We're Flying

Peter Stamm

Published: 2 April 2015
Paperback, B Format
129x198mm, 384 pages
ISBN: 9781847087683


The stories here possess all the qualities that have built Peter Stamm's reputation as one of the very finest European writers alive today - the undemonstrative prose, the deceptive simplicity of the storylines, and the calm, clear understanding of psychology and emotions. In 'Expectations', we meet a woman who becomes involved with her younger upstairs neighbour; in 'The Result', a man waiting for the outcome of medical tests; and in 'Sweet Dreams', a young couple learning to navigate the thrills and complications of cohabitation. A master of the short story, Stamm does not spare the reader's feelings -- and nor does he waste a word.

About the author

Image of Peter Stamm

Peter Stamm was born in 1963, in Scherzingen, Switzerland. He is the author of the novels Agnes, On A Day Like This, Unformed Landscape and the collection In Strange Gardens and Other Stories, as well as numerous short stories and radio plays. He lives in Winterthur. More about the author


‘[A] superb, imaginatively challenging collection’ Paul Binding



‘[Stamm] is one of those rare writers whose words haunt his readers long after you put his books down’ Yuyin Li, author

We're Flying is a winning collection. Stamm's prose is deceptively simple. His voice is original, assured and utterly beguiling’

‘A double treat for aficionados of Stamm's small canvases of precision as he maps the imprecision of human emotion [in] Michael Hofmann's taut translations... A pleasure to read’ Rebecca K. Morrison

‘A master storyteller, Stamm succeeds in stripping away layers of superficiality to uncover the complicated daily psychological struggle of the average person. Michael Hofmann deserves credit for his emotionally taut translation... Simultaneously haunting and uplifting’

‘Offers the reader insights into the human character... [These] tautly constructed stories, with echoes of Patricia Highsmith and Anton Chekhov, take root in the psyche and will not let go’ Sue Russell

‘One of Europe's most exciting writers... a writer to read, and read often’

‘Peter Stamm is an extraordinary author who can make the ordinary absolutely electrifying. These stories are as subtle as they appear to be beguilingly simple, keeping readers on the edge of their seats... Hard to recommend too highly’ Tim Parks, Books of the Year

‘Precise, disquieting, and high-impact, Stamm's new collection slices away surface tissue to reveal the downright messiness of human life... His characters are quickly but sharply sketched; his story-world is modeled on the one at hand, but as though seen through a microscope, with fine-grained crystals of detail... Fascinating’

‘Sharp and unadorned... It is a testament to Stamm's use of the short story medium and Hofmann's capacities as a translator that two elements - the psychological drama of everyday life and broad philosophical themes of the European tradition - are seamlessly held together... Excellent’ Michael Schapira

‘Skilful and refined... Stamm's name deserves to be up there with great masters of the genre... His language cannot be faulted and his characters root in the mind. This thoughtful and thought-provoking collection deserves to be widely read’

‘Skilful and refined... Stamm's name deserves to be up there with great masters of the genre... This thoughtful and thought-provoking collection deserves to be widely read’

‘Skilful and refined... The writer's language really cannot be faulted... This thoughtful and thought-provoking collection deserves to be widely read... Sparkling’

‘Stamm has a style perfectly adapted to short stories, with abrupt dialogue and an endless supply of eye-catching opening lines. He's clinical but not aloof from the complexity of human emotions’ Anthony Cummins

‘Stamm yet again demonstrates his mercilessly astute eye for the shortcomings of human nature’ Eileen Battersby, Books of the Year

‘Stamm's literary style is sparsely minimalist... his sharp observation and ability engage the reader immediately... [We're Flying leaves] a trailing vapour of wondering long after the book has been put back on the shelf’ Jim Ferguson

‘Stamm's stories are incisively pared down. [He] cuts through the surface of things: everything is peeled open, apparent, naked... Each story is intriguing like a complex piece of machinery where you can see everything even if you don't understand how it works’ Tessa Hadley, author

‘The characters in Stamm's generous new collection engage right away via their seeming transparency. No sense of author omniscience separates the reader from protagonists coping with issues large (the death of a spouse) or small (a bandage put on too tight)... Stamm connects so closely to the psyches of these individuals that his style becomes mutable, variously suggesting the eerie claustrophobia of Shirley Jackson, the brittle edge of Raymond Carver, and even the warmth of Lorrie Moore’

‘The problem with this bleak but brilliant story collection is that it's too hard to put down... Stamm's ability to explore dark secrets and lead them towards the light of reason may be cool, even clinical, but it is never completely heartless and is always unforgettable’ Eileen Battersby

‘There is something extraordinary in Stamm's ability to make normal situations, described in such minimalist prose, so engrossing and affecting... Michael Hofmann's translation is precise and irresistibly readable’ Matt Lewis

‘These stories hint at emotion beneath the page with a compelling, regular insistence. Distinct craft is at work. Stamm's prose (in Michael Hofmann's fine translation) is unadorned and riveting’ Frank Brinkley

‘This story collection is even better [than Seven Years], with pieces that read like the Zurich equivalent of Camus or Kafka, occasionally laced with a bit of Ibsen or Ingmar Bergman... For those who have an affinity for metaphysical fiction written with a surgeon's precision, this collection will spur readers to seek out everything else by its author’

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