An Answer from the Silence

A Story from the Mountains

Max Frisch

An Answer from the Silence

Max Frisch

Distributed for Seagull Books

Translated by Mike Mitchell
118 pages | 5 x 8 1/2 | © 2011
Paper $12.50 ISBN: 9780857427106 Published November 2019 World sales rights except India
Cloth $19.00 ISBN: 9781906497927 Published March 2011 World sales rights except India

This novel by esteemed Swiss writer Max Frisch is an exploration of the question: “Why don’t we live when we know we’re here just this one time, just one single, unrepeatable time in this unutterably magnificent world?!” This outcry against the emptiness of ordinary everyday life uttered by the hero of Frisch’s book is countered by “an answer from the silence” he meets when face-to-face with death.

When An Answer from the Silence begins, the protagonist has just turned thirty and is engaged to be married and about to start work as a teacher. Frightened by the idea of settling down, he journeys to the Alps in a do-or-die effort to climb the unclimbed North Ridge, and by doing so prove he is not ordinary. But having reached the top he returns not in triumph, but in frostbitten shock, having come dangerously close to death.

This highly personal early novel reflects a crisis in Frisch’s own life, and perhaps because of this intimate connection, he refused to allow it to be included in his Collected Works in the 1970s. Now available in English, this distinctive book will thrill fans of Frisch’s other works.



An Answer from the Silence: A Story from the Mountains

Afterword by Peter von Matt

Review Quotes
Janet Potter | Bookslut
"When the climber sets out alone towards the deathly North Ridge, his quest does feel like it will answer something. What has already been answered, long before we learn the climber’s fate, is the value of stepping out of our tracks, every once in a while, and asking questions of the sky."
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