Austrian wunderkind Daniel Kehlmann’s latest title Fame: a novel in Nine Episodes is, as the title would suggest, a collection of nine separate yet interconnected stories that all address the absurdity, irony, and utter despair that goes hand in hand with being famous in our modern hyper-connected culture. In my favorite of the nine episodes entitled The Way Out, a film celebrity named Ralf Tanner seeks reprieve from his life in the limelight by impersonating an impersonator of himself only to find people telling him he’s not that good at impersonating Ralf Tanner and gradually finds himself somehow switched with the impersonator that he is impersonating who, it turns out, is better at being Ralf Tanner than the actual Ralf Tanner! Not all of the stories are this mind-binding, yet they all are just as intriguing and entertaining. Kehlmann’s work is translated from German and his previous novel Measuring the World (2006) is one of the biggest selling books in the German language ever.
Fame: a novel in nine episodes