Christoph Simon

Zbinden’s Progress

Winner of the 2010 Bern Literature Prize

Lukas Zbinden leans on the arm of Kâzim, as they walk slowly down the stairway towards the door of his old people’s home. Step by step, the irrepressible Lukas recounts the life he shared with his wife Emilie and his son. She loved to walk in the countryside; he loved towns and meeting strangers. Different in so many ways, what was the secret of their life-long love? And why is it now so hard for him to talk to his son?

Gradually we get to know a man with a twinkle in his eye and learn the captivating story of this man, his late wife, their son and the many people he has met along the way. Zbinden’s Progress is heart-rending, heart-warming and hilarious.

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More Info

  • Zbinden’s Progress featured in World Literature Today’s ‘Notable translations 2012’ list, as well as in the London Review of Book‘s ‘Winter Selection 2012’ and Booktrust’s ‘Books we like: January 2013’.
  • And Other Stories’ Stefan Tobler has this to say about it: ‘At every page I realised the corners of my mouth were turning up involuntarily as I read. Full of glorious humour and lines I had to write down, it also tells us that another world is possible in our streets and with our families. I hope it gives you the lift it gave me!’
  • Zbinden’s Progress was one of the books discussed in the German-language Reading Group for Spring 2011. Readers loved its original style as well as its charm and emotional pull. The original title is Spaziergänger Zbinden.
  • If you subscribed to And Other Stories before before this book went to the printers, you would have received one of the limited number stamped, early copies of Zbinden’s Progress and up to 3 other And Other Stories 2012 titles. Find out about subscribing to upcoming titles here.
Print status: Available
Translator: Donal McLaughlin
Original language: German
Format: B-format paperback with flaps
Publication date (UK): 9 August 2012
Publication date (US): 1 January 2014
ISBN: 9781908276100
Ebook ISBN: 9781908276148
Availability: World
Number of pages: 192


Alexander Starritt
Times Literary Supplement

‘Zbinden invites comparison with Leo Tolstoy’s Ivan Ilych.’

Ian Sansom
The Guardian

‘With its slow pace and winning ways, Zbinden’s Progress casually sidles up and takes its place alongside a number of remarkable recent works [on] the art of taking a walk.’

Lucy Popescu
The Independent

‘A tender, restrained celebration of life’s simple pleasures, beautifully translated by Donal McLaughlin.’

Benjamin Morris
The Berlin Review of Books

Zbinden’s Progress is a delight: a warm, wise, and compassionate book, as attuned to the complexities and mysteries of life as it is to the simple, pleasing colours of its beloved walking-frames.'

Publishers Weekly

'The first-person narrative is pitch-perfect, capturing a slight formality indicative of Zbinden’s age and personality, as well as his natural yarn-spinner’s charm and desire to please.'