new arrival Austerlitz lowest high quality (Modern Library (Paperback)) online sale

new arrival Austerlitz lowest high quality (Modern Library (Paperback)) online sale

new arrival Austerlitz lowest high quality (Modern Library (Paperback)) online sale
new arrival Austerlitz lowest high quality (Modern Library (Paperback)) online sale__front

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Product Description

This tenth anniversary edition of W. G. Sebald’s celebrated masterpiece includes a new Introduction by acclaimed critic James Wood. Austerlitz is the story of a man’s search for the answer to his life’s central riddle. A small child when he comes to England on a Kindertransport in the summer of 1939, Jacques Austerlitz is told nothing of his real family by the Welsh Methodist minister and his wife who raise him. When he is a much older man, fleeting memories return to him, and obeying an instinct he only dimly understands, Austerlitz follows their trail back to the world he left behind a half century before. There, faced with the void at the heart of twentieth-century Europe, he struggles to rescue his heritage from oblivion.

Review

“[A] beautiful novel . . . quietly breathtaking . . . Sebald contrives not to offer an ordinary, straightforward recital. For what is so delicate is how Sebald makes Austerlitz’s story a broken, recessed enigma whose meaning the reader must impossibly rescue.”—James Wood, from the Introduction
 
“Sebald stands with Primo Levi as the prime speaker of the Holocaust and, with him, the prime contradiction of Adorno’s dictum that after it, there can be no art.”—Richard Eder, The New York Times Book Review
 
“Sebald is a rare and elusive species . . . but still, he is an easy read, just as Kafka is. . . . He is an addiction, and once buttonholed by his books, you have neither the wish nor the will to tear yourself away.”—Anthony Lane, The New Yorker

“Sebald’s final novel; his masterpiece, and one of the supreme works of art of our time.”—John Banville, The Guardian

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF 2001 BY
THE LOS ANGELES TIMES • NEW YORK MAGAZINE • ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY
 
Winner of the Koret Jewish Book Award,
the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize,
and the Jewish Quarterly Wingate Literary Prize
 
Translator Anthea Bell—Recipient of the Schlegel-Tieck Prize and
the Helen and Kurt Wolff Prize for
Outstanding Translation from German into English

About the Author

W.G. Sebald was born in Wertach im Allgau, Germany, in 1944. He studied German language and literature in Freiburg, Switzerland, and Manchester. He has taught at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England, since 1970, becoming professor of European literature in 1987, and from 1989 to 194 was the first director of the British Center for Literary Translation. His three previous books have won a number of international awards, including the Los Angeles Times Book Award for fiction, the Berlin Literature Prize, and the Literatur Nord Prize.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Chapter 1

