A new novel of artful understatement about mortality, estrangement, and the absurdity of life from the acclaimed author of Unformed Landscape and In Strange Gardens
On a day like any other, Andreas changes his life. When a routine doctor’s visit leads to an unexpected prognosis, a great yearning takes hold of him—but who can tell if it is homesickness or wanderlust? Andreas leaves everything behind, sells his Paris apartment; cuts off all social ties; quits his teaching job; and waves goodbye to his days spent idly sitting in cafes—to look for a woman he once loved, half a lifetime ago. The monotony of days has been keeping him in check; now he hopes for a miracle and for a new beginning.
Andreas’ travels lead him back to the province of his youth, back to his hometown in Switzerland where he returns to familiar streets, where his brother still lives in their childhood home, and where Fabienne, a woman he was obsessed with in his youth, visits the same lake they once swam in together. Andreas, still consumed with longing for his lost love and blinded by the uncertainty of his future, is tormented by the question of what might have been if things had happened differently.
Peter Stamm has been praised as a “stylistic ascetic” and his prose as “distinguished by lapidary expression, telegraphic terseness, and finely tuned sensitivity” (Bookforum). In On a Day Like This, Stamm’s unobtrusive observational style allows us to journey with our antihero through his crises of banality, of living in his empty world, and the realization that life is finite—that one must live it, as long as that is possible.
Praise for Unformed Landscape:
“Sensitive and unnerving. . . . An uncommonly intimate work, one that will remind the reader of his or her own lived experience with a greater intensity than many of the books that are published right here at home.” —The New Republic Online
“If Albert Camus had lived in an age when people in remote Norwegian fishing villages had e-mail, he might have written a novel like this.”—The New Yorker
“Unformed Landscape has a refreshing purity, a lack of delusion, a lack of hype.”—Los Angeles Times
About the Author
Peter Stamm was born in 1963, in Weinfelden, Switzerland. He is the author of the novel "Agnes "(1998) and numerous short stories and radio plays. His novel, "Unformed Landscape," and the collection "In Strange Gardens and" "Other Stories "are available from Other Press. He lives outside of Zurich, Switzerland.
Michael Hofmann has translated the works of many German writers, including Franz Kafka, Joseph Roth, and Peter Stephan Jungk. He is also the author of four books of poetry, most recently "Approximately Nowhere," and a book of essays, "Behind the Lines," He lives in Gainesville, Florida and London.
For his translations, acclaimed poet Michael Hofmann has won the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize, the Dublin International IMPAC Award, the PEN/Book-of-the-Month Club Prize, the Helen and Kurt Wolff Translator s Prize, the Oxford-Weidenfeld Translation Prize, and The Schlegel-Tieck Prize (four times). He is the highly acclaimed translator of, among others, Kafka, Brecht, and Joseph Roth.
“What Peter Stamm has done with this novel is recreate life in all of its quiet banality--this is art… Stamm's achievement isn't the mere weaving of a story, it's the report of a life in quiet crisis.” –Review of Contemporary Fiction