“I can assure you that no movie will ever achieve the speed of prose. Human beings just haven’t realized that yet.” —Jürg Laederach.
With tongue resolutely in cheek, saxophonist, critic, poet, and one-time enfant terrible of Swiss literature Jürg Laederach here pursues the ambition of forcing all of human existence into a single novel. The Whole of Life tells the story of a man, Robert “Bob” Hecht, in three sections: “Job,” about work and looking for work; “Wife,” about sex during a bout of impotence; and “Totems and Taboos,” in which Bob himself ruminates on the limitlessness of human limitation. In Life, space is compressed to the suffocating dimensions of a single mind, while single moments are expanded cubistically into entire landscapes. Bodies are vivisected and reassembled, and language is invaded, exploded, and reassembled. The Whole of Life sees Laederach composing a novel by taking it apart as he goes.