In the second half of the 1960s I traveled repeatedly from England to Belgium, partly for study purposes, partly for other reasons which were never entirely clear to me, staying sometimes for just one or two days, sometimes for several weeks. On one of these Belgian excursions which, as it seemed to me, always took me further and further abroad, I came on a glorious early summer''s day to the city of Antwerp, known to me previously only by name. Even on my arrival, as the train rolled slowly over the viaduct with its curious pointed turrets on both sides and into the dark station concourse, I had begun to feel unwell, and this sense of indisposition persisted for the whole of my visit to Belgium on that occasion. I still remember the uncertainty of my footsteps as I walked all round the inner city, down Jeruzalemstraat, Nachtegaalstraat, Pelikaanstraat, Paradijsstraat, Immerseelstraat, and many other streets and alleyways, until at last, plagued by a headache and my uneasy thoughts, I took refuge in the zoo by the Astridplein, next to the Centraal Station, waiting for the pain to subside. I sat there on a bench in dappled shade, beside an aviary full of brightly feathered finches and siskins fluttering about. As the afternoon drew to a close I walked through the park, and finally went to see the Nocturama, which had first been opened only a few months earlier. It was some time before my eyes became used to its artificial dusk and I could make out different animals leading their sombrous lives behind the glass by the light of a pale moon. I cannot now recall exactly what creatures I saw on that visit to the Antwerp Nocturama, but there were probably bats and jerboas from Egypt and the Gobi Desert, native European hedgehogs and owls, Australian opossums, pine martens, dormice, and lemurs, leaping from branch to branch, darting back and forth over the grayish-yellow sandy ground, or disappearing into a bamboo thicket. The only animal which has remained lingering in my memory is the raccoon. I watched it for a long time as it sat beside a little stream with a serious expression on its face, washing the same piece of apple over and over again, as if it hoped that all this washing, which went far beyond any reasonable thoroughness, would help it to escape the unreal world in which it had arrived, so to speak, through no fault of its own. Otherwise, all I remember of the denizens of the Nocturama is that several of them had strikingly large eyes, and the fixed, inquiring gaze found in certain painters and philosophers who seek to penetrate the darkness which surrounds us purely by means of looking and thinking. I believe that my mind also dwelt on the question of whether the electric light was turned on for the creatures in the Nocturama when real night fell and the zoo was closed to the public, so that as day dawned over their topsy-turvy miniature universe they could fall asleep with some degree of reassurance. Over the years, images of the interior of the Nocturama have become confused in my mind with my memories of the Salle des pas perdus, as it is called, in Antwerp Centraal Station. If I try to conjure up a picture of that waiting room today I immediately see the Nocturama, and if I think of the Nocturama the waiting room springs to my mind, probably because when I left the zoo that afternoon I went straight into the station, or rather first stood in the square outside it for some time to look up at the façade of that fantastical building, which I had taken in only vaguely when I arrived in the morning. Now, however, I saw how far the station constructed under the patronage of King Leopold exceeded its purely utilitarian function, and I marveled at the verdigris-covered Negro boy who, for a century now, has sat upon his dromedary on an oriel turret to the left of the station façade, a monument to the world of the animals and native peoples of the African continent, alone against the Flemish sky. When I entered the great hall of the Centraal Station with its dome arching sixty meters high above it, my first thought, perhaps triggered by my visit to the zoo and the sight of the dromedary, was that this magnificent although then severely dilapidated foyer ought to have cages for lions and leopards let into its marble niches, and aquaria for sharks, octopuses, and crocodiles, just as some zoos, conversely, have little railway trains in which you can, so to speak, travel to the farthest corners of the earth. It was probably because of ideas like these, occurring to me almost of their own accord there in Antwerp, that the waiting room which, I know, has now been turned into a staff canteen struck me as another Nocturama, a curious confusion which may of course have been the result of the sun''s sinking behind the city rooftops just as I entered the room. The gleam of gold and silver on the huge, half-obscured mirrors on the wall facing the windows was not yet entirely extinguished before a subterranean twilight filled the waiting room, where a few travelers sat far apart, silent and motionless. Like the creatures in the Nocturama, which had included a strikingly large number of dwarf species-tiny fennec foxes, spring-hares, hamsters-the railway passengers seemed to me somehow miniaturized, whether by the unusual height of the ceiling or because of the gathering dusk, and it was this, I suppose, which prompted the passing thought, nonsensical in itself, that they were the last members of a diminutive race which had perished or had been expelled from its homeland, and that because they alone survived they wore the same sorrowful expression as the creatures in the zoo. One of the people waiting in the Salle des pas perdus was Austerlitz, a man who then, in 1967, appeared almost youthful, with fair, curiously wavy hair of a kind I had seen elsewhere only on the German hero Siegfried in Fritz Lang''s Nibelungen film. That day in Antwerp, as on all our later meetings, Austerlitz wore heavy walking boots and workman''s trousers made of faded blue calico, together with a tailor-made but long outdated suit jacket. Apart from these externals he also differed from the other travelers in being the only one who was not staring apathetically into space, but instead was occupied in making notes and sketches obviously relating to the room where we were both sitting-a magnificent hall more suitable, to my mind, for a state ceremony than as a place to wait for the next connection to Paris or Oostende-for when he was not actually writing something down his glance often dwelt on the row of windows, the fluted pilasters, and other structural details of the waiting room. Once Austerlitz took a camera out of his rucksack, an old Ensign with telescopic bellows, and took several pictures of the mirrors, which were now quite dark, but so far I have been unable to find them among the many hundreds of pictures, most of them unsorted, that he entrusted to me soon after we met again in the winter of 1996. When I finally went over to Austerlitz with a question about his obvious interest in the waiting room, he was not at all surprised by my direct approach but answered me at once, without the slightest hesitation, as I have variously found since that solitary travelers, who so often pass days on end in uninterrupted silence, are