This is a brilliant and unputdownable novel. Kehlmann is the true inheritor of the German fabulist tradition that stretches back to the Brothers Grimm and even further, and in the legendary prankster figure of Tyll Ulenspiegel he has found his perfect avatar
Kehlmann's best novel so far . . . amidst the destruction, in the places where nothing reflects the former inhabitants anymore, it is the dead who show themselves . . . we owe it to this novel that we can see the dead more clearly, so clearly that it hurts
Kehlmann's storytelling is astonishing
A masterpiece . . . the most extraordinary European novel for many years . . . a brilliant book of stories, of great drama, cinematic and poetic . . . Kehlmann is at the height of his powers
Possibly Kehlmann's best novel since Measuring the World
The best novel Kehlmann has ever written . . . Deeply affecting, lively, brutal, wonderfully unreserved, modern, romantic German epic . . . Tyll is Kehlmann's victory over history, his historic triumph
Tyll proves that Kehlmann is literature's jack-of-all trades. He manages to combine meticulous historical research and virtuoso language mimicry with a frightening exploration of our current sense of dystopia. An incredible educational experience and improbably entertaining.
Kehlmann's imagination runs deep and wild. It travels with the currents of history, in its cycles of brutality and violence, it reaches into our own solitude and silence, summoning us, it soars far and high, and echoes with the power of myth.
A beautiful, engrossing and fascinatingly structured novel. Lucid, limpid, savage. Tyll quietly intrudes on our present crisis of European identity. Have four centuries made us any wiser? This novel is a masterly achievement, a work of imaginative grandeur and complete artistic control
Daniel Kehlmann's Tyll is a laugh-outloud-then-weep-into-your-beer comic novel about a war... Kehlmann is at the top of his game
The narrative moves from myth to historical novel to ballad and back. and Ross Benjamin's translation follows it faithfully
A romp through the thirty years' war... This energetic historical fiction, featuring a folkloric jester in a violent, superstitious Europe, is the work of an immense talent
Tyll is an absorbing and, for a novel about a prankster, remarkably sincere novel
Like a magician, Kehlmann conjures comedy, farce and badinage, even in a blighted time of war
Vivid . . . Kehlmann, a confident magician himself, plays his bright pages like cards. But he has a deeper purpose, which is revealed only gradually, as the grand climacteric of his chosen war steadily justifies its presence in the novel . . . Kehlmann is a gifted and sensitive storyteller . . . Despite the grimness of the surroundings and the lancing interventions of history, the novel's tone remains light, sprightly, enterprising. Kehlmann has an unusual combination of talents and ambitions-he is a playful realist, a rationalist drawn to magical games and tricky performances, a modern who likes to look backward
Profoundly enchanting but never sentimental, Tyll is a magnificent story . . . Kehlmann is a master of economical, devastating description . . . Chilling . . . In this exquisitely crafted novel, Kehlmann moves just as nimbly through the grimmest of human experiences. The result is a spellbinding memorial to the nameless souls lost in Europe's vicious past, whose whispers are best heard in fables.
Prodigiously imaginative . . . [A] brilliant, blackly sardonic retelling . . . In Mr. Kehlmann's unforgettable joker we have a picture of humankind in all of its madness and strutting pride
a dazzling, picaresque romp
It's typical Kehlmann, a delicious cocktail of philosophy, adventure and earthy humour
A skilfully written tale that is darkly entertaining and inventive
'[D]arkly funny' Guardian best books of 2020