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European Bookclub

Our next EU Book Club discussion, on Saturday, November 16, at the Istituto Italiano di Cultura (Suite 500 - 510 West Hastings Street, Vancouver), will focus on the novel “Seven Years”(Sieben Jahre) by Swiss author Peter Stamm (2009). It is available in English at Chapters (online or order it in store), both hardcopy and e-version. Also, the Swiss Consulate is offering free copies of the book (first-come, first-served).

Alex has spent the majority of his adult life between two very different women—and he can’t make up his mind. Sonia, his wife and business partner, is everything a man would want. Intelligent, gorgeous, charming, and ambitious, she worked tirelessly alongside him to open their architecture firm and to build a life of luxury. But when the seven-year itch sets in, their exhaustion at working long hours coupled with their failed attempts at starting a family get the best of them. Alex soon finds himself kindling an affair with his college lover, Ivona. The young Polish woman who worked in a Catholic mission is the polar opposite of Sonia: dull, passive, taciturn, and plain. Despite having little in common with Ivona, Alex is inexplicably drawn to her while despising himself for it. Torn between his highbrow marriage and his lowbrow affair, Alex is stuck within a spiraling threesome. But when Ivona becomes pregnant, life takes an unexpected turn, and Alex is puzzled more than ever by the mysteries of his heart. Peter Stamm, one of Switzerland’s most acclaimed writers, is at his best exploring the complexities of human relationships. Seven Years is a distinct, sobering, and bold novel about the impositions of happiness in the quest for love. (Text:

Peter Stamm is a Swiss novelist, short-story writer and radio dramatist, who has just turned 50. Like his father, he studied accountancy and worked for five years as an accountant. And although he has long since left that world, his characters, the New York Times once noted, “often act and think like book-keepers, calculating their experiences in terms of ratios and costs, gains and losses.” His cool and sparse writing style has been translated into English by Michael Hofmann. His best-known books are Unformed Landscape and, more recently, Seven Years. “Peter Stamm’s talent is palpable,” said the reviewer, Sarah Fay, in the New York Times. “But what makes him a writer to read, and read often, is the way he renders contemporary life as a series of ruptures. Never entirely sure of their position, his characters engage in a constant effort to establish their equilibrium.”

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