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the Complete Review

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Daniel Kehlmann
at the
complete review:


biographical | bibliography | quotes | pros/cons | our opinion | links


Biographical

Name: Daniel KEHLMANN
Nationality: Austrian
Born: 1975

  • Born in Munich, and moved to Vienna in 1981
  • Studied Philosophy and Literature

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Bibliography

Highlighted titles are under review at the complete review

Please note that this bibliography is not necessarily complete.

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Quotes

What others have to
say about
Daniel Kehlmann:

  • "Kehlmann verfügt über zwei entscheidende Talente: Eine klare Beobachtungsgabe und einen exakten Stil." - René Freund, Wiener Zeitung (6/4/1997)

  • "Die Stärke der Sprache Kehlmanns ist ihre Schnörkellosigkeit, der Verzicht auf blumige, nicht von der Anschauung gedeckte Metaphorik. Seine Charakterisierung der Personen, die Erklärung psychischer Antriebe und die Beschreibung der Umwelt und der Naturvorgänge gehen auf exakte Beobachtung und Analyse zurück, ohne daß deshalb die Sprache verkarstet. (...) Auf jeden Fall aber: diesen Autor müssen wir im Auge behalten." - Walter Hinck, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (18/3/1998)

  • "Der junge Wiener Autor hebt sich durch seinen unzeitgemäßen Ernst vorteilhaft vom glatten Realismus und den ironischen Sprachspielen seiner Altersgenossen ab. Seinen Geschichten freilich bekommt der Hang zur spekulativen Konstruktion nicht immer." - Martin Halter, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (19/11/1999)

  • "Kehlmanns Begeisterung gilt offensichtlich dem Bizarren." - Daniel-Dylan Böhmer, Der Spiegel (26/9/2000)

  • "Bedenkt man, dass unsere literarisch interessierten Kreise seit einigen Jahren jeden Krümel begackern, den die Weisheit der Jugend fallen lässt, müsste einer wie Kehlmann eigentlich als Superstar rangieren. Dem aber ist nicht so. Vielleicht liegt es daran, dass erkenntnistheoretische Vexierspiele den weit verbreiteten Hunger nach Erfahrungen mit der Erfahrungslosigkeit nicht stillen, dass der Autor mit polyglotten Duftmarken geizt und die Liebe, wiewohl als Unglück voll akzeptiert, nicht zu seinen zentralen Reflexionsgegenständen gehört." - Andreas Nentwich, Die Zeit (13/2003)

  • "Daniel Kehlmann, der zweifellos zu den großen literarischen Talenten seiner Generation gehört" - Tilman Krause, Die Welt (15/10/2005)

  • "There are younger American novelists whom Kehlmann resembles: Neal Stephenson in his "Baroque Cycle" of historical fictions, Richard Powers in his several novels about scientists. What distinguishes Kehlmann are quickness of pace and lightness of touch." - Tom LeClair, The New York Times (5/11/2006)

  • "The cult of greatness was abolished along with Hitler's Greater German Reich. But Kehlmann has it in him to be the great German novelist that the world had given up waiting for." - Daniel Johnson, The Telegraph (15/4/2007)

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Pros and Cons
of the author's work:

    Pros:
  • Solid command of the craft of writing, effective use of style
  • Interesting ideas, well presented

    Cons:
  • Only now being translated into English (one work, so far)
  • A single idea takes hold of each work and completely dominates it

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the complete review's Opinion

     Daniel Kehlmann counts as a fairly precocious talent. Still years from turning thirty he has already published four well-received novels, as well as a collection of short stories. His work shows both a youthful exuberance as well as a mature control of style.
     Kehlmann's heroes are often plain and largely unremarkable figures -- almost everyday everymen. Almost. There are also exceptional aspects to them, too, sometimes letting the rise out of their ordinariness, sometimes, briefly, allowing them to stand out -- if only, eventually, to fade completely away.
     Each of his works focusses on something exceptional, something odd, something entirely out of the ordinary -- though often only truly noticeable to the one character at the center of the tale. Sometimes Kehlmann gets too caught up in his ideas, but they are clever and large enough to sustain his works.
     They are fine ideas -- the shifts in the nature of time in Mahlers Zeit, for example, or the experience of the ultima Thule in Der fernste Ort -- but it is his presentation that makes his works so effective. Calmly, carefully he describes his scenes, ones which are often difficult or impossible for the characters themselves to comprehend. He brings in humour and -- dangerously, but he manages to get away with it most of the time -- pathos. He takes on the grandest subjects -- time itself, even ! -- but manages to avoid being too ponderous, his touch just light enough. And he sympathizes with his characters, giving them the proper attention and respect, making them fully realized people.
     A promising young author to look out for.

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Links

Daniel Kehlmann: Daniel Kehlmann's books at the complete review: See also:

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