Seven Years PDF/EPUB ß Paperback


    Seven Years PDF/EPUB ß Paperback long hours coupled with their failed attempts at starting a family get the best of them Alex soon finds himself kindling an affair with his college lover, Ivona The young Polish woman who worked in a Catholic mission is the polar opposite of Sonia dull, passive, taciturn, and plain Despite having little in common with Ivona, Alex is inexplicably drawn to her while despising himself for it Torn between his highbrow marriage and his lowbrow affair, Alex is stuck within a spiraling threesome But when Ivona becomes pregnant, life takes an unexpected turn, and Alex is puzzled than ever by the mysteries of his heart Peter Stamm, one of Switzerland s most acclaimed writers, is at his best exploring the complexities of human relationships Seven Years is a distinct, sobering, and bold novel about the impositions of happiness in the quest for love."/>
  • Paperback
  • 272 pages
  • Seven Years
  • Peter Stamm
  • English
  • 20 February 2017
  • 1590513940

10 thoughts on “Seven Years

  1. says:

    Well this is one of those novels that just makes me wonder if professional reviewers are completely fucking high or if we even read the same book I thought the plot was tedious and oppressive, the characters deeply unlikeable, and the prose stylistically barren I am giving it two stars because most of this is deliberate and therefore competently done Stamm is apparently one of those writers who thinks that the best way to reflect the disorientation of the modern world is to write books tha Well this is one of those novels that just makes me wonder if professional reviewers are completely fucking high or if we even read the same book I thought the plot was tedious and oppressive, the characters deeply unlikeable, and the prose stylistically barren I am giving it two stars because most of this is deliberate and therefore competently done Stamm is apparently one of those writers who thinks that the best way to reflect the disorientation of the modern world is to write books that hold everything at arm s length and relate all narrative in the same dull monotone He reminds me a little of Michel Houellebecq, although the papers prefer to make unwise comparisons with Camus Dialogue is stripped of quote marks and bunched together in single paragraphs for extra literary cred I asked her if she didn t want to call ahead to set up interviews, but she shook her head The best thing was just to drop by, once people saw you they hadtrouble saying no to you You mean your beauty will win them over She looked at me furiously That s mean, I can t help the way I look I said it could be worse, and laid my hands on her shoulders and pulled her against me, and now she hugged me and kissed me properly She asked if I d slept well I said, I dreamed about you That s not true, admit it.End paragraph Anthony Cummins of the Observer thinks this is a good way of keeping us on our toes Well I m as en pointe as the next reader, but the issue is not that it s confusing, it s that it s irritating and it makes everything tonally flat.It is possible to write about the cold, dead detachment of modern life in an engaging way JG Ballard does it, but that s because he writes sentences full of compressed wit and unusual simile Stamm s prose is described by fans as being sparse or economical or cool but the reality is that it s just extremely boring The New Statesman actually quotes the following as an example of his flair for the apparently innocent descriptive sentence that comes saturated in mental atmosphere Sometimes, when Sonia was in bed already, I would go for a walk down to the Academy, and sit by the shore and think about my life, and how it could have been different.Really That s a sentence we should be admiring ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME Sometimes, when Sonia was in bed already, I would go for a walk down to the Academy, and sit by the shore and think about my life, and how it could have been different I don t even know how to argue with someone who puts this forward as an example of great writing My two year old daughter s analysis of Frozen isprofound than this plodding description of one moron s trivial mid life crisis.The whole plot is in fact staggeringly banal a man is married to a gorgeous but inhibited woman and he has an affair with an ugly Polish immigrant because he can This is far from being merely another novelistic account of an affair , according to Toby Litt in the Guardian what helps it transcend this is one of the great characters of contemporary fiction , namely Ivona, the Polish Other Woman.I mean what The mind boggles Ivona is the opposite of a great character of contemporary fiction A useless character of historical biography, perhaps She says about three words in the entire novel, and is characterised wholly by her unmotivated and implausible adoration of our protagonist She is a symbol of lower class pathos with no personality of her own.Once again I found Michael Hofmann s translation just okay, with a few clunky moments Hilariously, Sarah Fay in the New York Times writes about Hofmann s conscientious translations, which even maintain the comma splices that occur regularly in German but appear as grammatical errors in English but because she has already decided this is a work of near genius, she concludes that this stylistic mis step must be a device that serves to illustrate the frailty of the characters perceptions Bullshit And if it were true, it would still be a mistake, since by her own argument it s an effect not present in the original.I am sick to death of these writers who think stylelessness is an acceptable style, and of these coolly distant novels that think emotional detachment is the best way to explain emotional detachment And I didn t even get around to mentioning the laboured architectural metaphors actually you know what, fuck it, I m downgrading this to one star Enough


