One of the reading challenges I set myself for 2016, was to read Waterstones recommended fiction read of the month! By the simple act of relying on someone else to choose a book for me, I would I assumed widen my reading horizons and hopefully find hidden gems amongst the thousands of books published every year.
Their first selection for January was A Whole Life by Robert Seethaler, translated into English by Charlotte Collins.
“Andreas lives his whole life in the Austrian… Alps, where he arrives as a young boy…..”
This novella is a truly beautiful read, which despite being a short book, does indeed encompass a whole life. Andreas, the main character is a man of few words, a gentle introvert, who faces life’s challenges with a stoic bravery that made him for me easy to love. A simple novel with none of the convoluted threads of a fast paced thriller, it’s beauty lying in the use of language to create the imagery of Andreas home in the Alps and his quite extraordinary life.
If this book does not end up in my top ten reads of 2016, it will have been a wonderful reading year, because Robert Seethaler’ s novel is a stunningly evocative study of a life led largely isolated from the bigger society. Andreas can’t escape world events, but his whole life is contained by his introverted and peaceful nature.