Daniel Kehlmann: Beerholms Vorstellung [Beeerholm’s Performance]

(747 words)
  • Patricia Simpson (Montana State University Bozeman)

Daniel Kehlmann's first novel, Beerholms Vorstellung [Beerholm's Performance, 1997], narrates the life of magician Arthur Beerholm in a first-person perspective. The narrative addresses an absent “you” whose identity as the imagined love object eventually merges with the reader's. Born to a young mother and adopted by Ella and Manfred Beerholm, Arthur begins his account with the death of Ella Beerholm, “die ich vermutlich ‘Mama' genannt habe” [“whom I presumably called ‘Mama'”]. Ella was struck by lightning on a beautiful day while taking in the laundry. This loss forms an absence around which Arthur develops without much inflection in the narrative report. …

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Simpson, Patricia. "Beerholms Vorstellung". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 13 August 2007
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=21664, accessed 29 September 2016.]