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.
“Seven Years is a novel to make you doubt your own dogma. What more can a novel do than that?” –Zadie Smith, Harper’s Magazine
“Stamm’s talent is palpable, 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.” –New York Times Book Review
“With a patient and impressive commitment to realism, this Swiss novel follows the course of a complicated, troubled marriage…Though Stamm pulls off a quietly spectacular plot twist halfway through the book, he never loses sight of the quotidian things that erode or transform relationships over time: an oddly personal disagreement about the merits of ‘Rain Man’, or the ‘piles of romance novels, Christian manuals, and Polish magazines’ that crowd a lover’s apartment.”–The New Yorker
“Stamm is a master of quietly deliberative stories. In Seven Years, as in the best of his work, he puts often simple-seeming character through extraordinary paces, all the more remarkable given the Carver-like restraint he exercises in his writing.” –Bookforum
“Ego, passion, and deception run wild, but the novel’s strength is found in the characters Stamm has created: powerfully imperfect, sometimes despicable, horribly conflicted, and always believable far beyond the archetypes that too often pop up in novels of marital ennui.” –Publishers Weekly
“Swiss novelist Stamm (Unformed Landscape) offers a classic love triangle that reads like a contemporary European version of Richard Yates’s Revolutionary Road… Readers looking for a highbrow page-turner will relish this quick read.” –Library Journal