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10 thoughts on “An einem Tag wie diesem

  1. Tim Parks Tim Parks says:

    This is my favourite Stamm A wry laconic deeply phobic and very funny account of a man's dealing with work and women


  2. Christopher Taylor Christopher Taylor says:

    The challenge with this novel is to care The story suggests the main character Andreas is about forty He spent eighteen years in Paris teaching and now he wonders why His life has been empty without purpose or affect He is handsome so he has had ample sex but no emotional ties No ties of any sort Adrift And he doesn't much care So why should we?Peter Stamm's writing is spare Understated No lush descriptions No violent outbursts Everything flows very smoothly But watching that sleek surface flow past – calm controlled – we become like Andreas – indifferent In fiction as in life emotion is two thirds of it; and if not two thirds then half And if not half then you begin to wonder whether you have lived whether there is a story here after allThe narrative is third person We hear what people think – not much And what they feel – even less Andreas has a crisis – in a mild way And he takes drastic action – in a calm way Everything is in keeping with what we have already seen It is all beyond arm's length It is across the street You can't touch the characters They move in sight but out of reach And barely within hearing They are no one you know Or are likely to care aboutIbsen said that when he first started a play the characters were like people he had seen in a railway station After further work on the play the characters were like people he had known for a few weeks And after yet work – when the play was done – the characters were like intimate friendsPeter Stamm should have worked on this novel until the characters became like intimate friends Then he should have shown them to us in that light And if the answer is that he did and they are – if this is who Andreas and the others are in the full – flat indifferent shallow – then why on earth should we care?


  3. Andy Miller Andy Miller says:

    A novel about a Swiss native Andreas in his 40's who teaches and lives in Paris In the first chapter his girlfriend comments on his emptiness Her observation is supported as we learn about his life; he lives in a sparse apartment has few friends is detached from his job has lost contact with his brother and brother's family who are his only living relativesReading this I was reminded of the protagonist in the Stranger which is reinforced when Andreas gives a book by Camus as a birthday present in the only party he actually attends in the bookAndreas picks up a novel about a love between a student and an au pair which is strikingly similar with his experience as a student when he fell in love with an au pair This prompts a series of flashbacks while at the same time he learns he may have cancer This leads him to wonder if his failure to act on his one love caused his life of emptiness while at the same time confronting the possibility of his life being cut short by cancer At this time he begins a relationship with a student teacherwho may be the most sympathetic character in the book who of course is the same age as he was when he made his life altering choice not to commit to the au pairA very interesting thought provoking read I was initially disappointed in its ambigious ending but I eventually appreciated the ending the ambuigity reflects Andreas's life and the role of the reader in deciding how to interpret his life and this book


  4. Roger Brunyate Roger Brunyate says:

    Only Connect On second thoughts don't botherThere can be something bracing about Peter Stamm's ice cold objectivity Andreas loved the empty mornings when he would stand by the window with a cup of coffee in one hand and a cigarette in the other and stare down at the small tidy courtyard and think of nothing except what was there in front of him And so this 2006 novel begins with a fortyish bachelor Swiss like the author who lives in a Paris apartment and commutes daily to a high school in the suburbs where he teaches German He has a couple of women friends one married one divorced whom he sleeps with on occasion with no commitment on either side Then he goes to the doctor with a smoker's cough and finds he needs a biopsy to investigate a shadow on his lungsWe have been in this emotional territory before with Stamm most notably with the female protagonist of Unformed Landscape whose life in the frozen wastes of Northern Norway changes when she decides to take a trip south Andreas is not so compelling a character and certainly the setting is ordinary but an emotional glaciation like his is the necessary prelude to a thaw Or so I thoughtTwo things I did not like about the physical book a graceless presentation and a mentitious blurb It is poorly printed with a tight center binding that hurts ones hands to hold open And it attracts potential readers with a come on that the actual text simply does not support Peter Stamm leads our antihero on a journey through a restorative midlife crisis to the realization that life is finite—that one must live it with passion so long as this is possible Restorative? I hardly think so and there is precious little passion either Andreas' conduct after his biopsy is if anything coldly dismissive of his friends than he had been before And he reduces his life to almost nothing giving up his job selling his apartment and furniture buying the smallest car a 2cv and heading back to the Swiss village where he was bornTrue he takes along a new young woman who appears to be fond of him and goes to visit an old flame for whom he had sighed in vain twenty years before but he allows the two experiences to cancel each other out He visits his brother and sister in law in the old family home but he has become a virtual stranger to them Eventually he heads back to France alone towards an ending that might indicate a tiny movement of the glacier But it is too little too late Why should we connect with him when he seems unable to make lasting connections with anybody else?


