"I hadn't picked up a novel in years, but I still remembered the feeling of finishing a story when I was a child, late at night or on some rainy afternoon. That alertness, that sense of perceiving everything much more clearly, even the passage of time, which was so much slower than in books. I held my breath and listened, even though I knew there was nothing to hear, and that nothing had happened or would happen. I was safe in bed, and in my thoughts returned to the story that now belonged to me, that would never end, that would grow, and turn into a world of its own. It was one of many worlds that I inhabited in those days, before I started building my own, and losing all the others."
-- Alexander, the narrator in Peter Stamm's novel Seven Years, translated from the German by Michael Hofmann. To be published here in April, 2011.