- Pedido anticipado
A new story collection from “one of Europe’s most exciting writers” (New York Times Book Review) deftly evokes and explores the shifts that occur when the world grows dark.
Snowed in at a remote artists’ residency in Vermont, Peter recalls another Christmas some thirty years earlier, when he met Marcia by chance on a trip to New York City. Only now, in this eerie, isolated place, does he begin to see the consequences of their brief affair through a series of connections.
When Hubert asks Sabrina to model for a sculpture, she’s flattered and happy to help. But facing the finished product, looking at herself from previously hidden angles, disturbs her, and she becomes determined to follow her double after it’s sold to a collector.
Uneasy in his own skin and with the humdrum life set out for him, David decides to rob a bank. He already has a mask for the purpose, but won’t be using it today. He’s heard that bank robbers often study the scene for weeks before they strike. So he’s started to lurk.
We think we know our world, but then the familiar suddenly turns strange, and even frightening. In these powerfully affecting, minutely constructed stories, Peter Stamm illustrates how fragile our reality really is, how susceptible to tricks of the heart and mind.
The dozen stories in this introspective and gloomy collection from Stamm (The Sweet Indifference of the World) all have a latent uneasiness to them, making the reader turn the pages both quickly and apprehensively. Standout stories build within this tense atmosphere either by revisiting characters' potentially fateful decisions made in the past as in "Marcia from Vermont," where a stay at an artists colony triggers questions about an open sexual relationship 32 years earlier, and "The Woman in the Green Coat," in which a retired surgeon remembers a young patient with Munchausen syndrome or by watching as they unfold in real time, as in "Sabrina, 2019," in which a model becomes obsessed with a sculpture of herself, following it from gallery to owner. The title story features a police officer investigating reports of squatters high in the Alps, where she spent summers growing up. While some of the stories feel a bit tiresome in their fulfillment of male fantasies, such as the saccharine "First Snow" and the creepy "My Blood for You," the latter of which concerns a 60-year-old man's relationship with a teenage intern named "Beautiful," Stamm effectively sustains a dark mood. The author's short novels are a bit more satisfying, but there is plenty here to appreciate.