Friday, July 15, 2016

Austria: A Whole Life, by Robert Seethaler

A Whole Life is the story of Andreas Egger, a man who lives a simple life in the mountains of Europe (exactly where is not quite specified). It is a lyrical and beautiful description of his life and his relationship to the mountains. His relationships are few, and his time away from the village in World War II brief. So, not an action packed book, and it is not a long book either, but it is delightful to read.

A taste - from the quote on the back of the dust jacket - "Sometimes, on mild summer nights, he would spread a blanket somewhere on a freshly mown meadow, like on his back and look up at the starry sky. Then he would think about his future, which extended infinitely before him, precisely because he expected nothing of it. and sometimes, if he lay there long enough, he had the impression that beneath his back the earth was softly rising and falling, and in moments like these he knew that the mountains breathed."

The Irish Times has a longer account of the book here (contains spoilers).

Robert Seethaler was born in Vienna in 1966. The internet tells me he grew up in Berlin, so perhaps I should count this as a German book. The project is proving more difficult than I anticipated... (but I am getting to read some wonderful books, which I might not otherwise have read, which is the main idea after all).

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