Publishers: Elster & Salis

Elster & Salis

Contact: André Gstettenhofer

everything here, now
das alles hier, jetzt

Stern cover
Elster & Salis
September 2020 / 248pp
  • Winner of the 2020 Swiss Book Prize

The English language translation rights to the book have sold.

This page will be updated once an English language translation is published.


Anna Stern’s stunning and uplifting novel was awarded the 2020 Swiss Book Prize, and her literary depiction of mourning has an honesty and beauty that will speak to many readers in the context of the current pandemic.

everything here, now follows a group of young adults as they try to come to terms with a friend’s premature death. Ananke’s early death rips a huge hole in the lives of her/his friends. A member of the group reflects on their mourning and trauma, and at the same time remembers times past: childhood experiences, holidays and idyllic summers, tensions and arguments. Ananke is a constant presence but remains essentially mysterious and out of reach. Ananke’s relationships with the rest of the group are also somehow unfathomable, possibly because of the effort involved in recalling them, but also hinting at an enigmatic and inaccessible character, or the approaching illness that may have been the cause of death.

The novel is deliberately unclear about whether the characters are male or female, leaving the reader to decide. This device serves to draw the reader in to the interpretation of the story, and to involve us in the processes the characters are going through. Many beautifully descriptive scenes of the natural world are intertwined with the emotions of the narrator as they wrestle with their grief and memories. The closing section of the novel describes an impulsive road trip the group takes to dig up Ananke’s ashes and take them to the sea by the hut that used to be Ananke’s home. The novel ends with the narrator watching and following as the friends run into the sea with Ananke’s ashes.

Stern’s writing is lyrical, poetic and creative, and the evocations of a lost idyllic childhood and youth are atmospheric and moving without being sentimental. The theme is a familiar one, but the approach is original and engaging. There are parallels with Max Porter’s Grief is the Thing with Feathers, whose readers would enjoy this book. There are also echoes of Proust and Woolf, with smells and sensations triggering memories and emotions and a sense of time folding in and over on itself. The author’s eye and ear for detail is compelling and intimate, and the novel is a highly innovative portrayal of grief and loss.

‘This was such a gripping and involving book, melancholic, beautiful and uplifting all at the same time. The overlapping format and intimate style meant I felt like I was sharing someone’s headspace. The experience it deals with is universal: none of us escapes grief and loss, and the story was profoundly human as well as being deeply thought-provoking. I was really rooting for the characters by the end: it was almost as if I had been one of them. I’m sure I’ll be going back to read it again and again.’

Sarah Rimmington, translator

press quotes

‘A surprising book that should be read slowly, but that rewards the time you invest with a wealth of ideas.’

Eva Bachmann, Kulturmagazin Saiten

‘Anna Stern has given one of the oldest themes of literature a completely new form and an as yet unheard resonance. everything here, now deals with the death of a loved one, and the author tells the story with great experimental power and sensuous intensity.’

2020 Swiss Book Prize Jury

‘A beautiful, oscillating web of meaning and allusion, with glitteringly astute and flowing language depicting the interweaving of memory and the present. (…) The title, everything here, now, is thus a microcosm of the novel’s poetic project, which seeks to encapsulate the coexistence of memory and the present. (…) The denouement of Stern’s novel, which is surprising and spectacular in equal measure (…), once again allows the author’s intelligent storytelling to shine through.

Beate Tröger, Der Freitag

about the author

Anna Stern photo
© Florian Bachmann

Anna Stern, was born in Rorschach in 1990 and lives in Zurich, where she writes and is completing a doctorate. She has previously published Wild wie die Wellen des Meeres, Salis (2019), winner of the 3sat Prize at the Ingeborg Bachmann competition in Klagenfurt in 2018; Beim Auftauchen der Himmel, lectorbooks (2017); Der Gutachter, Salis (2016); and Schneestill, Salis (2014). das alles hier, jetzt  is Anna Stern’s fourth and most formally adventurous novel. She is a recipient of the St. Gallen Cultural Foundation award for most promising writer. In 2019 her literary work was honoured by the City of Zurich.

Previous Works: Wild wie die Wellen des Meeres, Elster & Salis (2019); Beim Auftauchen der Himmel, lectorbooks (2017); Der Gutachter, Elster & Salis (2016); Eines Tages oder Le vent nous portera, Elster & Salis (2015); Schneestill, Elster & Salis (2014); Zwischen zwei FlĂĽgen, Elster & Salis (2014)

rights information

Elster & Salis

Contact: André Gstettenhofer

translation assistance

The English language translation rights to the book have sold.

This page will be updated once an English language translation is published.

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