A Whole Life by Robert Seethaler

bookshelves: autumn-2015, radio-4, austria, published-2014, translation, shortstory-shortstories-novellas

Recommended for: BBC Radio Listeners
Read from October 15 to 29, 2015


Original title: Ein ganzes Leben

Description: This ‘slim masterpiece’ (Daily Mail) went straight onto the bestseller lists in Germany last summer and has been there ever since. Jim Crace called it both ‘heart-rending and heart-warming’, and over 200,000 people have read and celebrated this book across Europe.

When Andreas Egger reaches the village on the night that he tries to save Hannes, the goatherd, he goes into the inn and meets Marie – the only love of his life – for the first time. Romance and grief and a sometimes wry stoicism are the touchstones of Egger’s solitary life as the 20th century unfolds around him. The modern world encroaches slowly on the valley, the forest is carved out for ski lifts, electricity arrives, and tourists too. But throughout it all, Egger remains steadfast in his modest struggle to survive and in his ever constant respect for the landscape around and above him.

Episode 1: A snowbound rescue brings Andreas Egger down from the mountain. He carries a man on his back.

2/5: Egger is ready to settle down, he has built a house and knows love.

3/5: War arrives in Europe and Egger leaves the valley for the Russian front.

4/5: Television comes to the valley and stirs emotions Egger has buried deep.

5/5: An echo from his past shocks Egger and he seeks shelter on the high slopes.

Read by Robert Powell
Written by Robert Seethaler

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