glad to be spoken to. Now and then they are even ready to open up to a stranger unreservedly on such occasions, although that was not the case with Austerlitz in the Salle des pas perdus, nor did he subsequently tell me very much about his origins and his own life. Our Antwerp conversations, as he sometimes called them later, turned primarily on architectural history, in accordance with his own astonishing professional expertise, and it was the subject we discussed that evening as we sat together until nearly midnight in the restaurant facing the waiting room on the other side of the great domed hall. The few guests still lingering at that late hour one by one deserted the buffet, which was constructed like a mirror image of the waiting room, until we were left alone with a solitary man drinking Fernet and the barmaid, who sat enthroned on a stool behind the counter, legs crossed, filing her nails with complete devotion and concentration. Austerlitz commented in passing of this lady, whose peroxide-blond hair was piled up into a sort of bird''s nest, that she was the goddess of time past. And on the wall behind her, under the lion crest of the kingdom of Belgium, there was indeed a mighty clock, the dominating feature of the buffet, with a hand some six feet long traveling round a dial which had once been gilded, but was now blackened by railway soot and tobacco smoke. During the pauses in our conversation we both noticed what an endless length of time went by before another minute had passed, and how alarming seemed the movement of that hand, which resembled a sword of justice, even though we were expecting it every time it jerked forward, slicing off the next one-sixtieth of an hour from the future and coming to a halt with such a menacing quiver that one''s heart almost stopped. Towards the end of the nineteenth century, Austerlitz began, in reply to my questions about the history of the building of Antwerp station, when Belgium, a little patch of yellowish gray barely visible on the map of the world, spread its sphere of influence to the African continent with its colonial enterprises, when deals of huge proportions were done on the capital markets and raw-materials exchanges of Brussels, and the citizens of Belgium, full of boundless optimism, believed that their country, which had been subject so long to foreign rule and was divided and disunited in itself, was about to become a great new economic power-at that time, now so long ago although it determines our lives to this day, it was the personal wish of King Leopold, under whose auspices such apparently inexorable progress was being made, that the money suddenly and abundantly available should be used to erect public buildings which would bring international renown to his aspiring state. One of the projects thus initiated by the highest authority in the land was the central station of the Flemish metropolis, where we were sitting now, said Austerlitz; designed by Louis Delacenserie, it was inaugurated in the summer of 1905, after ten years of planning and building, in the presence of the King himself. The model Leopold had recommended to his architects was the new railway station of Lucerne, where he had been particularly struck by the concept of the dome, so dramatically exceeding the usual modest height of railway buildings, a concept realized by Delacenserie in his own design, which was inspired by the Pantheon in Rome, in such stupendous fashion that even today, said Austerlitz, exactly as the architect intended, when we step into the entrance hall we are seized by a sense of being beyond the profane, in a cathedral consecrated to international traffic and trade. Delacenserie borrowed the main elements of his monumental structure from the palaces of the Italian Renaissance, but he also struck Byzantine and Moorish notes, and perhaps when I arrived, said Austerlitz, I myself had noticed the round gray and white granite turrets, the sole purpose of which was to arouse medieval associations in the minds of railway passengers. However laughable in itself, Delacenserie''s eclecticism, uniting past and future in the Centraal Station with its marble stairway in the foyer and the steel and glass roof spanning the platforms, was in fact a logical stylistic approach to the new epoch, said Austerlitz, and it was also appropriate, he continued, that in Antwerp Station the elevated level from which the gods looked down on visitors to the Roman Pantheon should display, in hierarchical order, the deities of the nineteenth century-mining, industry, transport, trade, and capital. For halfway up the walls of the entrance hall, as I must have noticed, there were stone escutcheons bearing symbolic sheaves of corn, crossed hammers, winged wheels, and so on, with the heraldic motif of the beehive standing not, as one might at first think, for nature made serviceable to mankind, or even industrious labor as a social good, but symbolizing the principle of capital accumulation. And Time, said Austerlitz, represented by the hands and dial of the clock, reigns supreme among these emblems. The clock is placed above the only baroque element in the entire ensemble, the cruciform stairway which leads from the foyer to the platforms, just where the image of the emperor stood in the Pantheon in a line directly prolonged from the portal; as governor of a new omnipotence it was set even above the royal coat of arms and the motto Endracht maakt macht. The movements of all travelers could be surveyed from the central position occupied by the clock in Antwerp Station, and conversely all travelers had to look up at the clock and were obliged to adjust their activities to its demands. In fact, said Austerlitz, until the railway timetables were synchronized the clocks of Lille and Liège did not keep the same time as the clocks of Ghent and Antwerp, and not until they were all standardized around the middle of the nineteenth century did time truly reign supreme. It was only by following the course time prescribed that we could hasten through the gigantic spaces separating us from each other. And indeed, said Austerlitz after a while, to this day there is something illusionistic and illusory about the relationship of time and space as we experience it in traveling, which is why whenever we come home from elsewhere we never feel quite sure if we have really been abroad. From the first I was astonished by the way Austerlitz put his ideas together as he talked, forming perfectly balanced sentences out of whatever occurred to him, so to speak, and the way in which, in his mind, the passing on of his knowledge seemed to become a gradual approach to a kind of historical metaphysic, bringing remembered events back to life. I shall never forget how he concluded his comments on the manufacture of the tall waiting-room mirrors by wondering, glancing up once more at their dimly shimmering surfaces as he left, combien des ouvriers périrent, lors de la manufacture de tels miroirs, de malignes et funestes affectations à la suite de l''inhalation de vapeurs de mercure et de cyanide. And just as Austerlitz had broken off with these words that first evening, so he continued his observations the following day, for which we had arranged a meeting on the promenade beside the Schelde.

