Urs Faes

Pairing - Novel

(German title: Paarbildung)
ca. 220 pages
Urs Faes
Foto: Urs Faes
© Silke Keil

Urs Faes, born in Aarau in 1947, lives and works in Zurich and in San Feliciano (Italy). In 2008 he was awarded the Preis der Schweizerischen Schillerstiftung.

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Romania (Univers)

Nominated for the Swiss Book Prize 2010


In his new novel, Urs Faes writes evocatively, lightly and precisely about the battle with cancer, but just as beautifully about two people confronting themselves and their past.

Andreas Lüscher by profession is a trauma and injury psychologist. But since he took up a psychotherapy post in a hospital oncology department, the lexicon of cancer treatment has been ruling his working day: dosage adjustment; risk of relapse; pairing. He is fascinated by the relationship between patient and doctor, by the importance of communication, of words, but he usually prefers to observe than be at the centre of the action, to keep his distance rather than get too close.
Until one day, among patients’ records, he comes across the name of a woman with whom he once had a very intense relationship: Meret Etter had been actively involved in the “youth unrest” in Zurich in 1980, could lose herself completely playing the harp, and as a lawyer had fought passionately against injustice. Now she has a very different fight on her hands. Will meeting Andreas Lüscher again, after 16 years of mutual silence, make things easier for her?


»Urs Faes has taken on a huge task in his ninth novel, which he manages with style although the constellation of his lovers could hardly be more hopeless or tragic. In fact, he handles the balancing act between factual report of an illness and narrative lightness so well that the novel reads as a tender account of great love despite its disturbing details of disease.« FAZ

»Using mature dramaturgical skills, Urs Faes […] places his protagonists between the antipodes of life and death again and again– without pathos but with the attention of an author who quite rightly believes in his creative talent, relying entirely on his characters and their experiences rather than narrative commentary, to express all he wants to say.« NZZ


Other publications

Liebesarchiv/Archive of Love (2007)

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Chinese simplex rights (Alpha Books), Bulgaria (Atlantis)

Und Ruth/Und Ruth (2001)

Rights available

Ombra/Ombra (1997)

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Czech Republic (Archa - published, rights reverted), Lithuania (Alma Littera - published, rights reverted)

Sommerwende/Sommerwende (1989)

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Czech Republic (Hornad)