BookDragon Books for the Diverse Reader

The Sweet Indifference of the World by Peter Stamm, translated by Michael Hofmann [in Booklist]

Enigma? Wormhole? Mere coincidence? Once upon a time, writer Christophe and actor Magdalena shared a life together. Their relationship falls prey to art – “I had believed I had to decide between her and my writing” – and then Christophe pens a successful novel inspired by their parting.

Fast forward 20 years to Christophe and Lena, Magdalena’s virtual double, walking through Stockholm into the wee hours as Christophe attempts to convince Lena, an actor with a writer partner named Chris, that so much of what she’s lived and will live seems to be on repeat. As more details unfold, Christophe and Magdalena’s memories, beyond a few admitted “deviations,” of how they met, fell in love, and combined their lives are inexplicably in close sync with Chris and Lena’s experiences, never mind the two-decade difference in timing.

Man Booker International Prize finalist Peter Stamm (To the Back of Beyond, 2017), whose German original is adroitly translated by the award-winning Michael Hofmann, explores the timeless doppelgänger phenomenon through dual couples whose fleeting interactions engender intriguing questions about singularity and agency and confirm the impossibility of absolutely sure answers.

Review: “Fiction,” Booklist, November 1, 2019

Readers: Adult

Published: 2020 (United States)


No Comment

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.