  2. says:

    Accessible, seductive, sober, a style that is as direct and clean as a knife There is a hint of layering and depth through references to Le Corbusier and Aldo Rossi, but these fizzle out and turn into littlethan local colour, the protagonists have to make a living after all, and the boom and bust cycle in the building industry is a handy complication But will German speaking culture ever manage to shake off the fascination of dichotomies Either or Science or mysticism Dionysus or Apol Accessible, seductive, sober, a style that is as direct and clean as a knife There is a hint of layering and depth through references to Le Corbusier and Aldo Rossi, but these fizzle out and turn into littlethan local colour, the protagonists have to make a living after all, and the boom and bust cycle in the building industry is a handy complication But will German speaking culture ever manage to shake off the fascination of dichotomies Either or Science or mysticism Dionysus or Apollo Black or white Mind or body.So, Alex has two women The one he married is intellectual and prim, Kopfmensch, the one he doesn t is sensual and doglike in her loyalty Clearly neither relationship can work, who d have thought Hard to have the whole deal with half a woman Try again, Alex


  3. says:

    I think this was the easiest prose I ve ever read in a book that was simultaneously pretty deep I read it because a reviewer compared the author s work to Camus Which was foolish, no one touches Camus But it was a good book, an easy book in many ways and the characters were unusually credible This is especially notable as they represent sorts of extremes in behavior the mistress incapable of refusing, the wife orchestrating every aspect of her life, the husband claiming no responsibility or I think this was the easiest prose I ve ever read in a book that was simultaneously pretty deep I read it because a reviewer compared the author s work to Camus Which was foolish, no one touches Camus But it was a good book, an easy book in many ways and the characters were unusually credible This is especially notable as they represent sorts of extremes in behavior the mistress incapable of refusing, the wife orchestrating every aspect of her life, the husband claiming no responsibility or often even awareness of what he was doing, etc They might have been grotesques but for how totally fleshed out they were I don t usually love subtlety in writing, and Stamm s was nothing but however, it was basically flawless in the end The story was a parable about doing what you want and not ignoring red flags in your life that are telling you you re doing what someone else wants Again, easy but not shallow


  4. says:

    I was intrigued by the review of this book in New York Times and decided to read this Swiss writer The book starts off rather well Alex, an architect living in Munich, is married to Sonia, another architect and his university classmate, who is bright, driven, and very attractive But he finds his marriage to belike a project, with a never ending series of milestones build a house, build a business, become successful, make and raise a baby, etc In college, he had a brief and meaningless I was intrigued by the review of this book in New York Times and decided to read this Swiss writer The book starts off rather well Alex, an architect living in Munich, is married to Sonia, another architect and his university classmate, who is bright, driven, and very attractive But he finds his marriage to belike a project, with a never ending series of milestones build a house, build a business, become successful, make and raise a baby, etc In college, he had a brief and meaningless affair with Ivona, an illegal Polish immigrant, who is the opposite of his wife she s dull, uninteresting, unattractive, old fashioned, religious, and just weird After years of the strains of a demanding career and marriage, Alex sees Ivona again Unlike Sonia, Ivona offers unconditional love She makes no demands of Alex and has no plans for him Alex realizes that Ivona has a pull on him that he doesn t understand He s simultaneously fascinated and disgusted by his desire for her.And then the novel spirals down into an all around uncertainty and disappointment Feelings are left unresolved Everyone is to some degree cruel to everyone in a self justified and guiltless way If the novel intended to explore the complexities of human relationships, the only thing that it delivers is our failure to understand ourselves and each other


