Stamm, Peter 1963-
Stamm, Peter 1963-
Born 1963, in Weinfelden, Switzerland. Education: Studied at University of Zürich; graduated from business school.
Home—Winterthur, Switzerland. Agent—Liepman AG, Maienburgweg 23, Postfach, 8044 Zurich, Switzerland. E-mail—[email protected]
Writer, journalist, playwright, satirist, editor, and accountant. Worked as an accountant in Paris, France, and New York, NY; freelance writer in Switzerland, 1990—.
Rauris Literary Prize, 1999, for Agnes.
Alles über die Männer, Nebelspalter-Verlag, 1995.
Gotthard—Steinerne Seele der Schweiz, AS-Verlag (Zurich, Switzerland), 1997.
Agnes (novel), Arche Verlag (Zurich, Switzerland), 1999.
Blitzeis: Erzählungen (short stories), Arche Verlag (Zurich, Switzerland), 1999.
Warum wir Vor der Städt Wohnen, 1999.
Ungefähre Landschaft (novel), Arche Verlag (Zurich, Switzerland), 2001, published as Unformed Landscape, translated by Michael Hoffman, Handsel Books (New York, NY), 2004.
In Fremden Gärten, Arche Verlag (Zurich, Switzerland), 2003, published as In Strange Gardens and Other Stories, translated by Michael Hoffman, Other Press (New York, NY), 2006.
Der Kuss des Kohaku (plays), Arche Verlag (Zurich, Switzerland), 2004.
An Einem Tag Wie Diesem: Roman (novel), S. Fischer (Frankfurt am Main, Germany), 2006.
Ich und die Anderen, 1991.
Die Nacht der Gewohnheiten, 1993.
In Vitro, 1994.
Der Letzte Autofahrer, 1995.
Bildnis eines Knaben mit Peitsche, 1996.
Nachtkampf oder die Kunst des Tee-Wegs, [Basel, Switzerland], 1999.
Was wir können, 2002.
Author's works have been translated into twenty languages. Published plays include Die Planung des Plans (monologue), Verlag Hartmann & Stauffacher; Après Soleil, Verlag Hartmann & Stauffacher; and Die Töchter von Taubenhain, Verlag Hartmann & Stauffacher. Also author of radio plays for Radio DRS1, DRS1, Radio Bremen, WDR, and SWR.
Contributor to anthologies. Contributor to periodicals, including Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Tages-Anzeiger, Weltwoche, and Nebelspalter. Editor of journal Entwürfe für Literatur, 1997-2000.
Writer, journalist, and satirist Peter Stamm is a Swiss author who writes in German. A freelance journalist for a number of German periodicals, Stamm is also the author of several radio and stage plays.
Kathrine, the main character of Stamm's novel Unformed Landscape, is a young, divorced mother living in the village of Batsfjord in the far north of Norway, above the Arctic Circle. In this bleak and remote village, the residents labor at tedious and dangerous jobs, mostly in the fishing industry. Kathrine works as a customs inspector in charge of the fishing boats that dock at the village. She has never been south of the Arctic Circle, and she feels stifled by her existence in a land where it is dark six months of the year, always cold, and perpetually bracketed by dense snowfalls. Kathrine lives with her small son from her unsuccessful marriage. As the story progresses, she meets and marries Thomas. At first, he seems to be a fine new husband, but his cold and controlling ways eventually manifest themselves when he tries to take total command of Kathrine's life. Worse, his family offers her no help and turns solidly against her. Soon, she cannot take his meddling, and she boards a boat and sails away, leaving both her husband and son behind. Disconnected from home and heritage, Kathrine eventually returns to her village, wiser for her travels, but unable to find a place for herself anywhere else in the world. Readers "are drawn into Kathrine's world and can almost feel her struggles to grow up," commented Whitney Scott in Booklist.
In Strange Gardens and Other Stories is a collection of twenty short stories showcasing an "ill-fitting assortment of emotionally shallow characters moving through similarly textureless locales," observed a Publishers Weekly critic. Many of the stories "involve love that fails or a despairing plea for help or solace that goes unanswered," observed a contributor to Kirkus Reviews. The protagonist of "Like a Child, Like an Angel," a wealthy Swiss accountant, neglects to answer a letter from an impoverished colleague who asks for help buying a costly medical treatment he needs for his wife. "What We Can Do" tells of an embarrassing, abortive attempt at romance between two office workers. In "Black Ice," tuberculosis victim Larissa gratefully relates her life story to a visiting journalist, revealing in the process that no one, not even her husband, has come to see her in months. In perusing the stories, the reader visits a "literary purgatory where a throng of dispirited characters cling to a comfortless bare rock of prose," noted a Kirkus Reviews writer. The Publishers Weekly writer concluded that "Stamm derives his narrative power from absence and void."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, March 1, 2005, Whitney Scott, review of Unformed Landscape, p. 1143.
Kirkus Reviews, January 15, 2005, review of Unformed Landscape, p. 81; April 1, 2006, review of In Strange Gardens and Other Stories, p. 322.
Library Journal, April 1, 2005, Janet Evans, review of Unformed Landscape, p. 89.
Publishers Weekly, December 12, 2005, review of In Strange Gardens and Other Stories, p. 35.
Times Literary Supplement, April 21, 2000, Peter D. Smith, review of Agnes, p. 23.
World Literature Today, June 22, 2002, Robert Schwarz, review of Ungefahre Landschaft, p. 121.
Metroactive,http://www.metroactive.com/ (June 7, 2006), Richard von Busack, review of In Strange Gardens and Other Stories.
New Books in German,http://www.new-books-in-german.com/ (August 10, 2007), review of Agnes; review of Rough Country.
PEN American Center Web site,http://www.pen.org/ (August 10, 2007), biography of Peter Stamm.
Peter Stamm Home Page,http://www.peterstamm.ch (August 10, 2007).