Englischsprachige Literatur

Dronfield Jeremy

the alchemist´s apprentice

Headline, London 2001


I´m sure this novel is meant as a thought-provoking work of “ a staggering genius” (as Dave Eggers would put it) , but, honestly, it turns out to be only mildly interesting.

Drick, the hero of the story, is invited to a New Year´s Eve party by his long-time friend Madagascar Rhodes only to find out, that nobody knows anything about him at the place  and there is no party whatsoever. He is hurt and curious to find out more. A huge box full of parcels comes into his possession and as he starts reading a strangely weird story unfolds itself. Rhodes, the unsuccessful writer, tells his friend in so many words, why, in the end, he and his work have disappeared without any trace, dissolved into thin air.
On the cover, Dronfield is compared to Ian Banks  and Douglas Adams. I would more tend to see similarities with novels of the Romantic period, E.T.A. Hoffmann in particular, although it is sadly lacking any elegance of style. And Dronfield doesn´t make up for it by being funny or at least bizarr. Instead the reader listens to a lecture on different theories about fiction and its relationship with reality.It´s all rather academic. Jasper Fforde is definitely more fun.