Tuesday, 9 December 2008

A Kehlmann Front on the Approach

The German-speaking world is gearing up for the release of Daniel Kehlmann's new novel Ruhm (Fame). I might even try and attend the premiere at the Berliner Ensemble in January. The book certainly sounds intriguing: nine separate modern-day stories that interlock at the end to form a novel. I rather like these kind of clever literary games myself, really well done in Ali Smith's Hotel World for example. But Ruhm is miles away from Measuring the World in terms of subject matter, and there seems to have been some concern over whether Kehlmann can stand up to the pressure to top his runaway international bestseller.

Meanwhile, Me and Kaminski has reaped fairly lukewarm reviews in the UK - but it was published in German a good two years previously to Measuring the World and, I suspect, translated into English purely on the back of the better book's huge sales figures. Not that I begrudge any extra translations, you understand.

The Financial Times ran a cutesy little interview with Kehlmann on the weekend, fairly devoid of content. Asked what he is most proud of writing, the author answers:

My new novel Ruhm. It will be published in German in January. I know that many writers always think their most recent work is the best – but this is my best. I am very clear and confident about that.

Well, anyone willing to use a photo as silly as the one on the FT site must have a healthy ego...

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