This is a vivid, unsentimental yet intensely moving portrayal of an old man who, in spite of his failing health, stubbornly continues to actively enjoy life - going to the pub, smoking and drinking, doing stonemason's jobs, observing and commenting on the people around him. His environment and social relationships - as well as those of his son, the narrator - are portrayed with great attention to detail, providing us with an unfamiliar, realistic and sometimes humorous picture of run-of-the-mill everyday life in a provincial part of Switzerland in the 1980s. In Epitaph for a Working Man, Erhard von Buren's laconic account, written from the son's viewpoint, is dispassionate and occasionally harsh, but it becomes a loving homage to the father. The old man's life is encapsulated in his final year: his toughness and his weakness, his dedication, his roughness and his gentleness.
Erhard von Buren was born in 1940. He has a PhD in Psychology and German philology from Zurich University. He has worked as a teacher in advanced teacher training. He lives in Solothurn, Switzerland and has published three novels: Abdankung: Ein Bericht (Zytglogge Verlag, Bern 1989), Wespenzeit (Rotpunktverlag, Zurich 2000) and Ein langer blauer Montag (verlag die brotsuppe, Biel/Bienne 2013) and won various literary awards, including the Literature Prize of the Canton of Solothurn in 2007. Helen Wallimann has an MA from Edinburgh University and has worked in publishing in Munich, Paris and London.