Seven Years
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Seven Years

3.39 of 5 stars 3.39  ·  rating details  ·  522 ratings  ·  83 reviews
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 exha...more
ebook, 275 pages
Published March 22nd 2011 by Other Press (first published 1998)
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Well this is one of those novels that just makes me wonder if professional reviewers are completely fucking high – or if we even read the same book.

I thought the plot was tedious and oppressive, the characters deeply unlikeable, and the prose stylistically barren. I am giving it two stars because most of this is deliberate and therefore competently done – Stamm is apparently one of those writers who thinks that the best way to reflect the disorientation of the modern world is to write books tha...more
Accessible, seductive, sober, a style that is as direct and clean as a knife. There is a hint of layering and depth through references to Le Corbusier and Aldo Rossi, but these fizzle out and turn into little more than local colour, the protagonists have to make a living after all, and the boom and bust cycle in the building industry is a handy complication.
But will German speaking culture ever manage to shake off the fascination of dichotomies? Either or. Science or mysticism. Dionysus or Apol...more
mai ahmd

تدور هذه الرواية على لسان الشخصية الرئيسية وهو طالب في فن العمارة يتزوج من صديقة له تدرس معه سونيا مثال للفتاة الكاملة التي يحلم بها الرجال .. إيفونا تدخل على الخط وهي فتاة يتعرف عليها أليكس في مغامرة مشاغبة مع مجموعة من رفاقه فتصبح كلصقة على الجرح ..

إيفونا بولندية مهاجرة غير شرعية قبيحة كما يصفها الكاتب (وإن كان قد عدل عن ذلك في بعض المقاطع ) لا تملك أي سمة من سمات الجمال شخص يكاد يكون غير مرئي وهي بذلك تشكل النقيض من زوجته الفوضى التي تعيشها إيفونا المنساقة بلاأي حد تجاه إليكس تذكره بطفولته وح...more
La nueva novela publicada en España del suizo Peter Stamm, nos habla de esa clase media alta de europeos que lo tienen todo pero aun así no alcanzan la felicidad, algo que sí logran las clases bajas, inmigrantes sobre todo.

La historia de ‘Siete años’, ambientada en Munich, está narrada en primera persona por su protagonista, Alex, que se la está contando a Antje, una amiga suya y de su esposa, Sonja. De esta manera sabremos cómo llegaron a estar juntos Alex y Sonja, ambos arquitectos, que mantie...more
I was intrigued by the review of this book in New York Times and decided to read this Swiss writer. The book starts off rather well. Alex, an architect living in Munich, is married to Sonia, another architect and his university classmate, who is bright, driven, and very attractive. But he finds his marriage to be more like a project, with a never-ending series of milestones: build a house, build a business, become successful, make and raise a baby, etc. In college, he had a brief and meaningless...more
I think this was the easiest prose I've ever read in a book that was simultaneously pretty deep. I read it because a reviewer compared the author's work to Camus. Which was foolish, no one touches Camus. But it was a good book, an easy book in many ways and the characters were unusually credible. This is especially notable as they represent sorts of extremes in behavior (the mistress incapable of refusing, the wife orchestrating every aspect of her life, the husband claiming no responsibility or...more
I enjoyed this book very much, although, unlike, say, "Almondis", I was quite relieved to leave the world that had been created in the book when I finished the last page, as it was very oppressive and, at times, very uncomfortable to read. However, I think that this was certainly one of Stamm's aims when he wrote it.

This was a very literary novel - much more so than some of the others that I have read - and I really enjoyed exploring the themes and philosophies that were clearly entwined in the...more
most all have some sort of addiction, maybe it's to crafting gross macrame do-dads, or cigarettes, heroin, booze, sex, bacon, running, reading, spanking, getting spanked, love, happiness.....
but what if you were addicted to yourself? sure sure, an old greek tale, but really, what if, the only way you can be happy is to indulge in yourself, to your appetites, your sex, your love, to the utter length of screwing over your family, friends, colleagues, lovers, children? and then tell us the story ho...more
Friederike Knabe
Alex is caught between two women: one, Sonja, highly desirable, intelligent and independent, and Iwona, drab, quiet, uneducated and totally dedicated. Sonja makes him feel inadequate and constrained, with Iwona he feels confident and free. He is married to one, but cannot let go of the other ... In his recent novel, SEVEN YEARS, Swiss author Peter Stamm explores the complications of intimate human emotions and relationships, seen primarily from the perspective of the man in the middle. While at...more
After reading Peter Stamm’s brilliant ‘Unformed Landscape’ a week back, I thought I should read another Stamm book. I decided to read ‘Seven Years’. Here is what I think.

