A Whole Life – Robert Seethaler

I bought A Whole Life from one of my favourite charity stores in London. When I bought the book, I had no idea that the author was among the 2016 Man Booker nominees or sold well in Germany. A sentence on the book’s inner cover made me think that it would be perfect for me.


Andreas Egger knows every path and peak of his mountain valley, the source of his sustenance, his livelihood – his home.

A Whole Life – Robert Seethaler
A Whole Life - Robert Seethaler

A Whole Life will be a book that you will read in one sitting and want to stay where you sit for a long time. It progresses so slowly, so calmly, so sweetly that you’ll feel like watching a landscape rather than reading a book. And you will feel this despite all the unfortunate events that Andreas Egger went through because Andreas will give you a different perspective.

It won’t take long for you to realise that the world is more beautiful from his viewpoint. Andreas Egger is a character that I will not forget for a long time, and I will often remember in the future. While reading it, I wished it wasn’t fiction, and I could watch him from a distance. I’m sure you’ll also want to meet him or watch his calmly flowing life from afar. It is a peaceful book with incredible descriptions, and you’ll want to reread it soon. Enjoy!

A Whole Life - Robert Seethaler

A Whole Life

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 so beauty in solitude. An exquisite novel about a simple life. Tt 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.

Robert Seethaler

Robert Seethaler is an Austrian living in Berlin and is the author of four previous novels. A Whole Life is his first work to be translate into English and is already a German bestseller. Selling so over 100,000 copies. The book has been translate from its original German by Charlotte Collins.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges: 

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