My approximate translation of this book by Peter Stamm, a Swiss-based German author I´ve read and reviewed last year, would be: The Gentle Indifference of the World (some may say ´sweet´ but I like ´gentle´ more anyway). As in the case of the previous book, the story is relatively simple, but part of a complex narrative: A man meets in Stockholm a woman with a similar name and looking the same with his ex-girlfriend many years back. This resemblance - a contribution to the Doppelgänger literature, with a contemporary touch - leads to a mixed intertwining between temporal junctions between past and present, fiction and reality.
Is this possible to repeat your life, or at least an episode of it?
The storyteller, a man called Christopher/Chris - in love with Magdalena/Lena - is a relatively successful author, or used to be once. Is the story he shares a piece of fiction inspired by his life, or is this a real story? And which story is in fact the real one, the first story of young love, or the latest one, when he meets the younger Doppelgänger ?
From the point of view of the questions asked and the narrative accomplishment(s), this book is much elaborated and therefore more interesting than the last one, about a man who suddenly leaves his family and wanders with no direction around his old residence and beyond. The topic in itself though, has the obsession of a man who cannot accept he was dumped by his girlfriend and compulsively ends up with someone looking alike, just to reiterate the happy moment that once was.
As right now I am reading a book, in German too, by a German writer, which deals also with the story of a man searching his own meaning, I will avoid to draw necessarily a conclusion. However, I can already see a pattern and I am not very impressed by the relative scarcity of imagination.
Rating: 3 stars