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May 2021 Biography & Autobiography

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The Old King in his Exile
By (author): Arno Geiger Translated by: Stefan Tobler
9781908276889 Paperback, Trade English BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / Personal Memoirs May 21, 2021
$25.50 CAD
Active 5.22 x 7.82 x 0.67 in | 220 gr 192 pages And Other Stories
International Bestseller Shortlisted for the Helen and Kurt Wolff Prize and Schlegel-Tieck Prize What makes us who we are? Arno Geiger's father was never an easy man to know and when he developed Alzheimer's, Arno realised he was not going to ask for help. As my father can no longer cross the bridge into my world, I have to go over to his." So Arno sets out on a journey to get to know him at last. Born in 1926 in the Austrian Alps, into a farming family who had an orchard, kept three cows, and made schnapps in the cellar, his father was conscripted into World War II as a "schoolboy soldier" - an experience he rarely spoke about, though it marked him. Striking up a new friendship, Arno walks with him in the village and the landscape they both grew up in and listens to his words, which are often full of unexpected poetry. Through his intelligent, moving and often funny account, we begin to see that whatever happens in old age, a human being retains their past and their character. Translated into nearly 30 languages, The Old King in His Exile will offer solace and insight to anyone coping with a loved one's aging. "

Arno Geiger grew up in the Austrian Alps, in a village overlooking Lake Constance. His fiction has won the prestigious German Book Prize, while his autobiographical The Old King in His Exile has been translated into 28 languages. The memoir has won both literary prizes, including the 2011 Friedrich Holderlin Prize, and prizes from medical societies, including the 2011 German Hospice and Palliative Care Association (DHPV) Award. He lives in Vienna. Born in Belem, Brazil, to English and Swiss parents, Stefan Tobler is the publisher of And Other Stories and, whenever time permits, a translator from Portuguese and German. He loves to read in French and Spanish too. His translation of Arno Geiger's The Old King in His Exile was shortlisted for the Helen and Kurt Wolff Prize and Schlegel-Tieck Prize, and his other translations include the Oxford-Weidenfeld Translation Prize-shortlisted Agua Viva by Clarice Lispector and the Man Booker International Prize-longlisted A Cup of Rage by Raduan Nassar.

