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By Daniel Kehlmann

Es ist der Sommer vor der Wirtschaftskrise. Martin Friedland, katholischer Priester ohne Glauben, übergewichtig, weil immer hungrig, trifft sich mit seinem Halbbruder Eric zum Essen. Der hochverschuldete, mit einem Bein im Gefängnis stehende Finanzberater hat unheimliche Visionen, teilt davon jedoch keinem etwas mit. Schattenhafte Männer, sogar zwei Kinder warnen ihn vor etwas, nur: Gelten diese Warnungen wirklich ihm, oder ist etwa sein Zwillingsbruder Iwan gemeint, der Kunstkenner und Ästhet, der ihm zum Verwechseln ähnlich sieht? Schon nimmt das Unheil seinen Lauf. Daniel Kehlmann erzählt von drei Brüdern, die – jeder auf seine Weise – Betrüger, Heuchler, Fälscher sind. Sie haben sich eingerichtet in ihrem Leben, doch plötzlich klafft ein Abgrund auf. Ein Augenblick der Unaufmerksamkeit, ein Zufall, ein falscher Schritt, und used to be gespenstischer Albtraum schien, wird wahr. Ein Roman über Lüge und Wahrheit, über Familie, Fälschung und die Kraft der Fiktion: ein virtuoses Kunstwerk – vielschichtig, geheimnisvoll und kühn.

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Daniel Kehlmann kann erzählen, und zwar vorzüglich, er ist clever, und zwar außerordentlich, er hat Phantasie, und zwar eine ungewöhnliche. (Marcel Reich-Ranicki)

Einer der subtilsten und zugleich witzigsten Schriftsteller im Europa der Gegenwart. (The dad or mum)

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75. I found that to be outrageous. 25. The ladies crowded around the table, calling out their orders. Frank, behind the table, couldn’t keep up. His stomach brushed up against the chocolate on the top of the éclairs and stripped some off. No one noticed but me. The edges of the éclairs were now smeared and missing chocolate. I wanted one to top off the hot dog but I saw bits of Frank’s shirt fuzz captured in the remaining chocolate and just couldn’t do it. He smiled at me and winked. He thought I didn’t notice, or maybe did and he wanted me to keep quiet about it.

She had not stopped her winning streak. Ten dollars and a Twizzler. Single stick. Not a pack. She was diabetic. I didn’t understand the Holy Virgin sometimes. All these women were diabetic. Still with the Twizzlers every week. I walked down to the concession table and saw éclairs, hot dogs, and bags of potato chips. The low rent kind. 25. 75. I found that to be outrageous. 25. The ladies crowded around the table, calling out their orders. Frank, behind the table, couldn’t keep up. His stomach brushed up against the chocolate on the top of the éclairs and stripped some off.

Those cars were speeding back and forth trying to escape the ash. I walked down Sunset toward the up-lit billboards advertising booze and women and jeans and dresses and everything I wanted and my unemployment check could not afford me. I walked past the roads leading up into the hills and the houses slanting down the hills. The Chateau – Los Angeles’s own castle, and past the fraying palm trees. They were dropping fruit and fronds all along the boulevard, down on girls holding down their dresses and plastic bags careening through the air.

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