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To the Back of Beyond (2016)
by Peter Stamm
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Man Booker Prize nominee Peter Stamm explores in his sixth novel what it means to be in the middle of nowhere, in mind and in body. Happily married with two children and a comfortable home in a Swiss town, Thomas and Astrid enjoy a glass of wine in their garden on a night like any other. Called back to the house by their son's cries, Astrid goes inside, expecting her husband to join her in a bit. But Thomas gets up and, after a brief moment of hesitation, opens the gate and walks out. No longer bound by the ties of his everyday life--family, friends, work--Thomas begins a winding trek across the countryside, exposed as never before to the Alpine winter. At home, Astrid wonders where he's gone, when he'll come back, whether he's still alive. Following Thomas and Astrid on their separate paths, To the Back of Beyond becomes ultimately a meditation on the limits of freedom and on the craving to be wanted.
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