  5. says:

    I enjoyed this book very much, although, unlike, say, Almondis , I was quite relieved to leave the world that had been created in the book when I finished the last page, as it was very oppressive and, at times, very uncomfortable to read However, I think that this was certainly one of Stamm s aims when he wrote it.This was a very literary novel muchso than some of the others that I have read and I really enjoyed exploring the themes and philosophies that were clearly entwined in the I enjoyed this book very much, although, unlike, say, Almondis , I was quite relieved to leave the world that had been created in the book when I finished the last page, as it was very oppressive and, at times, very uncomfortable to read However, I think that this was certainly one of Stamm s aims when he wrote it.This was a very literary novel muchso than some of the others that I have read and I really enjoyed exploring the themes and philosophies that were clearly entwined in the narrative it made me feel like a literature undergrad again but without the hangover and dodgy velvet waiscoats At no point, however, did I feel that the book was overly self conscious or pompous in its exploration of these things in particular Absurdism and Existentialism but that Stamm was able to breathe new life into these philosophies and relate them to amodern context I also loved the sparse, at times terse, narrative Again, this didn t seems contrived, as it often did in the owl book sorry, chemo taking its toll on the memory as well as the hair , nor was it overly poetic i.e verbose but there was a definite poetry to the narrative, which hugely complemented the themes of the book and was a pleasure to read Stamm really is a masterly writer.Sothemes and stuff Apologies if all this sounds a bit much but I really got into thinking about the themes in this book and making links between different parts of the novel and stuff that I vaguely remembered about literary theory at college I had to take refuge in wikepedia on many an ocassion in order to fully remember and or understand some of the things theory but it was great fun.The first thing I noticed about this book was that the narration reminded me very much of Albert Camus existentialist Absurdist novel L Etranger of The Outsider as it s called in translation If you haven t read this book, I would highly recommend it Then on the back of Seven Years I noticed a review for one of his other novels which said If Albert Camus had lived in an age when people in remote Norwegian fishing villages had email, he might have written a novel like this which is one of the best one line review I ve ever read I think that in this book, Stamm is revising Absurdism and Existentialism and setting the philosophy in a modern context Camus was one of the founders of Absurdism and then also used Existentialism as a way of looking at life, the maning of life, and how this related to human relationships Absurdism is the conflict between the human tendency to seek inherent value and meaning in life and the human inability to find any and Existentialism states that the starting point of philosophical thinking must be the experiences of the individual and that authenticity is the key to this which means being true to one s own personality, spirit or character Both of these movements sprang up in France after the Second World War, mainly as a reaction to the horros of the war and the devastation it had caused I don t think it s any coincidence that the book is set partly in Marseille and that Sonia s mentor is called Albert.I think that all of the characters in the book apart from, crucially, Ivona and perhaps Antje are suffering from the Absurdist conflict When they are on the awful minibreak that culminates in him telling Sonia about Ivona s pregnancy, Alex says They all seemed to be playing a game, and observing themselves and one another There are many references in the novel to the middl class, beautiful people seeming to be tense, at odds with themsleves and playing at social conventions There are always name cards and a protocol to be followed when at the lakeside houses and when the young people meet after graduation, Alex