How do we keep one another's company? How might our lives unfold alongside those of our parents with Alzheimer's nearby? In Arno Geiger's exquisite memoir, he lets us into the private and sometimes sacred space he found in the company of his father - a relationship nurtured by his own willingness to share a mutual solitude, and to visit those places where his father's spirit was broken and where it thrived. The tender stories in The Old King in His Exile hold the quiet love between these men, and invite the reader to apprehend more of what it can mean, even in our final days, to be alive." - Adrian Nicole Leblanc, author of Random Family "There are books that speak directly from one person to another. The Old King in His Exile is one of them. Every life is worth living, as Arno Geiger shows in his wise and deeply moving book about his father and Alzheimer's." - Robert Seethaler, author of A Whole Life "This quietly devastating memoir . . . charts with considerable discernment not only [Geiger's] father's decline but the late-blooming closeness of their relationship. Tobler's restrained translation captures the acuity and wit of the original. As a writer, Geiger's instinct is to make sense of language, to find a meaningful literary parallel even in his father's simplest comments." - Catherine Taylor, Financial Times "Poignantly rendered . . . There is a lathe-like precision to Geiger's writing. The psychological insights in The Old King in His Exile are acute." - Ed Cripps, Times Literary Supplement "A delightful memoir of dementia sounds impossible until you read The Old King In His Exile, now available in English thanks to this winning translation. A book that will warm you right through." - Caroline Sanderson, Sunday Express S Magazine "Life-affirming, funny and generous; a roadmap to help navigate the most disorienting territory. [Geiger] finds a way, in spite of the disease, to connect with his father and in doing so he understands something more clearly about life. We're fortunate that Geiger has been generous enough to share these precious lessons with the rest of us." - Claire Black, The Scotsman "A wise and beautiful story of dementia and a family learning how to love." - Sally Magnusson, author of Where Memories Go: Why Dementia Changes Everything "Apart from the decline of the author's father and how a family does and doesn't cope with it, it's also about the decline of village life and about the profound impact of war on a place." - Martin Chalmers "A beautiful, entirely unsentimental book describing his father's dementia . . . a superbly written book." Denis Scheck "A profound, distinctive and timeless investigation into what concerns every one of us: aging and illness, home and family. A meditation on the things we find hard to deal with. A great work of literature about what makes life worth living no matter what." - Felicitas von Lovenberg, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung "A book about the search for a lost world, a lost home and a character presumed lost, as well as about a rediscovered relationship. A powerful, grown-up, curious, and touchingly delightful book." - Elmar Krekeler, Die Welt "A magical work. True to life and yet effortlessly artful." - Meike Fessmann, Der Tagesspiegel "Arno Geiger's extraordinary skill as an author is crystal clear in this book. He demonstrates an astonishing degree of empathy for the life of another person. A love of the people about whom he writes, a love that doesn't blinker him but frees him to see what is essential." - Judith von Sternburg, Frankfurter Rundschau "Alzheimer's forces on people the most radical version of an experience we all share in a more diluted, manageable form: that the world changes, that the conditions we know disappear, that we have to keep up and find that sometimes easy, sometimes difficult. The person with dementia can't cope with the changes any more. The justified success of Geiger's book is in part because it lets people understand this better, and so they love it." - Martin Ebel, Tages-Anzeiger Booksellers Praise The Old King in His Exile "With humility and uncanny insight, Arno Geiger shines a pure and natural light upon a subject we too often shy away from, turning it into something very positive and uplifting. This book is a gift to all of us who struggle with life and death and all its jagged edges." - Ray Mattinson, Blackwell, Oxford "A moving and revealing depiction of the reality of dementia. Told tenderly with love and respect, it is a celebration of humanity in difficult times and a testament to the importance of understanding one another." - Claire Grint, Cogito Books, Hexham"Definitely a 'one sitting' read. The book engages the reader and takes them into Arno and his father's world. Sad, happy, insightful and gripping, a story that many will recognise from their own experiences." - Alan Jessop, Compass Independent Publishing Services " The Old King in his Exile completely confounded my expectations. It is the history of a man, of a family, of a country, and of an entire way of life, told with a novelist's hand, and a poet's touch. It has the power to speak to and to change our deepest fears, about our fate, and the fates of our loved ones, and that is a rare power indeed." - James Elliott, Daunt's Fulham Road, London "A deeply affecting examination of the hope to be found amidst illness and loss. Geiger writes with clear eyes and an open heart." - Marion Rankine, Foyles Charing Cross Road, London "Geiger writes about family, old age and illness with elegant poignancy and the kind of wisdom that only comes from painful experience, but there is strength and hope here too. This is writing that warms your heart even as it breaks it." - Jenny Buckland, Heywood Hill Bookshop, London "I loved everything about The Old King in His Exile and read it in one sitting. A really moving (both sad and joyous) treat." - Richard Reynolds, Heffers Bookshop, Cambridge "A love letter from a son to his father, The Old King in His Exile completely avoids sentimentalism, yet is never lacking in humour and compassion. It made me realise that the sum of a life is the whole life and not just its ending." - Claire Harris, Lutyens & Rubinstein, London "Arno Geiger invites us to share in precious time spent with his father and it feels like an honour to do so. Always honest about the brutal realities of dementia, Geiger nevertheless looks for the man and not the illness. With prose so beautifully simple yet striking it begs you to read passages aloud, I doubt there is anybody who could read this book and not be deeply moved." - Danielle Culling, Mr B's Emporium, Bath "This book is startlingly unsentimental, and yet a painful and touchingly realised picture of dementia, and the way it alters relationships between the sufferer and the people closest to them. It is incredibly relatable and emotionally provocative, but it also becomes a more general meditation on life and the continuous process of aging." - Lewis Wood, Topping & Co, St Andrews "

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