The Alp is set in the Swiss Alps, by the Sez Ner (so also the title of the original):
Sez Ner is the center of Surselva. A modest height, it has everything that makes a mountain a mountain. The steep slopes, the shadows, the ridges, the peak, the cairn, the cross. At the back of the mountain, the rock face to crash to your death from. Unassuming, it stands there, putting up with whatever goes on round about
The novel focuses on the summer-season near the foot of the mountain, when the farmers bring up their cows to graze (and the story closes with cows being led down, back to the farms, at the end of the season).
The Alp, presented in a few hundred short passages and scenes, describes events and episodes from the summer. Four central, recurring characters, on whom much of the story (to the extent it is a story …) focuses remain unnamed, described only by their positions: dairyman, farmhand, cowherd, and swineherd — though Camenisch identifies many other locals by name (and notes of the animals: “The cows have names, the pigs don’t”). The four aren’t simply representative types, either, defined solely by their duties, but their nominal anonymity is an effective way of having them stand out against some of the more incidental but named characters.