A Novel in Nine Episodes
by Daniel Kehlmann
translation by Carol Janeway
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German-Austrian novelist Daniel Kehlmann's Fame is a Nabokovian puzzle, a game of hide-and-seek, and a playful reflection on cultural renown and the lack thereof. Told in nine episodes that initially appear discrete but then rapidly connect with one another, the book focuses on three celebrities, three nobodies, and a minor author named Leo Richter, who early on speaks of a novel with a "narrative arc, but no main character." Another character critiques Richter's fiction, thinking it "full of complicated mirror effects and unpredictable shifts and swerves that were flourishes of empty virtuosity." That the work described above sounds a lot like Fame is a typical signal of Kehlmann's metafictional tendencies here.
Taken individually, the stories are realistic, sometimes comic, occasionally pathetic anecdotes about
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