Synopses & Reviews
In this companion to Urs Widmer’s novel My Mother’s Lover, the narrator is again the son who pieces together the fragments of his parents’ stories. Since the age of twelve, Karl, the father, has observed the family tradition of recording his life in a single notebook, but when his book is lost soon after his death, his son resolves to rewrite it. Here, we get to know Karl’s friends—a collection of anti-fascist painters and architects known as Group 33. We learn of the early years of Karl’s marriage and follow his military service as the Swiss fear a German invasion during World War II, his political activity for the Communist Party, and his brief career as a teacher. We are told of Karl’s literary translations of his favorite French books, and, most important, the eerie and ever-present coffins outside the houses in the home village of Karl’s father, one reserved for each individual from the day he or she is born. Widmer brilliantly combines family history and historical events to tell the story of a man more at home in the world of the imagination than in the real world, a father who grows on the reader, just as he grows on his son. “One of the best representatives of Swiss literature.”—Le Monde
“Widmer’s writing, though serious and finely crafted, is full of tomfoolery, wry deadpan humor, and implausible plot twists.”
The Lectures on Poetics Series at the University of Frankfurt VI has hosted many illustrious speakers at its lectern, including Ingeborg Bachmann, Theodor Adorno, and Heinrich Böll. At the beginning of 2007, Urs Widmer—described by the Independent
as “one of the living greats of Swiss literature”—spoke to more than twelve hundred students and enthusiasts, sharing the sum of his understandings of poets and their timeless creations.
In On Life, Death, and This and That of the Rest, English language readers will gain access to Widmer’s historic talks for the first time through Donal McLaughlin’s excellent translation. Here, Widmer imparts his views on the poet as deviant and as sufferer, and as the conduit for the dream of singing to the imagination in the nameless voice of the people. Here, one of our finest living writers shares his experience of life as an author and as a devotee of the printed word with a new and enthusiastic readership.
Its Switzerland in the 1920s when the two lovers first meet. She is young, beautiful, and rich. In contrast, he can barely support himself and is interested only in music. By the end of their lives, he is a famous conductor and the richest man in the country, but she is penniless. And most important of all, no one knows of her love for him; it is a secret he took to his grave. Here begins Urs Widmers novel My Mothers Lover
Based on a real-life affair, My Mothers Lover is the story of a lifelong and unspoken love for a man—recorded by the womans son, who begins this novel on the day his mothers lover dies. Set against the backdrop of the Depression and World War II, it is a story of sacrifice and betrayal, passionate devotion, and inevitable suffering. Yet in Widmers hands, it is always entertaining and surprisingly comic—a unique kind of fairy tale.
It is Friday, 22 May 2032. On the day after his ninety-fourth birthday, a man is sitting in a beautiful garden, a paradise where he often explored and played in his childhood, recording the story of his adventures with Mr Adamson. He tells us the story—but he is telling it above all to Anni, his granddaughter. At the same time, he is waiting—for this very Mr Adamson, whom he has not seen since the age of eight. A curious encounter, a glimpse into realms that normally remain concealed to the living: for Herr Adamson died at the very moment when the narrator was born, and will escort this ninety-four-year-old great-grandfather when the time comes for him to pass. A superb book that, with its vitality and zest for life, manages to hold at bay that scandal in every life: death.
The day is Friday, May 22, 2032. On this day, the day after his ninety-fourth birthday, a man is sitting in a beautiful garden. It is a paradise where he often played during his childhood, and it is here that he is recording the story of his adventures with Mr. Adamson. In the course of this compelling novel from Swiss author Urs Widmer, this man narrates his unusual story to his granddaughter, Anni. While he recounts his life, he is also waitingwaiting for the arrival of this very Mr. Adamson, whom he has not seen since the age of eight. Even then it was a mysterious encountera glimpse into realms that normally remain concealed to the living. For Mr. Adamson died at the very moment when our narrator was born, and he will soon return to escort the ninety-four-year-old narrator into another paradise.
Told with Urs Widmers signature humor, genius, and lively imagination, Mr Adamson is a superb story and a spellbinding book. With its vitality and zest for life, it manages to hold at bay that scandal we must all face in our lives: death.
Praise for Widmer
One of the best representatives of Swiss literature.”Le Monde
About the Author
(1938–2014) was a Swiss novelist, playwright, essayist, and short story writer and the cofounder of Verlag der Autoren, an author-owned publishing house focusing on texts related to the performing arts. His other books include The Blue Soda Siphon
and My Father’s Book
, also published by Seagull Books.
Table of Contents
My Mother's Lover
A novel by Urs WidmerTranslated by Donal McLaughlin