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A Whole Life

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3.96 based on 808 ratings & 134 reviews on Goodreads.com

2017 Short-listed

International Dublin Literary Award

2017 Long-listed

International Dublin Literary Award

2016 Short-listed

Man Booker International

Synopsis

'Heart-rending and heart-warming . . . for all its gentleness, a very powerful novel' Jim Crace

Andreas lives his whole life in the Austrian Alps, where he arrives as a young boy taken in by a farming family. He is a man of very few words and so, when he falls in love with Marie, he doesn't ask for her hand in marriage, but instead has some of his friends light her name at dusk across the mountain. When Marie dies in an avalanche, pregnant with their first child, Andreas' heart is broken. He leaves his valley just once more, to fight in WWII - where he is taken prisoner in the Caucasus - and returns to find that modernity has reached his remote haven . . .

Like John Williams' Stoner or Denis Johnson's Train Dreams, A Whole Life by Robert Seethaler is a tender book about finding dignity and beauty in solitude. An exquisite novel about a simple life, it has already demonstrated its power to move thousands of readers with a message of solace and truth. It looks at the moments, big and small, that make us what we are.

In the media

From its first sentence, Seethaler grips you with a quiet matter-of-factness as he delineates with a suitably spare beauty the life of woodsman Andreas Egger.
Independent on Sunday
Genuine wisdom and restrained poetry . . . Charlotte Collins' translation is a great triumph.
Sunday Telegraph
Seethaler shows that for even the most ordinary people, life is an extraordinary adventure - and he does so tenderly and memorably.
Mail on Sunday