A Whole Life

Translated by

3.95 based on 102 ratings & 10 reviews on Goodreads.com
Picador

Publication date: 08.10.2015
ISBN: 9781447283904
Number of pages: 160

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

Genuine wisdom and restrained poetry . . . Charlotte Collins' translation is a great triumph.
Sunday Telegraph
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 renders a life at once ordinary and exquisite, exploring the vagaries of solitude with a gentle humility.
Times Literary Supplement