observes that they are playing at being adults HE seems to be the only character who can see this he completely understands the Absurdist tension, and as such he behaves in what seems to be a morally despicable way Antj says You behave like a swine, and then you blame your inner beast Parts of thi novel are very uncomfortable to read i.e when he makes Ivona go to the toilet in front of him, when he seems to rape her, despite her obvious distress, when he leaves his littel girl in the house on her own, and yet he always manages to justify hhis behaviour to himself He seems to follow no moral code the only code he is following is moral Absurdism i.e if you believe that life is essentially meaningless, then all moral codes are also meaningless Sonia seems to be different and yet I think that she is unconsciously following the same path, she just isn t as aware of it as Alex, or perhaps she is so uncomfortable with it that she doesn t articulate it as openly She seems to be a very emotionless character despite all the wrongs Alex puts on her, I didn t feel sorry for her at all Also, when she quotes Hermann Hesse s philosophy early in the novel, you feel that her ability to do this and like his philosophy, gives her a sinister edge At the end of the book, we find out that Sonia hasn t been comfortable in the world we think is hers and that she has been playing at being a wife and mother for 3 years, just as clinically as Alex has at times played at being the devoted husband I loved his treatment of the Absurd in this novel.The theme of animals in the book also interested me Antje s horrible paintings are a pivotal part of the narrative Sonia is a domesticated guinea pig, although I don t think she s domesticated she sof a robot Alex is a swine and he thinks that Ivona isn t domesticated at all shes has something wild about her In an Absurdist way, Ivona is yet another mad woman in the attic , a modern version of the Jane Eyre madwoman Instead of having bulging eyes and throbbing veins, however, she has folds of skin hiding rows of moles, a soft, almost unctuous body, vilely attractive, silently and subconsciously sexy, at odds with the modern view of feminine beauty She is other Her coolection of kitsch, her deeply held religious beliefs, her huge appetite, her autism, all make her other in a very modern way I love the way Stamm has updated the madwoman figure She is so agin all modern ideas of femininity that she has become an animal and a wild one.The other theme I enjoyed was architecture something I know nothing about and I enjoyred reading the quotes and the discussions in the novel about space and how it affects human relations It s interesting that Alex loves the old fashioned, ordinary Aldo Rossi, compared to Sonia s love of Le Corbusier, an architect whom Alex feels patronises the masses and want to turn everyone into an ideal man Corbusier has a philanthropic approach, a clear reason for design an Absurdist Alex dosn t like it He quotes Rossi as saying Every room contains an abyss certainly every situation he find himself has something deeply abysmal about it Ivona s complete messiness and love of all things useless and ugly directly contrasts with the middle class architects theoretical debates again, she is other Corbusier s qoute at the start of the novel feels like the central premise of the narration Light and shadow reveal form The book does not pass moral judgement, nor does any character seems to feel any remorse, the narrator simply reveals the form of each person, their dark and light It s interesting that Antje says that passionate love, or amour fou, is an inferior form of love If a cultivated person starts acting like a madman, that is humiliating and a sign of immaturity In this story, noone seems to be madly in love and yet there is a lot of madness.Finally, I wondered whether the book was in part an allegory about the rich, cultivated, sophisticated West and the unexplored, other Eastern European culture, suddenlyexposed and perhaps threateningly nearer due to the collapse of the Berlin Wall Alex s treatement of Ivona and her unwavering stoicism seemed very symbolic of the conflict between East and West


