Troubador Epitaph for a Working Man

Released: 28/06/2015

eISBN: 9781784625634

Format: eBook

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Epitaph for a Working Man


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 Büren’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.

See an interview with the author about her book on https://youtube/8Fnd8_bE_x8

See an extract from the book in "China Eye", Spring 2020 issue, on

An extract was also published in the Winter 2021 issue of the "US-China Review".

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Helen Wallimann

Helen Wallimann was born and brought up in Cheltenham UK. After her MA from Edinburgh University she worked in publishing in Munich, Paris and London. From 1973 until 2001 she was employed as a teacher of French and English at the Kantonsschule Solothurn, Switzerland. She still lives in Solothurn today.

Helen Wallimann taught English at Chinese universities for two years (1989-90 and 2002-03). In 2008 and in 2011 she taught English didactics to Chinese schoolteachers in Gansu Province. To improve her understanding of Chinese culture she attended various courses and seminars on Chinese language and literature at Zurich University for about ten years from 2003.

Translations by Helen Wallimann:

- from Chinese: Several essays by Chinese artists and critics in Joerg Huber, Zhao Chuan (eds.), A New Thoughtfulness in Contemporary China, transcript Verlag, Bielefeld 2011 and The Body at Stake, transcript Verlag, Bielefeld 2013; Leung Ping-kwan, The Visible and the Invisible. Poems, MCCM creations, Hong Kong 2012.

- from German: Legends from the Swiss Alps, MCCM creations, Hong Kong 2015; Epitaph for a Working Man, Matador 2015; Wasp Days, Matador 2016; A Long Blue Monday, Matador 2018.

In China, 2003
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