'A comic tour de force, a biting satire on the hypnotized world of artificial wants and needs that Huxley predicted, a moving study of brotherhood and family failure, F is an astonishing book, a work of deeply satisfying (and never merely clever) complexity' - John Burnside
Artful and subversive, F tells the story of the Friedland family - fakers, all of them - and the day when the fate in which they don't quite believe catches up with them.
Having achieved nothing in life, Arthur Friedland is tricked on stage by a hypnotist and told to change everything. After he abandons his three young sons, they grow up to be a faithless priest, a broke financier and a forger. Each of them cultivates absence. One will be lost to it.
A novel about the game of fate and the fetters of family, F never stops questioning, exploring and teasing at every twist and turn of its Rubik's Cube-like narrative.
**Shortlisted for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize 2015**
Publisher: Quercus Publishing
Number of pages: 272
Weight: 235 g
Dimensions: 198 x 129 x 21 mm
Daniel Kehlmann braided art, religion and finance into a typically effervescent but heartfelt comedy-of-ideas about faith and fakery * Independent *
It is this sense of a world potent with significance that seems at once within our reach and beyond our grasp that forms the central concern of this most accomplished, humane and unsettling of novels - a work that registers how it is to feel so alive to the 'terrible beauty of things' as to feel the world is talking to us * Literary Review *
Daniel Kehlmann's subtly yet masterly constructed puzzle cube of a new novel . . . conveying the implicit message that Fate with a capital F has already decided the answer for us . . . Yet Kehlmann's ambitious narrative structure - the novel itself - provides the strongest rebuke of that deterministic claim. For the novel, with its sly Moebius-strip-like connectedness, doesn't just hint at the possibility of a plan behind the scenes; it enacts that plan in the very telling, its elegant, unfolding construction revealing the author's intended pattern by book's end; a sign of hope, perhaps, or even faith * New York Times *
Intelligent, acerbic and quietly surreal . . . Powering the narrative is the explosive fallout from the collision between fate and self-determination . . . Subtle and clever in all the right ways. Kehlmann's world is fully convincing while being philosophically challenging. He has a hypnotic effect, seducing us with his storytelling while provoking us to find meanings of our own -- Toby Lichtig * Saturday Telegraph *
It cannot be an easy thing to write a comic novel about the death of God. Still, Daniel Kehlmann may just have pulled it off . . . In a godless world, love counts for a great deal. And failing love, ordinary human decency goes a long way. Since Kurt Vonnegut died, there has really been no one to tell us this; the reminder is welcome . . . F is about the world's absurdity, and this makes a huge difference morally. The world is big, and ultimately unknowable, and life is short and memory pitifully limited . . . It is very hard to express how funny this all is. But laughter matters most in the dark -- Simon Ings * Guardian *
What a strange and beautiful novel, hovering on the misty borders of the abstract and the real. Three brilliant character studies in the brothers - religion, money and art. What else is there? The answer, Kehlmann suggests, without ever saying so, is love, and its lack is the essence of the failures of all three men. But while these fates unroll in the idiom of psychological realism, there is a cooler geometry working on the reader, a painterly sense of the symmetry in human fates. It's a deeply writerly novel with a stout backbone of wonderful characterization. High achievement -- Ian McEwan
With the wizardry of a puzzle master Daniel Kehlmann permutes the narrative pieces of this Rubik's Cube of a story - involving a lost father and his three sons - into a solution that clicks into position with a deep thrill of narrative and emotional satisfaction. Kehlmann is one of the brightest, most pleasure-giving writers at work today, and he manages all this while exploring matters of deep philosophical and intellectual import. He deserves to have more readers -- Jeffrey Eugenides
F is an intricate, beautiful novel in multiple disguises: a family saga, a fable, and a high-speed farce. But then, what else would you expect? Daniel Kehlmann is one of the great novelists for making giant themes seem light -- Adam Thirlwell
Compelling combination of digestible philosophy and buzzy page-turning thriller . . . the ideas in this book are big, exciting, an irresistible puzzle, and the prose flows like the Rhine - increasingly dramatic, occasionally soulful. F might be for Friedland and family and fraud but it is also for fun. And a fecking good read * Big Issue *
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