Friday, April 13, 2007

Measuring the World Review

In The Nation Mark Anderson reviews Daniel Kehlmann's Measuring the World which has recently been translated into English. (I haven't read it yet, but it is on my reading list.)

Reviewers in Germany and in the United States have welcomed Kehlmann's comic novel as a departure from the lugubrious German bestsellers of the recent past--books like Jörg Friedrich's description of the horrific destruction of German cities during the air war (recently published by Columbia University Press under the title The Fire) or Günter Grass's novel Crabwalk, about German civilians killed by a Russian torpedo. It is true that Kehlmann belongs to a different generation and is not bound by the same sense of taboo and guilt that has haunted Germans born near the end of World War II. Moreover, his partial Jewish heritage--his father was imprisoned in a work camp, and numerous relatives were deported and killed--further complicates the matter of his "Germanness" without providing an alternative identity.

3 comments:

Antonia said...

have not this, but have read some stories by Kehlmann quite a couple of years ago. Wasn't so impressed by that. 'without providing an alternative identity' sums it pretty much up, also regarding his writing...maybe now this big one is better, but i have my doubts....

Alok said...

He looks more like a popular writer with literary ambitions. He was in the news last year in the american and british media about how this book left Da vinci code and harry potter behind on the bestseller charts!

Antonia said...

oh yes? I didn't notice that he is so famous.
I always thought of him of one of those preposterous guys who one day decide 'oh I become a writer' and may be they have all the connections, which he surely has and then they go on writing duller stuff than the precedent tradition - I mean to somehow connect him with Grass is the only consequent, for people who think Grass etc are the stars of german literature Kehlmann might be just as well one.....alone the title already is a disqualification, Measuring the world....what next, alok, I ask you?