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A Whole Life

A Whole Life

Author(s): Robert Seethaler

Location(s): Austrian Alps

Genre(s): Fiction, Historical

Era(s): First 3/4 20th Century



Long listed for the Man Booker International Prize 2016

‘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 DreamsA 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.

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Lead Review

Andreas Egger’s life has not been easy – he grows up in the Austrian Alps in the care of a cruel uncle. Building cable cars is dangerous work and then he goes to war,...

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