Quick Take: City of Angels: or, The Overcoat of Dr. Freud by Christa Wolf

Taking stock of one’s role in history, however small

Just after the fall of the Berlin Wall, German intellectual and activist Christa Wolf spent a year in L.A. reading the files the Stasi had kept on her. Against the backdrop of the 1992 presidential election and the Rodney King riots, Wolf, who died in 2011, took stock of her small role in history. With its whimsy and variety, the City of Angels was for her a refuge and a tonic. (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 336 pages, $27)