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A Gem For The Surrealist
Linked or interconnected short stories is currently my favorite genre, and "Fame" is the best book I've read in this genre in quite awhile. Reminiscent of Charles Baxter's "The Soul Thief", as well as Paul Auster's work, I absolutely loved this study of identity, who we really are, who we strive to be or even the 'self' we yearn to escape from. There is no main protagonist, the three common characters (2 authors and a movie star) mysteriously pop up in the various episodes of the book.
The novel begins when a new cell phone user begins to receive calls, not for himself but for some guy named 'Ralf', who we find out later is the movie star. As he continues to answer phone calls for 'Ralf', he starts to play with the idea of actually BEING Ralf, laying bare the first issue of identity. Alas, the cell phone users dilemma is never completely solved, and the real 'Ralf' (or is it really the real Ralf?) shows up later in the book. Along with other characters, who actually may or may not be characters in the novels of the authors in the story. And who is the narrator anyway!? Both the technology of the cell phone as well as glass or mirrors are referred to in almost every story, leaving you not really knowing who is who, and even if they are really there until the very end of the book when it all comes full circle and you realize what a brilliant read this really is!