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4.2 out of 54.2 out of 5
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Top reviews from the United States

CD in Maine
2.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A depressed and meditative fog
Reviewed in the United States on September 13, 2020
I don''t think I have ever read a book like "Austerlitz" before, or I should say that I don''t recall having a similar experience with any other book. Normally, when I am enjoying a book so little, I put it down, but for some reason I completed the book. Deep inside I must... See more
I don''t think I have ever read a book like "Austerlitz" before, or I should say that I don''t recall having a similar experience with any other book. Normally, when I am enjoying a book so little, I put it down, but for some reason I completed the book. Deep inside I must have felt that something would happen, something would change, or something would be revealed that made the point of the book evident, that demonstrated why this meticulous writer invested so much time in crafting this novel, but this revelation never occurred.

"Austerlitz" plods on and on at the same pace. The sentences, which are often elegant, run on for pages. The detailed descriptions of mundane physical surroundings are relentless. Scenes are rendered in such precise, boring detail that I wonder how or why the author would devote so much time this prose and why I should care. Something so unenjoyable to read can''t have been fun to write.

The main character wanders through life disconnected with his past and barely connected with his present. He seems to be looking at the world around him as a source of clues about his early childhood, yet he rarely makes connections and spends most of his time in a kind of depressed and meditative fog, as does the reader regrettably. While the book consists almost exclusively of his observations, we learn very little about his emotional life.

The story is told by a narrator who has befriended Austerlitz for reasons entirely unclear. Yet the voice of the book is so clearly that of Austerlitz that the author has to continually remind us that it is the narrator who is recounting what Austerlitz has told him. His device for providing this reminder is to repeat the words "said Austerlitz" every couple of pages just so we don''t lose track of the narrator''s existence entirely. I must not be smart enough to appreciate why this is interesting or necessary. I experienced it as an unnecessary annoyance.

