A Whole Life

3.95 based on 386 ratings & 63 reviews on Goodreads.com

'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.

Translated by Charlotte Collins.

Seethaler shows that for even the most ordinary people, life is an extraordinary adventure - and he does so tenderly and memorably.
Mail on Sunday
Against the backdrop of a literary world that often seems crowded with novels yelling "Look at me!", it's refreshing to read a story marked by quiet, concentrated attention . . . Seethaler's scenes of mountain life are realised with spare, almost surreally vivid images. But what is perhaps most remarkable about this remarkable novel is the way that it continually weaves past, present and future into a single fabric.
Sunday Times
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

About Robert Seethaler

Robert Seethaler was born in Vienna in 1966 and is the author of several novels including A Whole Life and The Tobacconist. A Whole Life was a top ten-bestseller in Germany, and has garnered huge acclaim.

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Books by Robert Seethaler

The Tobacconist
The Tobacconist