Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Review: "Measuring the World" by Daniel Kehlmann

While I was confused a lot of the time while reading it, I still feel Measuring the World by Daniel Kehlmann is still worth your time, especially if you are into books about explorers that are a little but different. And so far, I really like Daniel Kehlmann. If Paul Auster decides to stop writing, Kehlmann could take his place as the preeminent author writing about identity and truth in the most bizarre and fascinating ways. While I found spots in this novel to be somewhat overlong and droll, I have to give Kehlmann credit for doing something different with this book. This book is not supposed to be Fame, and even though I really liked that book, I didn’t want this book to be that. It is a slow burn of a novel that meant to add urgency to the proceedings it recalls. Two explorers: Alexander von Humboldt and Carl Freidrich Gauss meet in order to share information on the exact measurements of the world’s land masses. Humboldt is the great explorer of Earth, traveling to the new world, risking death and disease to discover new plants and animals. Gauss is a mathematical genius that can prove certain ideas and theories astoundingly quick from the comforts of his office. When both meet, their personal and professional lives are thrown into utter turmoil. If I have one bad thing to say about this book, it is that one section is so much better than the other. I was much more interested in the separate lives of these two giants of exploration than I was in the details of their first meeting. It was interesting to see how different these two were, and the build up to when they must join forces. Humboldt, although big on exploration and adventure, has little knowledge of relationships, and rarely forms any meaningful attachments in his life. Gauss is able to, but is simply to weird to maintain any likability within them. It is the heart of the book, and it is sad when the other section does not live up. But this book is still worth your time, and Kehlmann is truly a German to watch.
Rating: 4/5

No comments:

Post a Comment