Stephen Durrant's Reviews > Unformed Landscape

Unformed Landscape by Peter Stamm
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Feb 05, 2012

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Read in January, 2012

The prose of the Swiss writer Peter Stamm is as sparse and bleak as the northern Norwegian landscape in which this short novel takes place. "Unformed Landscape" is the story of Katherine, who has spent her life in this setting. The small fishing village in which she lives forms a tight community with all its good and bad. There is always companionship, someone with whom to share a drink or a bed; and, of course, everyone else in the village will soon know! Katherine finally makes her first trip south of the Artic Circle, a journey that reaches as far as Paris, where she tries less to discover a new cultural world than simply to find again a man for whom she feels an attraction. It doesn't work. Like a character from Sherwood Anderson, she is drawn back to the small town. It is an old story, but Stamm tells it well. And he wisely leaves it unresolved, however disquieting that may be.

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