‘Seven Years’ is a story told in the first person by an architect called Alex. The story flits between two time periods – the present when Alex is married to Sonia and has a daughter called Sophie, and the past when Alex was still a student at university. Alex describes how his architectural career evolved since those times. He...more
Gosh, I'm not sure what to think of this book. I stuck with it largely because of a positive New Yorker review, but it took me a lifetime to read (partly because of my sleep situation with the two kids).

The rough storyline is that a man is married to a beautiful, ambitious, intelligent, successful woman, who is a bit sexually inhibited. He has an affair that he rekindles every few years with a woman who is almost her opposite. The story is told from his perspective, and it is supposed to be a s...more
In essence, Seven Years is about the universal search for happiness. To find it is not as easy as it seems. What constitutes happiness for one person (material wealth, fame, achievements in sport, to name a few things) could mean something entirely different to the next person. The title refers to the so-called "seven year itch", or the tendency to re-evaluate a relationship after a cycle of seven years. Hence, in this novel the quest for happiness implies finding lasting love.
The author paints...more
غير راغبة في الكتابة ... الموتيف نفسه لا يروقني ... لكن اتعاطف تماما مع ايفونا
Anna Maria Ballester Bohn
Wollte eigentlich vier Sterne vergeben, aber ich bin so knauserig in letzter Zeit. Nicht unbedingt mitreissend, und die Figuren gehen nicht ganz so in die Tiefe, wie ich es mir gewünscht hätte. Trotzedem schafft es Peter Stamm einer Geschichte, die uns eigentlich anwidern oder wenigstens langweilen sollte, Poesie und Licht zu geben, wie die Gebäude, die Alexander nur für sich entwirft. Einige Moment sind hart, aber die Zartheit - oder Zärtlichkeit - überwiegt. Dabei kommt nie Kitsch heraus. So m...more
I really wish there were half star ratings here. In the absence of that, I had to give this novel 4 stars. While I wasn't always drawn to picking it up, I really did enjoy the story. I like the author's style and the subject matter. It is so much more than the age old argument of why people have affairs, a subject that has been exhausted. Relationships are complex and marriage even more so. This author is not at all afraid. I appreciated that.
Catherine Woodman
There was not a person that I liked in this book--the male protagonist is involved sexually with a woman he doesn't not like or love, but he seems unable to stay away from her--he treats her poorly and she continues to pine for him. His wife sticks with him even when things go from bad to worse. This was a NYT notable book, which I totally don't agree with.
Ugh. Main character is thoroughly are all the other characters.
I have a difficult time relating to people who take zero responsibility for their own actions.
I get the whole existentialist angle, but it just doesn't work in this novel...ended up totally inspid instead.
Written in a simple manner. Much like reading a point-form report, haha. Through the events, the reader is made to ponder questions, which may or may not have answers in themselves.

The male protagonist is also portrayed as pretty weak/cowardly/unlikeable. But his weakness also helps us reflect on our own flaws.

What is love? Do you love A? Do you love B? Should you settle with someone for practicality reasons, or because it's what others expect of you, or for love itself? Is there such a thing...more
Written in the first person, the main character is this sullen / depressed guy who marries the perfect woman but doesn't love her and has an affair over the years with another woman that he never really said anything to. I kept expecting this book to get better but it didn't. He needed counseling. He and his wife needed counseling. He never vented to his friends about how he was feeling. And for those reasons, I didn't like this book -- unless the book is about opportunities lost. I would be int...more
Noor T
رواية جميلة
غريبه, تطرح اسئلة عميقه
عن النفس البشريه بين ماترغب وبين الطريق الذي عليها اتباعه
Seven Years features a variation on the topic of men having sex with women they are ashamed of being seen with. Here, it's Iwona, an unattractive wallflower whose distinguishing characteristics are her catholic upbringing in Poland and her unquestioning subjugation to Alex.

