I am not much into translations.
And books that excel in long descriptive passages don’t do it for me either.
A Whole Life by Robert Seethaler is a translation from German, the author’s fifth novel and full of evocative prose….
So what kept me turning the pages??
A friend says, “It’s a wise book…”
I’d say he could be right.
There is something about it that brings you to a deeper place within yourself than the daily grind allows. It’s contemplative, meditative in tone and feeling: it calms you down.
From the word go Andreas Egger has the odds stacked apparently against him. An orphan, beaten at the age of 8 by his adoptive father, Andreas ends up with a permanent limp. He has no great notions about himself and no great aspirations.
Born in 1902 he witnesses the arrival of electrification, cables cars, modernity, war followed by depression and then the new industry of tourism: the evolution of a way of life in the Austrian Alps from traditional to modern.
Moments of joy alternate with longer periods of grief and he spends years in sorrow, though not self indulgence, following the death of his wife and unborn child until one day he raises his eyes and notices again the beauty of the mountain: "He saw the mountains grow out of the night with the first rays of the sun,and although it was a spectacle he had watched a thousand times before, this time he found himself strangely moved by it"
His intimate love for, and knowledge of, his place, and his strong work ethic save him from a deep melancholy that might have enveloped him.
This novel’s protagonist will touch your heart and move you to re-evaluate your own existence.
And if you can read German I envy you…