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Seven Years Paperback – March 22, 2011
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Top Customer Reviews
When Alex first meets Ivona (a Polish Catholic who lives in a dorm and works in a book store) he isn't attracted to her. He thinks she's dumpy and boring, but as he walks her home he begins to feel an intense desire for her. Ivona is instantly in love with Alex but won't permit their relationship to become intimate until much later. Alex sees Ivona again during his engagement to Sonia and again after they marry. The lives of Alex, Sonia, and Ivona become complicated in another respect, but I don't want to provide any further details for fear of giving away the story.
While Seven Years held my interest, I failed to form an emotional or intellectual connection to the story or characters. The puzzle in Seven Years is Alex's seemingly uncontrollable desire for Ivona, a woman who in many ways repulses him. Since Sonia shows little passion for Alex it might be understandable if he turned to Ivona to meet that need, but Ivona displays even less passion than Sonia. What Ivona provides is unconditional devotion. Alex derives a feeling "of freedom and protectedness" from Ivona; she expects nothing from him, relieving him of the pressure to meet another person's needs. His life with her is an alternate reality, one that he can visit or leave as he chooses.Read more ›
The story does not even focus on that particular seven-year mark, but is a series of reminiscences, each about seven years apart, stretching back for 21 years in all, to around the time of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Most of its action takes place in Munich, where Alexander and Sonia meet as students. An old friend who had been partly responsible for bringing the two of them together asks Alexander how they are doing. His answers over the next day or so take up most of the book, as he confesses his dithering between Sonia and Ivona before his engagement and his comparatively rare encounters after that time. Much of his story is not about Ivona at all, but concerns their marriage and the growth of their architectural firm, which at its height had over twenty employees. It is a world I happen to know, and Stamm captures it well.Read more ›
When the novel begins, Alexander has become a reasonably successful architect, especially since he teamed up in life and work with Sonja, his brilliant and ambitious friend from student days. Born into a modest family background, he lacks the confidence of some of his friends, who come from well-to-do families and exude self-assurance and behave accordingly. Sonja's family tends to look down on Alex, making him feel inferior and inadequate, despite his efforts to please and fit in.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Seven Years by Peter Stamm is the most unrelentingly depressing novel I have ever read.
This is a novel of ordinary, basically good middle-class people living in Munich... Read more
Just a very good book. Different from what one normally sees.Published on July 15, 2014 by MelissaG
Uninteresting characters, depressing plot (what there was of it) unsatisfactory ending....no more Peter Stamm for me! I do NOT recommend it.Published on March 30, 2014 by Kathleen Meehan
Read "Unformed Landscape" because of this. Sentences flow elegantly inviting the reader to want more and more, while disturbing truths come out of this sad story.Published on March 18, 2014 by CHRISTOPH KOVACSICS
2 1/2 stars.
This seems to me the sort of book that might if written in English have been a Booker Prize or National Book Award nominee: middle-brow, mid-market, and... Read more
My introduction to Peter Stamm's work was the story "Sweet Dreams," published in the New Yorker in May, 2012. Read morePublished on July 24, 2013 by Brad Richard
Fresh, inventive, insightful -- wonderful prose; untriguing plot and well-portrayed characters picture love, lack of it, angst, and humor, and show us where to look to find comfort... Read morePublished on February 26, 2013 by Mary Watson
i am a late night reader most of the time and i didn't want to give it up and go to bed.i turned the light out and turned it back on to read some morePublished on January 30, 2013 by mary-ann walker
This is shocking hard work; imagine Camus's L'Etranger without the passion (joke). Why should we care about the protagonist one way or the other - what a creep, though! Read morePublished on September 25, 2012 by Simon Barrett 'Il Penseroso'