As there's no logical explanation to having sex with somebody you're ashamed of there's no explanation to Alex' behaviour as well. He's married with Sonja, an attractive, intelligent woman from a well-off background whom he me...more
Jeder mag seine eigene Meinung zu haben, und die möchte ich auch niemandem absprechen. Aber ich habe es satt, in Kritiken zu seinen Werken immer nur Gemecker über seinen Stil zu lesen. Inzwischen sollte doch klar sein, dass er nun einmal so schreibt - dafür muss man einfach nur ein wenig über ihn lesen -, und ich persönlich bin unsagbar dankbar dafür. Selten liest man so feinfühlige Geschichten, die von den Dramen im Kleinen zeugen. Zumindest scheint es so - eigentlich türmen sie sich hoch auf w...more
Rebecca H.
Seven Years is written in a distanced, emotionally-detached style while taking as its subject matter emotional detachment. It makes me wonder the extent to which those two things necessarily go together. Perhaps it is possible to write a heated, passionate novel about emotional coldness, but Seven Years is written in the first person from the point of view of someone who doesn’t know much about what he feels and wants, which makes a certain amount of detachment and distance in the writing inevit...more
Hat was und kratzt an den vier Sternen. Es trifft bestimmt etwas Wahres, wie Peter Stamm das Leben von Wohlstandsmenschen beschreibt, die eigentlich keine echten Probleme haben und gleichzeitig auch keine echten Gefühle. Der Ich-Erzähler Alex steht zwischen dieser Welt des Durchgeplanten, Sicheren und Erstarrten und der des in diesem Umfeld fast lächerlich wirkenden, weil durch nichts zu begründenden Gefühls. Repräsentantinnen dieser Gegensätze sind seine schöne, kluge, aus gutem Haus stammende...more
B.E. Scully
It’s tempting to summarize the plot of Peter Stamm’s Seven Years (as I began to do when I first sat down to write this review) as a rather grim exploration of a man’s obsessive affair with a woman he finds dull and unattractive, but who nonetheless provides him with an escape from the unfulfillment he feels about his successful career and seemingly “perfect” marriage. And yet the more time I spent thinking about this novel—which definitely desires, even demands, that readers do as much—the more...more
I read this novel in preparation for Peter Stamm’s event at the Edinburgh International Book Festival and it was the first book I had read by the author and I have got to say I was impressed. This was a very literary novel and was a good change of pace to what I had been reading at the time. I loved the philosophy that was intertwined throughout the narrative.

All the characters had obvious flaws in them that jumped out to me as a reader. personally I like to think that these flaws were purposely...more
One of those novels in which an attractive style of writing enables you to overcome your dislike of the main character and stick with it to the end. Of the two books I have read this week featuring characters trying to choose between their marriage and a past love, Stamm's was the one that felt like a more solid piece of literature that knew what it was trying to be. (The other was The Moment by English author Claire Dyer.)
Btissam Betty
رواية راقية المعاني بحمولة فلسفية مركزة ، تناقش أسس إختيار الانسان بين قناعاته الحقيقية وادعاء العقل من خلال قصة رجل أحب امرأتين الاولى خطط لحبها والثانية خططت لحبه وبين القدر وقرارات الانسان تنسج خطوط النفس ومستقبلها
Stamm's elegant prose perfectly captures the voice of a man torn between the sense that his life ought to be perfect and the certain knowledge that it is not. For this reason alone, the book was a pleasure to read.

If I had to level one criticism against Seven Years, it would be that the frame narrative strikes me as awkward and unnecessary. I was frequently lost as to the exact chronology of the scenes being described, and while I was always able to work out what was going on, I didn't always fe...more
I took this as the main character was living a life he was "supposed" to live and "supposed" to make him happy. Telling point: He realizes his parents would have liked the unattractive simple girl and "never warmed up to Sonia".....Sonia the perfect, cold, boylike, perfect, successful yet ultimately unfufilling woman of his "dreams", the one he was supposed to be happy with.

Not finished yet......but I think he's conflicted here with what he's supposed to do and supposed to make him happy versus...more
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Peter Stamm grew up in Weinfelden in the canton of Thurgau the son of an accountant. After completing primary and secondary school he spent three years as an apprentice accountant and then 5 as an accountant. He then chose to go back to school at the University of Zurich taking courses in a variety of fields including English studies, Business informatics, Psychology, and Psychopathology. During t...more
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“Du bist, was du liebst, nicht wer dich liebt. [...] Was ich damit sagen wolle? [...] Dass ein Mensch, der liebt, immer schon gewonnen hat, egal ob sich seine Liebe erfüllt oder nicht.” 4 likes
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