cover image All Days Are Night

All Days Are Night

Peter Stamm, trans. from the German by Michael Hofmann. Other Press, $23.95 (192p) ISBN 978-1-59051-696-6

Gillian, a prosperous television personality, wakes up in a hospital with her face horribly disfigured, and her husband, Matthias, dead, a casualty of a car crash that followed an argument at the end of a night of revelry. As Gillian slowly recovers physically—her nose is reconstructed from tissue throughout her body—her emotional wounds, the cause of her marital discord, resurface: Matthias discovered provocative photographs of her and assumed she was having an affair. From here, the novel travels back through time, revealing the source of the photographs, which were not snapped by a lover but by an artist, Hubert, whom Gillian once interviewed. Her interest in Hubert’s paintings, specifically his nudes, draws her to him, and Hubert invites her to collaborate on an ill-fated series of sketches and paintings. The collaboration falls apart shortly before the accident. The novel then moves back to Gillian’s recuperation, during which Hubert stays away, and it isn’t until years later that the two reunite and reconcile. This brief volume speaks eloquently about recovery and reinvention. Stamm (Seven Years) alternates his narrative between Gillian and Hubert, sometimes having both recall the same moments; it’s Gillian’s story that truly flourishes. (Nov.)