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The Old King in his Exile

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  1,565 ratings  ·  188 reviews
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 or ...more
Kindle Edition, 148 pages
Published January 12th 2017 by And Other Stories (first published 2011)
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Average rating 4.09  · 
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 ·  1,565 ratings  ·  188 reviews

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Diane S ☔
Jan 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lor
The author up with his family in Wolford, Austria. His father always had his quirks, his own way of doing things so when he first started exhibiting strange behavior, the author thought it had to do with stress and the fact that his long marriage to his mother had broken. He freely admits the family was frustrated and sometimes impatient with these new behaviors. It, of course turned out to be much more serious, Alzheimer disease, and the author had to adjust his own thinking, find a new way to ...more
lark benobi
This memoir surprised me so much. It mapped out a new definition of "honest" for me. Most of the time reviewers call a memoir "honest" when it tells everything, every tiny excruciating detail of what (usually bad) thing happened to the memoirist. This writing is honest because of its restraint. It's honest for the way Geiger elucidates his own frequent failings--failing to always be patient with a father with Alzheimers, for example--as being normal, and human. He doesn't blame himself, or defen ...more
Martin Remy
Oct 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a lovingly written, often funny and sometimes haunting memoir about the author's experience of his father's advancing Alzheimer's. The writing is lucid, which provides a sharp contrast to the father's dimming grasp on reality. The father, August Geiger, was born in a small Austrian village, and after a stint in Eastern Europe during World War II, which left him with a deep longing to "just be at home", he returned to his village to become a respected town functionary, and he never wants ...more
M. Sarki
Dec 14, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Written in a relaxed and informal manner, Arno Geiger manages to soberly show the ravages on family and loved ones due to dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Though stricken by such a terrible long and drawn-out death sentence, his father August, being extremely intelligent and clever, offers several moments of joy, clarity, and fascination with what remains of his shrinking world and love for language. But no longer able to care for their sick father, and f
Dec 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biography, w-austria
i really wish if I've read this book while my dad was still here so i could understand him better..
it's beautiful how they've made the illness as a strength point not a weakness and how the father son relationship had grown closer.
Feb 04, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
A very touching and wise book about the author's father who is suffering from Alzheimer's. It's a very calm and gentle portrait of his father and his changing relationship to him, as well as a means of coming to terms with death and disease. In between there are snippets of conversations with him, where you get a feeling of how it must be like if the world around you doesn't make sense anymore because your brain won't let it. The tone of the book is very matter-of-fact, but at the same time full ...more
Sep 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is one of the best books I've ever read, It touched me personally and deeply. it taught me a lot about how to deal with my Alzheimer's patient. I loved every little story in it.. every qoute of his father's words. anyone who has somone with Alzheimer's should read it.

"ذات مرة عندما مددت يدي لأصافحه، أسي لحالي؛ لأن يدي كانت باردة، فقلت له أني أتيت لتوي من الخارج حيث تمطر فأخذ يدي بين يديه وقال:
« افعلوا ماعليكم فعله، أما أنا فسأبقى لأدفّئ هذه اليد»"
May 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
Deeply moving, humane and honest book about the author's father struggle with dementia. Set in a village in the Austrian alps, it is also about a family who had to deal with the aftermath of war and deep changes in village life throughout the years. ...more
Amira Abdou
Jan 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A very humanistic book about Alzheimer's disease and different aspects of life....the patient's continuous search for home is a real challenge in dementia and has different meanings ...more
Jill Meyer
Jan 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Watching a parent or other loved one disappear into the mists of Alzheimer's disease is neither easy to watch or, I assume, easy to write about. But Austrian author, Arno Geiger, writes a beautiful memoir about his father's decline. Arno certainly learned more about his father's life and thoughts by tending August Geiger as he helped him reconnoiter his changing life and the book speaks to a closeness the two achieved.

August Geiger was a sort of Austrian "every man". Born in 1926, he lived in th
Ford Prefect
This book makes you want to call your parents.

