Written by Andrew Crumey
Review by Penny Wild

Conceived of by a prince, Rheinnstadt will be a great city, both architecturally impressive and culturally diverse; every detail will be mapped and documented. For the museums there must be artefacts, for the theatres there must be plays and for the library there must be books. So it follows, then, that there must be people, citizens of Rheinnstadt, to discover and to write, to populate the city, which is this entirely fictitious and yet all-consuming concept of a city.

When cartographer Schenk comes across a roughly written name on a map, he believes he has found a man named Pfitz and therefore a point of common ground with which to impress the beautiful Biographer. They are not the only ones interested in Pfitz, however, and all would use him for their own ends.

Pfitz is epic, not in sheer volume, but in the magnitude of the world that Crumey has created. The transition from “reality” to fiction, to fictitious fiction was, at times, a more than a little mind-boggling, but the intense weaving of fact with fiction, and even fiction within fiction, made for a thrilling read. When the lines are this closely drawn, the characters so vivid and the story so tangible, could you be sure which is the real world, the true version of events, and the real foe?