After crafting this skilful and refined collection of short stories, Peter Stamm’s name deserves to be up there with great masters of the genre.
His magic lies in elevating the interior lives of his characters, everyday people going about their everyday business, into narratives about the very nature of life itself.
There is a moment of transformation in each of these sparkling gems of seemingly mundane stories – a man waiting for results of medical tests, a nursery worker deciding to take home a child whose parents are late in collecting him, a young couple moving in together, a tale of unrequited love.
When that happens, there really is a moment of take-off, as referenced by the title of the Swiss writer’s stories, translated here by Michael Hofmann.
His language cannot be faulted and his characters, for all their apparent subtlety, root in the mind. This thoughtful and thought-provoking collection deserves to be widely read.