F: A Novel - Carol Janeway, Daniel Kehlmann

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review, thank you!

 

Original Title: F (German)

 

I'd like to start with a little comment on the cover. I think it's one of the worst covers I've seen in quite some time. This is not the cover that made me decide I wanted to read this book either, but somehow between requesting and reading it had changed into this. It used to be a lot better with a Rubik's cube (that would have made sense if you read the book).

 

Arthur Friedland takes his sons Martin and the twins Eric and Ivan to a hypnosis show in theatre. Although he firmly states it's all nonsense, he dumps his children on the street right after the show and disappears. The book follows the lives of the sons, now grown-up and unhappy in their own ways.

 

The style, sometimes, is quite philosophical, pondering on questions of existentialism and the meaning of life. Mostly through discussion of Arthur's book My Name Is No One (that caused a number of suicides). 

 

The story has it's moments. I liked Martin's for one, the obese priest who's secretly an atheist. But that part ended in a less interesting list of all family members before him, and that's the part in this book where I kind of lost interest. The stories about Eric -the evil business man- and Ivan - the troubled artist- were not quite as interesting to me. I did like the fact that the stories are interwoven in a number of ways though. And it was definitely worth a read but you don't always have to like it...