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On The Table Read, “The Best Book Reader Magazine in the UK“, Exit – The Last Year With My Father has been translated from the original German by Iris Hunter. Ueli Oswald offers a frank and deeply touching account of a person electing assisted dying as their way to exit this world.

Exit The Last Year With My Father by Euli Oswald on The Table Read
Exit – The Last Year With My Father

An accomplished and personal recounting of a situation that none of us relish finding ourselves in, Ueli Oswald’s Exit – The Last Year with My Father centres on one of the most contentious issues of modern times – assisted dying – and the author’s decision to support his father’s wishes.

Exit – The Last Year With My Father

Honest, touching and often disturbing, the book shares the time father and son spent in the year running up to Heinrich Oswald’s date with the ‘angels of death’.  From initial reconcilement to supporting and being present at his father’s liberation from a life he no longer wanted, Ueli Oswald’s eloquent and candid insights linger long after reading.

In sharing his story Ueli Oswald (author, journalist, and formerly publishing director of renowned literary monthly NZZ Folio) has preserved his father’s memory as a courageous man determined to die on his terms to history and produced a noteworthy and substantive contribution to the ongoing assisted dying debate.

“Today, you said it plainly: you have had enough.  Not tired of life, just had enough. This is why you want to put an end to it, sooner rather than later.  I know you – you won’t be deterred.  When one has had enough, whether with life or with food, it is the same; one doesn’t want anymore.  You will be ninety soon.  I hope that you have, at least, enjoyed life.”

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Assisted Dying

I have known Father’s attitude to people deciding to die ever since his sister opted to take her own life when she was ninety.  Then, when my mobile rang, I was lost in the vast asphalted desert of an American supermarket car park.  

Father’s voice was so spherically distorted that it sounded as if he was reading out a military bulletin. ‘Sudden heart failure’ he would have me believe.  He dished up a story that was hard to credit and whose parts did not match up.  It was our mother who, a few weeks later, enlightened us about the actual state of affairs.  The half-truth was, in effect, one great big lie, and she was unwilling to leave it at that.

Only then did Father talk to me and my brother Martin.  Our aunt had departed this life helped by an assisted dying organisation.  Father had stood by her, helping with the preparations and then held her hand when she accepted the potion from the ‘angel of death’.  He made no secret of the fact that he saw this as an option for himself.  Mother wanted to hear nothing about it.  She had always vehemently rejected suicide and disapproved of Father’s intention ‘to cut and run’.

Euli Oswald on The Table Read
Ueli Oswald

That was the answer to your problems even then, wasn’t it?  The plan you had hatched with your favourite sister, should your lives not end the way you each wanted.

Reading Never Goes Out of Style

Ueli Oswald

Ueli Oswald, born in Zurich in 1952, trained as a photographer in London and Hamburg, before studying ethnology and journalism at the University of Zurich.  After ten years as a journalist, he became publishing director of the renowned literary monthly NZZ Folio.  He launched his book-writing career with Ausgang, and the success of this book put Ueli Oswald at the centre of the issues associated with assisted dying. 

After a series of perceptive memoirs and biographies, he published his first novel in 2018, Das Vergessen ist ein Dieb. March 2022 saw the publication of another novel, entitled ‘Ich weine nicht, weil ich getötet habe, ich weine um Susanna’: Aus dem Leben eines Guerrilleros (Edition 8).

Exit – The Last Year With My Father was translated from its original German by Iris Hunter.

Find more now:

Published by Perfect Publishers, Exit – The Last Year With My Father is available in paperback (£10.82) in most good booksellers around the world and in Kindle format (£7.39) at https://amzn.to/3JOtfjV and https://amzn.to/3JHhCLI respectively

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