When Alex, a handsome Munich archi-tect, tries to tend his neglected vegetable patch, he finds it rotting. Attempts to remedy the situation are futile – the ground is frozen. This, it becomes clear, is a metaphor for Alex’s marriage to Sonia, a beautiful and successful fellow architect. The cause of the impenetrable frost in their marriage is Alex’s compulsion to sacrifice his life for snatched moments of almost sadistic satisfaction with a woman he finds plain and dull. In his forensically analytical new novel, Peter Stamm, a prize-winning Swiss writer, anatomises a marriage and the irrational urges that drive people to sabotage their lives.
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'"Dutch Light" roots its subject in his local environment, explaining, for example, how an abundance of sand for making glass led naturally to a thriving business in optical instruments in Holland.'
Patricia Fara on the life & work of Christiaan Huygens.
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'We may not be able to shield ourselves from irrational passions such as hatred, anger, envy, mockery and pride, or from the buffetings of circumstance, but we can rise above them by obtaining insight into their nature and their causes.'