Fame by Daniel Kehlmann

Mike’s review

Absolutely judged this book by its cover. More specifically even, by its sleekly designed spine. And then the cover. No previous knowledge of the book nor author. And I nailed it. Seriously. You should judge books by their covers.

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So, the “plot” summary isn’t really going to happen. It’s 9 stories with overlapping characters. To say the stories are interconnected is perhaps a stretch, but the characters are all, in one way or another connected. Not exactly a brand new conceit, but it’s still one of my favorites and it works really well here. So to summarize the plot would mean to delve into each chapter and I’m not doing that. So bear with me.

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To listen to someone break up with “you.” To hear that anger and intimacy and not even actually know the person. I don’t know what I feel. (Someone was given another person’s phone number accidentally and “became” that person, on the phone.)

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Identity: After getting this from the library I yelled at a woman who parked in the road–no blinker, no hazards–when there was a spot next to her (I was in the spot behind and couldn’t pull out). My windows were open. Hers were closed. As I was yelling I realized how ridiculous/stupid I am. Then realized what a fragile sense of self I have that the smallest slight will set me off defensively. Then, no more than an hour later, thought about how I’m such a beautiful unique sparklepony (Chris Kluwe) because I don’t fit in/dress like others/understand the need to make statements with fashion/exclaim who you are with pants.

Strange that I would have this self-aware identity crisis before reading the book. Jacket talks of fame, which is related to identity, but no other indicator of what would come. Despite the title and the jacket, I’d say the central theme is more identity than fame, but I can see how something titled Identity might not sell as well.

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Couple days off, jumping into “Rosalie Goes Off To Die” (a postmodern story written by a character) is surreal, a little mentally tough. This is the chapter that I officially started to love this book though. Good before, but this chapter is achingly good.

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“The East” employs the comedic rule of three with roast pork effectively.

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Someone who doesn’t have delusions of his one day literary fame would probably have this note: authors are never this famous. Even Stephen King. Maybe 1% of population would be able to recognize him. But Leo Richter is like, Tom Cruise famous.

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This is “I don’t know how he comes up with this shit” good.

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