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Daniel Kehlmann Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Publication Order of Plays

Daniel Kehlmann
Daniel Kehlmann January 13, 1975 was born in Munich, Germany the son of Dagmar Mettler (the actress) and Michael Kehlman (a television director). His family moved to Vienna, his dad’s hometown, at the age of six. Daniel’s paternal grandparents were born Jewish, and his dad was in a concentration camp during WWII.

“Tyll” was shortlisted for the International Booker Prize, and “Measuring the World” received the Heimito von Doderer prize. “Geister in Princeton” won the Nestroy Theatre Prize, Best Play, Authors Prize. Daniel’s received the Kleist Prize, the PO Enquist Pris, Schubart Literaturpreis, the WELT Literaturpreis, Anton Wildgans Prize, and the Thomas-Mann-Preis.

“Measuring the World” is the first stand alone novel and was released in 2006. Recreating the parallel yet contrasting lives of two geniuses of the German Enlightenment, Alexander von Humboldt (the explorer and naturalist) and Carl Friedrich Gauss (physicist and mathematician). Near the end of the 18th century, these brilliant young Germans set out to measure the entire world.

Gauss, a man that was born into poverty who’ll be recognized as the greatest mathematician since Newton, does not even need to leave his home in Gottingen to know that space is curved. He’s able to run prime numbers in his head, and even though he can’t imagine a life without women, he still jumps outta bed on his wedding night to write a mathematical formula down. Humboldt, who is a Prussian aristocrat trained for greatness, negotiates jungle and savannah, travels down the Orinoco, counts head lice climbs the tallest mountain known to man, and explores every single hole in the ground.

“Me and Kaminski” is the second stand alone novel and was released in 2008. Sebastian Zollner, who’s an underachieving art critic, has pinned his hopes of advancement on writing a biography on Manuel Kaminski, an artist and the forgotten former protege of Matisse, but is now an ailing recluse. Zollner (who is charmless, inept, and with little knowledge of art history) is hardly the guy that should rediscover a lost-genius of 20th century painting. However he has made a vital discovery about his subject, that Therese, Kaminski’s long lost love, still lives, contrary to what even the artist has been led to believe.

Upon arriving at Kaminski’s remote Alpine home, Zollner imposes himself crudely on the house, alienating Miriam, the protective daughter of the artist. His efforts to unlock secrets of Kaminski’s life make him embark on a series of increasingly desperate measures. After bribing the housekeeper to make herself scarce, he searches the house to find revealing documents (not finding much), then dismisses the frail Kaminski’s doctor, and spirits the old guy away in Miriam’s Mercedes for a grand reunion with his old flame.

From here, events spiral rapidly out of control. Kaminski and Zollner’s road trip is by turns grotesque and chaotic, ends not with some emotional coming together of two lost lovers, but in a comically bathetic encounter. Pursued by an irate Miriam, Kaminski and Zollner take to the road a final time, while the novel draws to its unexpectedly redemptive finale.

In the sympathetic and enigmatic Kaminski, and the unlovable and paranoid Zollner, and their satellite cast of art world oddballs, poseurs, and eccentrics, Kehlmann shows the same gifts for deft dialogue and characterization that he revealed so triumphantly in “Measuring the World”.

“Fame” is the third stand alone novel and was released in 2010. A guy buys a cell phone and begins getting calls meant for somebody else; so starts this story about obscurity and fame, deception and truth, filled with humor, surprise, and brilliance.

After some reluctance at first, a guy getting somebody else’s phone calls starts playing with his new identity. From one day to the next, one actor’s phone calls dead silent, almost like somebody has stolen his life. A writer takes a couple of trips with a woman whose worst fear is that she’ll wind up in one of his works.

A somewhat confused internet blogger wants nothing more than to become a character in some novel. A writer of detective stories vanishes on a journey through Central Asia, a fictional woman on her deathbed fights with the author that created her, and one managing director at a cell phone company goes crazy while trying to manage his double life with two women.

Nine episodes coalesce in order to form one coherent whole while Daniel Kehlmann plays this sophisticated game with fiction and reality. He creates, in essence, this dazzling hall of mirrors.

“F” is the fourth stand alone novel and was released in 2014. F is for fate. F is for fortune. F is for family. F is for fraud. Three brothers whose dad takes on the occult and both loses and wins.

Arthur is a wannabe writer and dilettante that decides to fill an afternoon by taking his three young sons to a performance of the Master of Hypnosis, the Great Lindemann. Arthur, while allowing one of his sons to get called onstage and made a spectacle of, declares that he is immune to hypnosis and is a disbeliever in all magic. However the Great Lindemann knows better. And he gets Arthur to spill some of his deepest secrets and then tells him to make them real. Arthur, later that night, empties out the family bank account, takes his passport, and he disappears. He is going to become a world famous writer, a master of the mystical. (F is for fake).

However what about the boys? Eric becomes a financier (F is for fraud), losing touch with reality while facing ruin. Martin, who is painfully shy, grows up to become a Catholic priest without a vocation. (F is for faith, and lacking it). And Ivan, who is destined for glory as a painter, instead becomes a forger. (F is for forgery, as well). They have settled into their own life choices, however when the summer of the global financial crisis comes they are tossed together again with cataclysmic results.

This novel, about family, truth, and the horrible power of fortune, is a fictional triumph. It’s tragic, wildly funny, and heartbreaking.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Daniel Kehlmann

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