesting, but its residents’ connections to the world are leveraged well too. There are no earth shattering revelations, no memorable quotes..It’s just a fresh perspective on life in smalltown USA.

Fesser is a fortunate choice for the task. He is a gentle soul who is endlessly patient and a sponge for everything in his purview. He takes absolutely everything in his stride. No setback, no faux pas is a barrier The roller coaster of life in America never gets him down. He pries stories out of people easily, and adds his own research to give body and more fullness to some of the events and concepts he discusses. He is shamelessly faulty and human. He and his whole family (his brother too, down the street) set up life in Rhinebeck, for a the long term. This no hop on-hop off tour bus.

The epilogue says he is back in Rhinebeck for more. One Hundred Miles from Manhattan is clearly a labor of love.

David Wineberg, Amazon

 

A Cien Millas de Manhattan (100 Miles from Manhattan),  a best-seller published in Spain in 2008… it has just been translated into English, so now locals can read about themselves through the eyes of Fesser, whose curiosity is matched by his empathy, friendliness and wry humor…

Lynn Woods, Almanac Weekly