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  • On A Day Like This
  • Written by Peter Stamm
    Translated by Michael Hofmann
  • Format: Trade Paperback | ISBN: 9781590514993
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  • On a Day Like This
  • Written by Peter Stamm
    Translated by Michael Hofmann
  • Format: Hardcover | ISBN: 9781590512791
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  • On A Day Like This
  • Written by Peter Stamm
    Translated by Michael Hofmann
  • Format: eBook | ISBN: 9781590514092
  • Our Price: $13.99
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Written by Peter StammAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Peter Stamm
Translated by Michael HofmannAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Michael Hofmann


List Price: $13.99


On Sale: February 23, 2010
Pages: 240 | ISBN: 978-1-59051-409-2
Published by : Other Press Other Press
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A new novel of artful understatement about mortality, estrangement, and the absurdity of life from the acclaimed author of Unformed Landscape and In Strange Gardens

On 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; quits 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 question 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 possible.

Praise 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
Peter Stamm

About Peter Stamm

Peter Stamm - On A Day Like This
Peter Stamm was born in 1963, in Weinfelden, Switzerland. He is the author of the novel, Agnes (1998), and numerous short stories and radio plays. He lives outside of Zurich.


“What Peter Stamm has done with this novel is recreate life in all of its quiet banality--this is art… Stamm's achievement isn't the mere weaving of a story, it's the report of a life in quiet crisis.” –Review of Contemporary Fiction
Discussion Questions

Discussion Guides

1. In the beginning, Andreas defines emptiness as “the normal state of things…nor was it anything he was afraid of–quite the opposite.” Do you agree with this definition? How does Andreas’s idea of emptiness change throughout the novel?

2. Why is Andreas so critical of everyone he knows? Is he equally critical of himself?

3. What prompts Andreas to flee the doctor’s office before he hears the results of his biopsy? In what ways might the story change if he knew whether he was ill or not?

4. What drives Delphine’s immediate attachment to Andreas despite his fickle treatment of her? Why does she accept his apologies without question?

5. Compare and contrast the women in Andreas’s life– Fabienne, Nadia, Sylvie, and Delphine. How are these women portrayed? Does Andreas genuinely care for any of them?

6. Look at the scene when Jean-Marc’s wife, Marthe, tells Andreas the tragic story of the great love of her life that never panned out. Why does Andreas envy Marthe’s love for Philippe? What is the difference between love and possession?

7. Examine several of the passages in which Andreas observes the monotonous and mundane details of everyday life. What themes can you draw from these descriptions?

8. After sneaking into his childhood home, now owned by his brother’s family, Andreas says, “It’s all gone now.” What is Andreas searching for by going back to his hometown? Why is he holding onto the past so tightly?

9. How does Andreas’s memory of Fabienne compare to reality when he finally meets her again? Does their difference in the way they remember their past make a more universal statement about the dangers of glorifying the past?

10. Andreas admits that “he sometimes wondered what life would be like if he had never left the village.” Do you think he regrets his decision to leave? What does this reveal about his character? What events cause him to continually question his choices?

11. From the beginning, Andreas hints that he and his brother are not close and fail to communicate. How is their visit to their father’s grave a catalyst for a greater understanding of each other?

12. In the last scene, Andreas unites with Delphine on a crowded beach and the novel ends with the sentence “Only the crashing of the waves was very near and held him.” How did you interpret this sentence and the final scene? Has Andreas completed his journey? Is he finally content?

  • On A Day Like This by Peter Stamm
  • April 12, 2011
  • Fiction - Literary; Fiction
  • Other Press
  • $15.95
  • 9781590514993

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