Daniel Kehlmann Is April’s Pick for 12 Germans in 2016


After I really enjoyed the March pick for my German literature project, I am very curious to move on to Daniel Kehlmann’s Die Vermessung der Welt (Measuring the World). It is one of the most successful German-language books since 1945 and has been translated into 40 languages. I can’t for the life of me figure out how I have not yet read this—or any of Kehlmann’s other books. Since Measuring the World features Alexander von Humboldt, I will read this alongside Andrea Wulf’s The Invention of Nature. Feel free to join me in reading one or both of these books. My review of Measuring the World will go up on April 29.

About the Book (adapted from Goodreads)
Toward the end of the eighteenth century, two young Germans set out to measure the world. One of them, the Prussian aristocrat Alexander von Humboldt, travels the world and explores every hole in the ground. The other, the barely socialized mathematician and astronomer Carl Friedrich Gauss, does not even need to leave his home in Göttingen to prove that space is curved. Von Humboldt is known to history as the Second Columbus. Gauss is recognized as the greatest mathematical brain since Newton. Terrifyingly famous and more than eccentric in their old age, the two meet in Berlin in 1828.

About the Author
Daniel Kehlmann was born in Munich in 1975. Six years later, his family moved to Vienna, where he finished school and started his studies in philosophy and German literature. In 1997, he published his first novel. He has received a number of literary awards, has held several teaching positions at universities throughout Germany, and has written essays and reviews for numerous newspapers and magazines. He currently divides his time between Berlin and Vienna.


Four of his books are available in English: Me and Kaminski, Measuring the World, Fame, and F. They were all translated by Carol Brown Janeway, so you might be interested to read what Kehlmann had to say about his translator.




  1. Hi, I managed to read Measuring The World and then Fame last year, measuring was not an easy read but was interesting, Fame, a series of interlinked short stories, was a more approachable read, I.l ne intéressés on the thoughts on ´F’


    • I just finished Fame last night. I really liked how the stories connected to and with each other and how the voice changed from story to story. I’m curious now to get started with Measuring the World.

  2. I so love to join you this month. ‘Measuring The World’ is expensive in Chennai, India. May I read ‘Me and Kaminski’? It’s affordable. 🙂

    • I’d love for you to join me, Deepika. I can’t find an affordable copy of Me and Kaminski, so if you read that one and let me how it is, that would be perfect. If you like it, I’ll have my mom bring me a copy of the book from Germany when she comes to visit over the summer.

      • Yaay! Thank you. 🙂 None of the other books are affordable. So, I will read ‘Me and Kaminski’ this month. The book should arrive in a week. I am glad to join you. 🙂

  3. I’m not going to be able to fit this in this month, whch I’m really sorry about because it sounds just my kind of thing, and I loved his writing in, and the translation of, ‘F’. Looking forward to your review – and to getting around to more Kehlmann soon…

  4. I’m ready with my copy and really looking forward to this one! I only wish my library had a copy of The Invention of Nature. To buy, or not to buy…?

    • Too bad your library doesn’t have a copy, and it’s so new that there probably aren’t that many used copies around yet. I haven’t read past Chapter 1 of The Invention of Nature yet, so I can’t judge yet whether it’s worth buying. But the intro has me so excited to read about Humboldt. It sounds like the man was obsessed, with an incredible memory on top of it. If you need me to tempt you further, let me know and I’ll come up with some arguments you can’t resist. 🙂

      • Well, I thought I would just do a quick internet search for a used copy, just in case – and I found one! Now I just have to wait for its arrival. 🙂
        I’m a little afraid that this is what’s in store for me while waiting for the library to re-open. Help!

  5. I’ll be very interested to see what you think of this book and Kehlmann in general. His name kept cropping up when F was published, but I never got around to trying it. He seems to be a favourite among quite a few of the bloggers I follow.

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