All days are night by Peter Stamm

 

All days are nights by Peter stamm

Swiss fiction

Original title – Nacht ist der tag

Translator – michaael Hofmann

source – library book

Have I said something wrong?
How can I know if you’re not going to speak to me?
There I am, in your eyes
And we’re only playing, but what am I saying?
Oh, what am I saying?
Oh, what am I saying?

Oh, there’s no one like you, no one like that now
There’s always some way that you could bring me down

Maybe it’s just that I fly too high, that the ground is hard
It always hurts me
When I fall over sideways and break out in sores and people start laughing
But it’s not what I’m into

I don’t expect you to know
I don’t expect you to

I’ve  choosen an old wedding present lyric as no one caught heart ache and bitterness better than David Gedge in his songs Gillian could been in one of his songs .

 

This the second book by Peter Stamm I have reviewed here, I reviewed Seven years two years ago and was blown away, but I then download his stories to my late kindle but never got to them so when looking for some ideas for this years German lit month I decide it was time to try another book by Peter Stamm. Stamm started out working at accounts then decide to return to university and studied subjects as varied as English , business and Psychology .He started in radio drama in the early 1990s and has written a number of novels stories and plays Since I last reviewed him he won the frank O’Connor short story prize and been on the man booker international list.

Half wake up then drift away. alternatively surfacing and lapsing back into weightlessness .Gillian is lying in water with a blue luminescence. Within it her body looks yellowish, but wherever it breaks the surface, it disappears into the darkness. The only light comes from the warm water lapping her belly and breasts, It feels oily, beading on her skin.She seems to be in an enclosed room, there is no noise, but she still has a sense of not being alone. Love is somewhere filling her up

The opening lines as she wakes up to what has happened to her .

All days and night is the story of a woman Gillian, she starts the book waking after a horrific crash after she had argued with her husband. He did in the crash leaving her with a broken life , broken body and worse of all in a way a broken face.The book follows her struggle to piece together her life together and also we see how the point at which the crash happened her pre crash life with her husband Mathias he was an editor and she was a presenter on tv , this is where she meet the man the caught the problem and why they had a drunken fight that lead to the crash Hubert is the man.He is an artist and took Nude pictures of her , that is what he does takes pictures of women naked at home and Mathias saw them which leads to the crash but why had she a problem with Hubert what part has he in her future ?

The day before the second operation, a sunday, Gillian visited her parents.She hadn’t seen then since the accident. When he mother opened the door and saw her, she turned aside and started crying.Her father stepped up and with an expression of annoyance pushed her mother out of the way

Come on in , he said

The new Gillian after the crash is to much for her mother .

This book has just the same feeling I had when I read seven years Stamm seems to be very good at cold characters, Gillian is a cold woman in a way her life is all face and scratch below that her life with mathias was all for show really. She was jut the face on tv her life had become a show really so when she loses nearly everything and everyone around her as she is now faceless looking for her old face but getting a new face and outlook. Yes Gillian is one of these woman who seems to have everything , but when it comes to that point of the crash what has she nothing for me that is what stamm captures so well in his prose a woman broken rebuilding herself but at the time she does the flaws of before are clear. Stamm has said all character are fiction even if based on real people such is the case her Gillian and mathias are a mix of characters but when you see them on the page you instantly know the sort as I would say .

Have you read Stamm

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The egghead republic by Arno Schmidt

The egghead republic by Arno Schimdt

German fiction

Original title –

Translated by Michael Horovitz

Source –  library book

 

“SDSS1416+13B (Zercon, A Flagpole Sitter)”

This is my job
I don’t come around and put out your red light
When you work

What’s the matter?
Didn’t you get enough attention at home?

If shit were music
La da da, la da da
You’d be a brass band

Know what?
You should get an agent, oh yeah, yeah
Why sit in the dark handling yourself

I choose a scott walker Lyric just for me he maybe is like Schmidt a one off unique mind .

I have been reading about the work Dalkey archive are doing to translate the Magnus opus from Arno Schmidt Zettels Dream which is a 1000 plus big book that is considered one of the best german books of the 20th century So Arno Schmidt is maybe a writer that most people haven’t heard of he is maybe the hidden gem of German literature his books didn’t sell greatly in his life but have grown over the years and through a foundation set up by his friend Jan Philipp Reetsma (a wealthy tobacco heir ) his works are getting new translations over time and republished Dalkey have already published some but this is actually an older translation from 1979.

 There: a zebroid-girl! : a black stripe parted her narrow impudent face down the middle, from her forehead down to the base of her throat: (bu tthen it slanted right, one white the other black, did that look elegant! And a mane of very coarse silver hair!)

One of the strange mutants seen by Charles waiting to enter the island on the western side in the US

Well The egghead republic maybe shows how unique Arno schmidt was it is a truely odd book .Well on the surface it follows a reporter visiting a man made island that has been filled with a group of selected genius in what is a republic of Artist and scienctist. The report Charles henry winter has fifty hours to discover what this “Egghead republic ” is all about.He has had to jump through hoops in what is the US after a nuclear war surrounded my mutants  .We see him trying to find out more about this strange island and the people that live their .As we see his thoughts and the answers is this really the paradise that it seems.

No! I must move on : I’m allowed in for 50 hours as a journalist; of which – oh, my god – 18 have already gone: really,I’ve nothing further to relate; and you are in the middle of your work; I only wanted to keep my promise!” shock his leastpainted elbow. And then, in the waker of Inglefield, into the posh residential quarter .

Charles finds time slipping through his hands on the island with nothing to show .

when I started this blog one of my goals as a reader was to find out the best writers around the world read and review them. But mainly for me to learn about different styles of fiction and what one can do with the form. Schimdt is one of those writers I had in mind at that time this book may from what I’ve  sound like is rather like a Jules Verne novel man made islands full of strange people is right up his street.You could also see a line from the novel Glass bead game which is about a community of intellectuals .There is also a real feel of the time when the book was written in the late 1950’s you jsut have to think of the culture of the time the start of the cold war fear of a second nuclear war , which as this book is set in the future has happened and the outcome that was imagined in many a b-movie of strange creatures appear is shown in the first part and the second part tries to show maybe what men can acheive .But even then the island is divide into east and west .The style of this book is statments almost spoken then the thought beghind it is  followed in a short  paragraph .I enjoyed my first dance with schmidt and really hope to get hold of Zettel’s traum when it comes out more about it here  from the english translator . The well known US translation blogger Michael Orthofer has written a book about Schmidt .A challenging read for my second German lit month book this year .

Have you read Arno Schmidt ?

 

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