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 more 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.
Peter Stamm was born in 1963, in Weinfelden, Switzerland. He is the author of the novels Unformed Landscape and On a Day Like This, and numerous short stories and radio plays. His prize-winning books have been translated into more than thirty languages. He lives outside of Zurich.
“Seven Years is a novel to make you doubt your own dogma. What more can a novel do than that?” —Zadie Smith, Harper’s Magazine
“Stamm’s talent is palpable, but what makes him a writer to read, and
read often, is the way he renders contemporary life as a series of
ruptures. Never entirely sure of their position, his characters engage
in a constant effort to establish their equilibrium.” —New York Times Book Review
“Stamm’s cleverness is to align a spareness that works in translation
with his characters’ instinctive fear of all things rich and intense.
Lean as it is, his prose is wonderfully ‘literary’ in its fine
integration of voice and story. The constant disorientation of his
characters, their sense that their lives are interchangeable with any
number of other lives, seem peculiarly suited to this era of
globalization.” —The New York Review of Books
“With a patient and impressive commitment to realism, this Swiss
novel follows the course of a complicated, troubled marriage…Though
Stamm pulls off a quietly spectacular plot twist halfway through the
book, he never loses sight of the quotidian things that erode or
transform relationships over time: an oddly personal disagreement about
the merits of ‘Rain Man’, or the ‘piles of romance novels, Christian
manuals, and Polish magazines’ that crowd a lover’s apartment.” —The New Yorker