Synopses & Reviews
Following the publication of the widely acclaimed novel Seven Years comes a trove of stories from the Swiss master Peter Stamm. They all possess the traits that have built Stamm’s reputation: the directness of the prose, the deceptive surface simplicity of the narratives, and deep psychological insight into the existential dilemmas of contemporary life. Stamm does not waste a word, nor does he spare the reader’s feelings. These stories are a superb introduction to his work and a gift for all those who have come to regard his fiction as a precise rendering of the contemporary human psyche.
"The characters in Stamm's generous new collection engage right away via their seeming transparency. No sense of author omniscience separates the reader from protagonists coping with issues large (the death of a spouse) or small (a bandage put on too tight). Often, issues begin as small annoyances that develop menacingly. In the title story, a day-care worker becomes increasingly frustrated when she's forced to stay with a young charge whose affluent parent fails to pick him up. In the surprising 'Children of God,' a young clergyman struggling to gain a foothold in his new rural parish encounters a pregnant woman who claims that she's a virgin. 'The Natural Way of Things' opens with the highly effective tease: 'I'm not saying that they tricked us, said Alice, but they didn't tell us the truth.' Stamm finds variety in setting and with characters of differing ages and social classes, and by writing in first, second, and third person in both past and present tense. More significantly, he connects so closely to the psyches of these individuals that his style becomes mutable, variously suggesting the eerie claustrophobia of Shirley Jackson, the brittle edge of Raymond Carver, and even the warmth of Lorrie Moore. Agent: Eva Koralnik, the Liepman Literary Agency." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
was born in 1963, in Weinfelden, Switzerland. He is the author of the novel Agnes,
and numerous short stories and radio plays. His novels Unformed Landscape, On a Day Like This,
and Seven Years,
and the collection In Strange Gardens and Other Stories
are available from Other Press. His prize-winning books have been translated into more than thirty languages. He lives outside of Zurich.
Michael Hofmann has translated the works of Franz Kafka, Joseph Roth, and Peter Stephan Jungk. He is the author of several books of poems and a book of essays, Behind the Lines, and is the editor of the anthology Twentieth-Century German Poetry. He lives in Florida and London.