  6. says:

    After reading Peter Stamm s brilliant Unformed Landscape a week back, I thought I should read another Stamm book I decided to read Seven Years Here is what I think Seven Years is a story told in the first person by an architect called Alex The story flits between two time periods the present when Alex is married to Sonia and has a daughter called Sophie, and the past when Alex was still a student at university Alex describes how his architectural career evolved since those times He After reading Peter Stamm s brilliant Unformed Landscape a week back, I thought I should read another Stamm book I decided to read Seven Years Here is what I think Seven Years is a story told in the first person by an architect called Alex The story flits between two time periods the present when Alex is married to Sonia and has a daughter called Sophie, and the past when Alex was still a student at university Alex describes how his architectural career evolved since those times He also describes how he fell in love with the two women in his life, his wife Sonia and a Polish woman, Ivona Alex and Sonia have been friends since childhood and their relationship evolvesor less naturally with some hiccups But Alex himself doesn t understand how he got attracted to Ivona, because by his own estimate, she is poor, unsophisticated, is an illegal immigrant, is too religious, is silent most of the time, is not educated or talented in any way Sonia s friend Antje is visiting and the past part of the story is mostly told by Alex to Antje with Sonia not present when the storytelling is in progress Seven Years can be called a story of a love triangle It can also be called a novel on architecture In between the triangle love story, Alex describes his thoughts on architecture in some beautiful passages Peter Stamm s spare prose is perfect as always Most of the characters in the book were complex with flaws and that made the story very interesting and real My favourite character in the book was Ivona she is complex and flawed in her own way, but has a childlike simplicity too which probably makes her the character who finds the most happiness, inspite of the difficult situation she is in I couldn t resist comparing Seven Years with Unformed Landscape I discovered that they were written nearly a decade apart and so the author and his writing style and the topics he would have been interested in would have evolved in that period Giving allowance to such things, I feel that though Seven Years was good, Unformed Landscape was brilliant Because I remember when I finished reading Unformed Landscape , I refused to let go off the book and carried it around for a couple of days, browsing it and reading my favourite passages again and again and refusing to pick up another book That rarely happens to me It is still there on the top of my book pile waiting to be re read I didn t feel the same way about Seven Years Of course, the problem is mostly with me, because after reading Unformed Landscape I was expecting a similar book in Seven Years But Seven Years is not like that It is a good book It is worth a read But in my opinion Unformed Landscape is betterdazzling,brilliant andbeautiful.I loved the cover of the edition of Seven Years I read It had two parts a translucent dust jacket which had the title and the author s and translator s names The cover image was on the actual cover which was visible through the translucent dust cover Both of them together created a beautiful effect This is probably not a new idea for cover designers, but this is new to me I loved it If you like complex love stories with an architectural backdrop, you will love Seven Years I will leave you with some of my favourite passages from the book I thought about my new blueprint It must be possible to create space that would allow feelings, that would enable and communicate the sort of freedom and openness I was thinking of I envisaged lofty transparent halls, open staircases, the play of light and shade I wasn t quite sure whether I was awake or dreaming, but all at once I saw everything before me, clear and distinct.I had reckoned I would get sick of Ivona sooner or later, and get rid of her, but even though the sex with her interested me less and less, and sometimes we didn t sleep together at all and just talked, I couldn t shake her off It wasn t pleasure that tied me to her, it was a feeling I hadn t had since childhood, a mixture of freedom and protectedness It was as though time stood still when I was with her, which was precisely what gave those moments their weight Sonia was a project We wanted to build a house, we wanted to have a baby, we employed people, we bought a second car No sooner had we reached one goal than the next loomed into sight, we were never done Ivona on the other hand seemed to have no ambition She had no plans, her life was simple and regular She got up in the morning, had breakfast, went to work If it was a good or a bad day depended on certain little things, the weather, some kind words in the bakery or in one of the houses where she cleaned, a call from a friend with whom she had a drink after work or went to the movies When I was with her, I participated in her life for an hour and forgot everything, the pressure of time, my ambition, the problems on the building sites Even sex became completely different I didn t have to make Ivona pregnant, I didn t even have to make her come She took me without expectations and without claims Sometimes I fished out my old papers, projects I had worked on in college, competition entries from the time we started the business Most of it looked alarmingly banal to me But in the drawings I still sensed something of my mood in those years, my determination to go new ways Nothing was sacred to me then, and nothing seemed impossible For all the limitations of the work, there was a kind of truthfulness in it, a freshness that our current designs no longer had I could understand architects like Boull e, who eventually turned into draftsmen pure and simple, without ever craving to see one of their designs realized It was only in the fictive world of plans and sketches that you were free to do everything the way you wanted I started drawing in the evenings, usually oversize interiors, empty halls with dramatic light effects, sacral buildings, labyrinths, and subterranean complexes.Have you read Peter Stamm s Seven Years What do you think about it


  7. says:

    This is a novel that says isn t human desire odd and unpredictable, and isn t it a little disappointing too Or it s a novel about a guy who marries a woman he doesn t love, and the stuff that happens when that happens Sure Sonia s beautiful, but her ambition and non existent sense of humour are a major hard off Ivonna is kind of great though, she felt real and tragic and pathetic, and she is what makes this novel weird andinteresting than it sounds Peter Stamm isn t trying to write lik This is a novel that says isn t human desire odd and unpredictable, and isn t it a little disappointing too Or it s a novel about a guy who marries a woman he doesn t love, and the stuff that happens when that happens Sure Sonia s beautiful, but her ambition and non existent sense of humour are a major hard off Ivonna is kind of great though, she felt real and tragic and pathetic, and she is what makes this novel weird andinteresting than it sounds Peter Stamm isn t trying to write likeable characters praise the lord , but he s not NOT trying to write likeable characters either, just real ones if you re one of those charmers that complain about books not having characters they can relate to, would you even recognise your dirty selfish self in a book Huh Stamm s not afraid of you This isn t a novel about passion, but it is kind of about lust and how the things that we desire are elusive and our reasons for going after them complex, oh and it s about failed dreams too, and how everything gets compromised with age la la la If you like it minimal, this is for you aesthete


