"Real. It's a word that means so much, it doesn't mean anything anymore." By the time novelist Leo Richter makes this pronouncement near the end of Fame, the reader will almost certainly agree with his sentiments. Daniel Kehlmann's novel can be read, in many ways, as an extended exploration of the distinctions between artifice and reality or, more precisely, between story and "real life," whatever that consists of. Defining that distinction - only to blur it again repeatedly - is the ongoing project of Kehlmann's brilliantly playful novel, the thread that unites nine stories into a fascinating whole.
Disorientation is also a theme that runs throughout Fame - for the reader as much as for the characters who populate its pages. In the opening vignette, a man named Ebling finally breaks down and purchases a cell phone, only to discover that the number he's been assigned seems to ...
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