An Answer from the Silence: A Story from the Mountains (The Swiss List) (Hardcover)

An Answer from the Silence: A Story from the Mountains (The Swiss List) By Max Frisch Cover Image

An Answer from the Silence: A Story from the Mountains (The Swiss List) (Hardcover)


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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.


Max Frisch (1911–91) was a giant of twentieth-century German literature, achieving fame as a novelist, playwright, diarist, and essayist. His works include Andorra and Man in the Holocene.

Product Details ISBN: 9781906497927
ISBN-10: 1906497923
Publisher: Seagull Books
Publication Date: March 15th, 2011
Pages: 118
Language: English
Series: The Swiss List
"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."
— Janet Potter