So if I did not have to rate it, I would not rate it because it is hard to categorize this book and regard it in something to enjoy. Eventually it is neither a non fiction or a fiction book. A biographic book its the closest it comes although the strength is defiantly the non fiction elements. In this book it is the part where it teaches us so much about the illness of the authors father, the DEMENTIA ILLNESS.

This book is not to be meant to be writt
Nov 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A loving account of the author's father's journey into Alzheimer's, it beautifully reveals and reminds us that there is so much more to our being and to our brains than the exacting shell of our words and our logical and dialectic pursuits. It takes the veil off and presents our usual intellect as barely containing and merely residing on top of so much more, where the heart, character and soul are and how we are really connected. ...more
Feb 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
One of the most touching books I have ever read. Simple, honest and funny. It also changed the way I thought about dementia.
Jennifer Welsh
Aug 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A wonderfully written account of a father son relationship, and the father’s dementia.
Sorayya Khan
Dec 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
The book is soulful, full of love for a father disappearing before a son's eyes. It is a window into the horror of dementia, but it also suggests what remains -- character and love -- for caregiver and patient alike. I loved the patience of the story, a quiet pacing that matches years of illness, while the stark reality of death and loss hangs over it. ...more
Sarah Hopkins
Apr 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
A poignant memoir about accepting a Dad's dementia. Snippets show an endearing empathy for his Dad adjusting, such as when they go to his workshop. His Dad admits he feels he has lost some mental ability which precludes him from continuing in woodwork yet his son says "you've still got a lot even if it's not what people normally measure as performance" and his Dad comments that he enjoys simply spending time with him there.
There is also a quantity of daily detail like his Dad's continued habit
Jun 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Heartwarming. Translation felt a bit wierd however
Pablo Conca
Jul 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020
A pleasing, humourous requiem for a living person, fading away.
Claire O'Sullivan
Feb 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017-reads
I really enjoyed this book. Gentle, lovely and profound. Read with Blackwell's Newcastle. Will be discussing 22.02.17 ...more
James Kinsley
Jan 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I think any book that puts tears in my eyes deserves five stars. A powerfully affecting read, not despite of, but actually because of the simple, straightforward matter-of-fact tone most of it strikes. The emotional heft comes not through manipulation, by stressing the horror of Alzheimers, but through the author's simple acceptance of the man his father becomes. The lesson seems to be that even when someone we love is going through something awful, that love can still be a source of joy and com ...more
this was pretty boring and uneventful
Oct 02, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I am not taken by this book. It is too much of a set of edited/unedited notes by a famous writer observing his father go down, his own responses to it, in the framework of playing the famous writer. Yuk.
Aug 27, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2015
this is a very personal book and - as far as i am able to judge - a very accurate depiction of dementia reality. it was quite a quick read for me, i kind of wished it would have lasted longer and gone deeper. can't put my finger on it, it might not even be the book. ...more
Aug 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Natasa Tovornik
Lovely book about a son and father developing a relationship with / despite father's Alzheimer. A lot of sound words and views. Loved it. ...more
Jan 04, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
very touching. it's all to come. perhaps. ...more
May 26, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
Fascinating narratio about how to bond with the "old king" (the author's father), in his mental Alzheimer-exile. Beautiful. ...more
Dec 31, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Real situations described in a funny harmless way. Recommend it for all people in order to communicate better with our parents and grandparents.
Feb 14, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
read it in one afternoon. fragmented but still fascinating and moving. read it in Dutch. did not care much for the translation
May 19, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: german
na dřeň.
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Geiger grew up in the village of Wolfurt near Bregenz. He studied German studies, ancient history and comparative literature at the universities of Innsbruck and Vienna. He has worked as a freelance writer since 1993. From 1986 to 2002, he also worked as a technician at the annual Bregenzer Festspiele summer opera festival.

In 1996 and in 2004, he took part in the Ingeborg-Bachmann-Preis competitio

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