  8. says:

    most all have some sort of addiction, maybe it s to crafting gross macrame do dads, or cigarettes, heroin, booze, sex, bacon, running, reading, spanking, getting spanked, love, happiness..but what if you were addicted to yourself sure sure, an old greek tale, but really, what if, the only way you can be happy is to indulge in yourself, to your appetites, your sex, your love, to the utter length of screwing over your family, friends, colleagues, lovers, children and then tell us the story ho most all have some sort of addiction, maybe it s to crafting gross macrame do dads, or cigarettes, heroin, booze, sex, bacon, running, reading, spanking, getting spanked, love, happiness..but what if you were addicted to yourself sure sure, an old greek tale, but really, what if, the only way you can be happy is to indulge in yourself, to your appetites, your sex, your love, to the utter length of screwing over your family, friends, colleagues, lovers, children and then tell us the story honestly, deadpanily, with cringe making this could be you me peter stamm writes a story about that guy but really it could be anybody and you might not ever know they were an addict, until they screw you too


  9. says:

    I really wish there were half star ratings here In the absence of that, I had to give this novel 4 stars While I wasn t always drawn to picking it up, I really did enjoy the story I like the author s style and the subject matter It is so muchthan the age old argument of why people have affairs, a subject that has been exhausted Relationships are complex and marriage evenso This author is not at all afraid I appreciated that.


  10. says:

    I had big expectations for this but it was monotone, the characters had no vibrancy note even one of them and the story of guy s conflicting lusts didn t compel me Still, the prose was decent and it would beof a three if it had spoken to me at least a tiny bit But now I don t even like Munich.


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Seven Years[PDF / EPUB] Seven Years Alex has spent the majority of his adult life between two very different women and he can t make up his mind Sonia, his wife and business partner, is everything a man would want Intelligent, gorgeous, Alex has spent the majority of his adult life between two very different women and he can t make up his mind Sonia, his wife and business partner, is everything a man would want Intelligent, gorgeous, charming, and ambitious, she worked tirelessly alongside him to open their architecture firm and to build a life of luxury But when the seven year itch sets in, their exhaustion at working long hours coupled with their failed attempts at starting a family get the best of them Alex soon finds himself kindling an affair with his college lover, Ivona The young Polish woman who worked in a Catholic mission is the polar opposite of Sonia dull, passive, taciturn, and plain Despite having little in common with Ivona, Alex is inexplicably drawn to her while despising himself for it Torn between his highbrow marriage and his lowbrow affair, Alex is stuck within a spiraling threesome But when Ivona becomes pregnant, life takes an unexpected turn, and Alex is puzzled than ever by the mysteries of his heart Peter Stamm, one of Switzerland s most acclaimed writers, is at his best exploring the complexities of human relationships Seven Years is a distinct, sobering, and bold novel about the impositions of happiness in the quest for love.


About the Author: Peter Stamm

Peter Stamm grew up in Weinfelden in the canton of Thurgau the son of an accountant After completing primary and secondary school he spent three years as an apprentice accountant and then as an accountant He then chose to go back to school at the University of Zurich taking courses in a variety of fields including English studies, Business informatics, Psychology, and Psychopathology During this time he also worked as an intern at a psychiatric clinic After living for a time in New York, Paris, and Scandinavia he settled down in as a writer and freelance journalist in Zurich He wrote articles for, among others, the Neue Z rcher Zeitung, the Tages Anzeiger, Die Weltwoche, and the satirical newspaper Nebelspalter Since he has belonged to the editorial staff of the quarterly literary magazine Entw rfe f r Literatur He lives in Winterthur.