There is an outline of a good story here. The protagonist was separated from his parents by the Nazis in early World War II Prague and never saw them again. He was raised by a taciturn minister and his wife in Wales and he became aware of his true story only over time. I found the portion of the book in which Austerlitz recalls his childhood to be reasonably entertaining, but for me the book deteriorated from there.

The author is clearly focused on the effects of memory and its impact on present experience. Because Austerlitz''s past is so unclear, and tragic, he never becomes an active participant in life except for those moments when he is chasing clues about his history. He is a keen observer of everything he sees and he experiences a level of detail in the world to which most people are oblivious. This ability or tendency to focus so finely could have been an interesting facet of his story if it were not made the entire narrative by the author.

There is a good novel to be written around this story, but it is not this one.
16 people found this helpful
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Alan J. Winnikoff
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
An Amazing Exploration of Memory - Reliable and Otherwise
Reviewed in the United States on July 19, 2019
This is an incredible novel but I can see where it''s not for everyone. It''s very slow and requires real work to get through it. But if you are willing to put in the effort and you truly love literature, you''ll get way more back from it. The author seems to choose each word... See more
This is an incredible novel but I can see where it''s not for everyone. It''s very slow and requires real work to get through it. But if you are willing to put in the effort and you truly love literature, you''ll get way more back from it. The author seems to choose each word so carefully, there is rarely if ever a misstep as he carries you along, with sentences and paragraphs that run for pages. Ultimately it''s a story of war and memory but really memory and how we process the events of our lives. Brilliant, enigmatic and, I will say, as a writer of fiction myself, intimidating as hell.
15 people found this helpful
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Richard Seltzer
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Intricately narrated tale of forgetting and remembering, a delayed holocaust story
Reviewed in the United States on June 13, 2021
Raised by foster parents in Wales, the narrator, as an adult, discovers his true name and origin and uncovers the fate of his parents. Some of the passages are brilliantly stated. For instance, triggered by moths flying around a lamplight - "... the sudden... See more
Raised by foster parents in Wales, the narrator, as an adult, discovers his true name and origin and uncovers the fate of his parents. Some of the passages are brilliantly stated.

For instance,
triggered by moths flying around a lamplight - "... the sudden inclusion of unreality into the real world, certain effects of light in the landscape spread out before us, or in the eye of a beloved person, that kindled our deepest feelings, or at least what we took for them." p 931

"We are not alone in dreaming at night for...perhaps moths dream as well, perhaps a lettue in the garden dreams as it looks up at the moon by night." p. 94

"We take almost all the decisive steps in our lives as a result of slight inner adjustments of which we are barely conscious." p. 134

"... as if the pictures had a memory of their own and remembered us, remembered the roles taht we, the survivors, and those no longer among us had played i your former lives." p.182

"... we understand the laws governing the return of the past, but I feel more and more as if time did not exist at all, only various spaced interlocking according to the rules of a higher form of stereometry, between which the living and the dead can move back and forth as they like, and the longer I think about it the more it seems to me that we who are still alive are unreal in the eyes of the dead..." p. 185

"At some time in the past, I thought, I must have made a mistake, and now I am living the wrong life." p. 212
"...reinforced the suspicion I had always entertained that the border between life and death is less impermeable than we commonly think..." p. 283