  5. Jos Jos says:

    This is just my second novel by Peter Stamm but he might become my favorite contemporary author writing in German His stories are unexceptional the characters are average people experiencing everyday occurences But there are cracks in the surface The ordinary settled life is an illusion Behind the curtain unrest and dissatisfaction broods On a day like this any day the cracks will burst Here Andreas gives up his position as a teacher sells his apartment and starts on a journey to come to terms with his past specifically with an unresolved early love when an unspecified growth is discovered in his lungHis unbound lifestyle contrasts with those of his so called friends and his brother settled with families and obligations Neither their nor Andreas' life are drafted as desirable There's no ultimate solution to the ongoing search for happiness Most stopped to search or never searched at all Even when Andreas' apparent dream comes true it's not the end but just another start There's a zen like uality to the resolution the way is the reward Don't stop on the wayThis is a book I can relate to from an author who seems to think about the same things as I do who wrote this book when he was about my age The perfect book at the right time for my personal situation


  6. John John says:

    At first I was reminded of the main character in Night Train to Lisbon whom I liked Can't give this one three stars because I went from feeling neutral about Andreas here to not liking him much by the end Setting and description are well done but I guess it's a matter of lacking European sensibility rather than a translation issue I feel Not interested in reading by this author


  7. Megan Rowe Megan Rowe says:

    Well this book was very depressing but at the same I did enjoy itI appreciate the fact that Stamm set out to write a story and while accomplishing this also wrote about why we turn to stories He wrote about nostalgia in an extremely focused way that I appreciated and he was careful with his words1116 I had rated this 4 stars before but I changed it to 5 I cannot stop thinking about this book


  8. Cindy Leighton Cindy Leighton says:

    Everything would be much easier if you could see yourself as a victim he thought a victim of your childhood of fate of the people you had grown up among and finally too as victim of illness But in order to feel himself a victim he had to believe in the possibility of another better life Andreas believed in nothing but chance He loved the curious coincidences and repetitions that life threw up against all logic He loved the surprising patterns that came about in the sky or on a body of water or in the shade of a tree the continual tiny adjustments in the same overall context Nadia called in nihilism; his own word for it was modestyThis is exactly how this whole book goes you think it's going to be a pitiful sad story filled with regret about a man who has never married or had a family never really been in a committed relationship or even had a deep friend facing a possible fatal diagnosis and yet and yet it's just not that sad and pitiful It always turns Andreas seems to find enough joy enough meaning even as he contemplates a world in which no one will miss him in or even remember him in twenty years He is not terribly likeable not particularly nice to the women he has relations with but at some level endearingly honest and vulnerable I kept wanting to not like Andreas or to find the book boring but it just totally hooked me in Once again I am a total sucker for a well developed sense of place thoughtful language and a well developed reflective character Stramm delivers all of this


  9. Ben Ben says:

    I'm a fan of Peter Stamm's short stories especially the collection We're Flying and thought I'd try some longer fiction This novel reads uickly and feels almost like a long short story Andreas a teacher of German in a school outside Paris is floating through his life when he's caught unaware by a medical diagnosis Fearful of the results he opts to sever his connections with the school and his life and sets himself off on a course of reckoning with a past that's never been far from his thoughtsThe story's clear and engaging though it feels a little monotone It's hard to tell whether that's Andreas bleeding into the narrative or just Stamm's writing style in a longer piece I certainly felt infuriated by Andreas at points which I think we're meant to do but it's hard to get too excited about a middle aged man waffling over the decision to live his life or not The cover flap describes him as an anti hero and therein lies the key I suppose I'll have to give another Stamm novel a try next


  10. Kathy Gilbert Kathy Gilbert says:

    I think this author is better at writing short stories I read this book because of a collection of short stories contained in his book We're Flying I have Agnes and plan to read it but I hope it's better than On a Day Like This ODLT seemed to ramble on and switch characters in a way that wasn't really believable Others might like it but it wasn't my cup of tea


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An einem Tag wie diesem A new novel of artful understatement about mortality estrangement and the absurdity of life from the acclaimed author of Unformed Landscape and In Strange GardensOn 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; uits 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 uestion 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 possiblePraise 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