Me and Kaminski

Daniel Kehlmann, Author, Carol Brown Janeway, Translator , trans. from the German by Carol Brown Janeway. Pantheon $21.95 (195p) ISBN 978-0-307-37744-9

German literary wunderkind Kehlmann follows up Measuring the World (2006) with this curious and lesser novel. Self-conscious and yet completely un–self-aware, journalist Sebastian Zollner attempts to outdo his art critic rival by writing the biography of reclusive painter Manuel Kaminski. Sebastian is amusingly sad, if one-note: he lives in denial that his live-in girlfriend broke up with him months ago; after an offhand comment by a transit worker, he becomes obsessed with his receding hairline; and he detests in others everything he so blithely ignores about himself. He weasels himself into Kaminski's household, snoops through the artist's private files, discovers a series of unfinished paintings and attempts to up the drama by reuniting Kaminski with his ex-wife, long thought dead. It quickly becomes clear, however, that Kaminski is manipulating pathetic Sebastian, and Sebastian's plans are thwarted in favor of the master's own. There are entertaining and lightly satirical moments, but for the most part the story feels rushed, with everyone except Sebastian getting short shrift. (Nov.)

Reviewed on: 08/18/2008
Release date: 11/01/2008
Hardcover - 195 pages - 978-1-84724-580-9
Open Ebook - 1 pages - 978-0-307-37781-4
Compact Disc - 978-1-59777-227-3
Paperback - 208 pages - 978-0-307-38989-3
Open Ebook - 1 pages - 978-1-4416-1036-2
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