On a Day Like this: A Novel

Front Cover
Other Press, 2007 - Fiction - 229 pages
10 Reviews
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

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
2
4 stars
3
3 stars
4
2 stars
0
1 star
1

Review: On a Day Like This

User Review  - Goodreads

Loved it! Read full review

Review: On a Day Like This

User Review  - Goodreads

A very restrained book, with a narrator of deep feelings he keeps to himself. Since much of the book is about miscommunication, I feel as if something is lost in translating it to English. I wish I ... Read full review

About the author (2007)

Peter Stamm is the author of the novels Seven YearsOn a Day Like This, and Unformed Landscape, and the short-story collections We're Flying and In Strange Gardens and Other Stories. His prize-winning books have been translated into more than thirty languages. For his entire body of work and his accomplishments in fiction, he was short-listed for the Man Booker International Prize in 2013, and in 2014 he won the prestigious Friedrich Hölderlin Prize. He lives in Switzerland.
 
Michael Hofmann has translated the work of Franz Kafka, Joseph Roth, Peter Stephan Jungk, and many others. 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. In 2012 he was awarded the Thornton Wilder Prize for Translation by the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He lives in Florida and London.

Bibliographic information