Saturday, September 25, 2010

Disappointed in “Fame”

I reviewed Fame—Daniel Kehlmann’s collection of nine linked “episodes,” newly translated into English by Carol Brown Janeway—for The National:
Characterisation has never been Kehlmann’s forte, to judge, at least, from the three of his books available in English. Measuring the World, his sporadically fanciful but mostly historical novel about Carl Friedrich Gauss and Alexander von Humboldt, works well partly because Kehlmann does not burden the story with psychological nuance; he speeds briskly through two lives crowded with incident, one belonging to the owner of an unimaginably brilliant, abstract mind and the other to a fearless man restless for discovery. Me and Kaminski, an earlier book, suffers because its shallowly rendered characters do far less interesting things (though the ending is clever). The same can be said about most of Kehlmann’s latest, too.
Read the rest (but don’t blame me for the headline). That’s Kehlmann looking almost Zuckerberg-like in the hoodie above.