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Robert Seethaler: “If you write from life you must also write of the death”

The austrian writer publishes in Spain the Whole of a life , a novel nominated for the Man Booker International Prize in 2016 that has sold a million copies in Germany alone

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Robert Seethaler: “If you write from life you must also write of the death”

The austrian writer publishes in Spain Whole of a life , a novel nominated for Man Booker International Prize in 2016 that has sold a million copies in Germany alone

The austrian writer Robert Seethaler enters decided in headquarters of publisher, Hansen, to few meters from Checkpoint Charlie, most famous of border crossings of Berlin Wall. With his imposing height, his striking thinness, and his eyes transparent blue, greets without making a lot of fuss, takes a seat and already in first question is an excuse for his irrelevance on Internet. “I don't give many interviews. I don't see it important. In this world re is already too much information.” Today he made an exception with occasion of publication in Spanish of a lifetime (Salamander) his fifth and most successful novel. Translated into thirty languages and was nominated for Man Booker International Prize in 2016, only in Germany —where it was Book of Year in 2014— has sold a million copies.

a Whole life it is paradoxically in 139 pages and tells story of Andreas Egger from his childhood until, already in his eighties, he receives visit of Lady Cold. Your biography is of a man who knows how to fit waist up to onslaughts of life. Abandoned by his mor at four years of age at beginning of TWENTIETH century, lives in a village imaginary of Alps with an uncle, a farmer and perpetrator, leaving it lame. With 18 years says enough, you go and lease a small plot of land with his salary of worker of company that has led cable car and modernity of valley. And when it seems that life is smiling on this man who never bought a tv, loses his fiancée. Then come Hitler and Second World War and with it, his enlistment, and more deaths.

—There is a character in novel who says: “death is a piece of shit. With time we will waning. On a few passes quickly, in ors it can last longer. From birth we're losing one thing after anor, first a finger, n an arm...”. Are you obsessed more death or old age?

"I Feel a lot of skepticism to authors who display ir opinion"

— If you talk about life you have to also write of death. The loss of Andreas Egger are of a normal life. All of life is a preparation for death— answers. What are you afraid of death?

Robert Seethaler is a great interviewer of interviewers. Every question was transferred by translator makes a follow-up; with each question, sink into silence and cover ir eyes with ir hands to display answer.

—“So I feel more secure,” he says. “But why are you interested in both my eyes?”.

Born in Vienna in 1966 in a family of workers, Seethaler suffers from child with a severe visual disability, which has forced him to go under knife on several occasions and that forced him to go to a school for blind with ir glasses of thick glass. “I lived in my own world,” he admits. I read so much as allowed his poor eyesight, he wrote “dreams” and looked —as it looks now— beauty of life. “I don't need to see anything especially nice, just seeing leads to beauty.”

a lifetime, translated into Spanish by Ana Guelbenzu, is a product of that extreme sensitivity, and memories that you save from as a child led him to skiing. “The more you climb, re is more peace, more silence. Feel silence of mountain, cold, snow. I remember that feeling and loneliness. That is starting point of whole book, that it is not autobiographical although obviously much of what I've seen.”

"shame is a lot of potential because after she is fear. Shame is a force"

The novel, which arrives today to libraries, is fifth of a writer who in past sought and exercised trades that allowed him to “work with hands”. Was seller, messenger, a physical rapist and tried his luck on stage as an actor. Moved to Berlin —where he still lives— in 1998 in search of opportunities, but ended up being he who refused. Modesty overcame her love for performing arts. “I suffered too much doing atre. In cinema re is no direct contact with public, media and technology. But in atre I felt sick with shame. You're so exposed... it Is very intimate to look into eyes of anor person, is to open your heart and your soul and that scares. Shame is something that is rarely discussed but has a lot of potential because after she is fear. Shame is a force”.

Overwhelmed by that fear by Robert Seethaler, also a movie actor, he got down from tables and began to fantasize about living from writing. Little by little, slowly and with good lyrics. His first text, a script for cinema, he was awarded but never turned into a movie. Needed some years until critics and readers gave ir recognition by Der Traficant, going to be cinema and has a small secondary role, as it did recently as a mountain guide in film The Youth of Paolo Sorrentino. “Do nazi”. A whole life and its profound reflection on relationship of man with nature, has brought her international recognition.

—do you Suffer when you write?

—The author who says that you do not suffer lie.

—What should be role of a writer?

—I don't think that should play none. That idea comes from sixties. Is old. Feel a great deal of skepticism about writers who want to exhibit ir position and ir opinion.

Robert Seethaler is consistent. Does not grant many interviews. Nor travels. Neir is exposed in book fairs. He does not like to stay away from his son.

ONLINE PURCHASE 'WHOLE LIFE'

Author: Robert Seethaler.

Editorial: Salamandra (2017).

Format: softcover (144 pages).

15€ at Book House

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