A Whole Life (Hardback)
  • A Whole Life (Hardback)
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A Whole Life (Hardback)

(author), (translator)
£12.99
Hardback 160 Pages / Published: 16/07/2015
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'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.

Publisher: Pan Macmillan
ISBN: 9781447281894
Number of pages: 160
Weight: 286 g
Dimensions: 223 x 141 x 17 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
Robert Seethaler's quietly mesmerizing novel - elemental in both tone and subject - shows what joy and nobility can be found in a life of hardship, patience and bereavement. It is at once heart-rending and heart-warming. A Whole Life, for all its gentleness, is a very powerful book. -- Jim Crace
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. -- Adam Lively * 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 *
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. -- Eileen Battersby * Irish Times *
Seethaler renders a life at once ordinary and exquisite, exploring the vagaries of solitude with a gentle humility. * Times Literary Supplement *
It takes barely two hours to read it but would take a lifetime to forget. -- Graham Robb
Genuine wisdom and restrained poetry . . . Charlotte Collins' translation is a great triumph. * Sunday Telegraph *
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 *
A Whole Life is a lovely contemplation of a life in solitude in a remote valley, into which the modern world slowly intrudes. -- Ian McEwan * Sunday Times *

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Reviews

View all

“Quiet and powerful”

I'm gobsmacked by this book. It's incredible and I think it's destined to become a classic. It's similar to Stoner - I know there are a lot of Stoner fans like me out there - in that the... More

Paperback edition
3 similar books recommended
31st December 2015
Helpful? Upvote 67

“A slim book with so much depth”

A Whole Life somehow manages to be moving, touching and span almost all of the 20th century inside such a wonderfully contained story. We meet Andreas Egger as a child and follow him through to old age, seeing is life... More

Paperback edition
1 similar book recommended
31st December 2015
Helpful? Upvote 66
Angie at Glasgow Sauchiehall Street

“Pure, minimalist perfection.”

There's just nothing not to love. It wasn't one of those books that blew me away, left my mouth hanging agape, but I don't think any author could do that to me in a mere 140 pages, and it oh so clearly... More

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