Elise takes classes at the university and uses Tinder to get dates. The GPS in her phone is constantly on while she is exchanging experiences from using anti-depressants with her friends. The only men she really likes are middle aged ones, they are like horses, calm, content, lacking anxiety, eating,
sleeping, and telling each other lame anecdotes. She would love to be a horse.
When Elise meets Victor, she already knows what he looks like without his clothes on: she has seen photos from his latest vacation on Facebook. And even though he is her own age, she is instantly happy, but what is happiness – and what is emptiness?
AT THIS MOMENT I AM HERE is about saying »I love you« in a time where all words have lost their magic and meaning, but where the longing for intimacy is inevitable. A time where it is more important who people think that you are, than what the reality is.
AT THIS MOMENT I AM HERE is a depiction of Stockholm, in the tradition of Hjalmar Söderberg, but also a relationship novel in this modern age.
» In the hallway, when I was dressed, I put my head on his shoulder. Soon, it will be eaten by worms in the ground. Meat and bones, that’s all it is. It shouldn’t matter this much. ”It was great seeing you”, I tell him.
“It was nice. Bye, I’ll see you around”, he says and opens the door.
I make my way down the stairs, back into the world. «
”Isabelle Ståhl is a talented critic, whom I always read, and her debut has the same sense of style and melancholy in the hollowness of youth. It’s a generation novel about the heartbeats in a heartless time, and a novel that will age with ease.”
“AT THIS MOMENT I AM HERE is in short a book daring to be philosophical, humorous, warm and cold – all at the same time. With its laser sharp prose, it sheds a cold strobe light upon contemporary literature and makes the rest of it seem pale and anaemic. What a debut!”
“Ståhl is brilliant when portraying the existence where the virtual world merges with the physical one, and in many ways, has become more real. With grace, elegance, a touch of comedy and without lecturing about morals, Isabelle Ståhl presents the mal de siècle of the 21st century: a place where distance and proximity has been given new, unknown meanings and where more people fall asleep holding a phone than another hand.”