A Whole Life

Translated by

3.96 based on 675 ratings & 117 reviews on Goodreads.com
Picador

Publication date: 16.07.2015
ISBN: 9781447283911
Number of pages: 0

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

Robert Seethaler's novel is, like its hero, short on words but in its 150 pages manages to do exactly what it says on the tin: embrace a whole life... It's an unremarked existence, told in simple prose, of a simple man that magically captures the universal in all our lives. A slim masterpiece.
Daily Mail
Seethaler shows that for even the most ordinary people, life is an extraordinary adventure - and he does so tenderly and memorably.
Mail on Sunday
Now another of these special, calm narratives that penetrate the joy and grief, the tiny comforts of being alive and the experiences which shape an individual has arrived . . . As haunting and as spare as Stoner. It has been sensitively and astutely translated into English by Charlotte Collins . . . a gentle, tender work devoid of sentimentality yet so evocative and moving . . . No praise is too high for A Whole Life. Its daunting beauty lingers. This is a profound, wise and humane novel that no reader will forget.
Irish Times