A 200,000-copy German bestseller, A Whole Life follows one man's simple yet extraordinary life.
Robert Seethaler is an Austrian living in Berlin and is the author of four previous novels. He also works as an actor, most recently in Paolo Sorrentino's La Grande Bellezza.
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 *
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 *
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 perfect, warm, moving antidote to, well, pretty much everything that's going on in the world . . . That this gentle-paced tale encompasses such a large timespan in the space of barely 160 pages is testament to Seethaler's pared-down writing style, beautifully rendered by the book's translator Charlotte Collins. * New European *