"It seems to me then as if all the moments of our life occupy the same space, as if future events already existed and were only waiting for us to find our way to them at last, just as when we have accepted an invitation we duly arrive in a certain house at a given time. And might it not be, continued Austerlitz, that we also have appointments to keep in the past, in what has gone before and is for the most part extinguished, and must gov there in search of places and people who have some connection with us on the far side of time..." pp. 257-258
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Dulene C.
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A study of life''s substance lost
Reviewed in the United States on July 14, 2016
It''s dark and obscure, despite its careful attention to detail. Perhaps that is what Sebald wants to communicate; how, ultimately, the history and meaning of our own lives recede into darkness and obscurity of civilization and time. Just as Austerlitz lost the trail of his... See more
It''s dark and obscure, despite its careful attention to detail. Perhaps that is what Sebald wants to communicate; how, ultimately, the history and meaning of our own lives recede into darkness and obscurity of civilization and time. Just as Austerlitz lost the trail of his own parents'' fortunes or misfortunes, his own life will eventually meet a similar fate. Those details, those clues of who we were... They are like the moth in the jar - a dead form, without the substance. This is a heavy read, but it is one that appeals to the mind, not the emotions. I liked it.
12 people found this helpful
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Bert Carelli
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A challenging, but rewarding read
Reviewed in the United States on March 6, 2016
Austerlitz challenges the reader with a flood of detailed descriptions, but the real story is what lies behind the visual depiction of Europe as it was transformed by the ravages of the Second World War, as it appears to Austerlitz, the main character, an architectural... See more
Austerlitz challenges the reader with a flood of detailed descriptions, but the real story is what lies behind the visual depiction of Europe as it was transformed by the ravages of the Second World War, as it appears to Austerlitz, the main character, an architectural historian by profession, in the latter part of the last century. The details stimulate repressed memories, and lead Austerlitz to search for the truth of what happened to his parents, who were victims of the Holocaust, how he came to survive, and how this determined the deeply damaged but very interesting person he became.
12 people found this helpful
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Daniel Myers
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
"For in that sleep of death, what dreams may come..."
Reviewed in the United States on March 4, 2013
I fully concur with another reviewer here that it''s best not to read any reviews or even the Introduction to Austerlitz before reading the narrative itself and forming one''s own impressions from this very impressionistic opus. Ergo, I shall only offer my own impressions as... See more
I fully concur with another reviewer here that it''s best not to read any reviews or even the Introduction to Austerlitz before reading the narrative itself and forming one''s own impressions from this very impressionistic opus. Ergo, I shall only offer my own impressions as a "review" of this perhaps unreviewable novel, if it can be called a novel:

The writing is splendid and hypnotic, accompanied by drawings and photographs throughout the book, which lent it, to me, a very morbid and chilling effect, to which I''ll return. The phrase of which the book kept reminding me is from Chapter Two of Joyce''s Ulysses:

"History, Stephen said, is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake."

So it is for narrator Austerlitz and the ghostly narrator who narrates Austerlitz''s narration until the end. Indeed, Austerlitz is pained and terrified by life itself, and both his own personal history and European history, at least of the 20th Century, come across as so ghastly to him as to be unreal. One continuing theme that is definitely in the novel and not a mere impression is a congress with and continued identification with the dead. But the way this is conveyed does leave a very striking impression - or, rather, did upon this reader - in the somewhat muffled quality of the prose describing Austerlitz''s wildered peregrinations across Europe, as if he were lost in a dream, or, rather, a nightmare, a sort of lurid, fleeting oneiric landscape. The photographs come more and more to seem as visions arising out of such a nightmare from which one awakes in terror...if one awakes. There came to be about all this, as I continued to allow myself to be towed in on the waves the hypnotic prose, what I can only call a "House of User effect," as if I, along with Austerlitz, was in the presence of something entombed, only half-alive, half in some other realm, or perhaps Austerlitz and I were the entombed ones. I''ll never know, but this is the ponderous question the book, when I finished it, posed for me: Are you quite sure of what you mean when you affirm that you dwell amongst the living, whilst others are dead?

To emphasise this, to me, overshadowing aspect of this book, a quote from Balzac, which Austerlitz gives us towards the end, seems in order. Austerlitz leaves it in the original, ornate 19th Century French, and any translation errors are mine own:

"I heard, or thought I heard, moanings rising from the world of corpses in the midst of which I was lying. And though the memory of these moments may be very shadowy, though my recollections be very confused, despite the impressions of sufferings altogether more profound than I have ever experienced and which have scrambled my ideas, there are nights when I believe I hear yet again these stifled groans."
31 people found this helpful
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bissett65
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Enigmatic, Powerful and Essential
Reviewed in the United States on June 28, 2014
This modern novel is a trip through time, place, memory and emotion. Sebald has delivered a book whose disparate elements, the presence of a ghost-like narrator, the monumental buildings, the train travel, faded photographs, discovered memories and the ever present spectre... See more
This modern novel is a trip through time, place, memory and emotion. Sebald has delivered a book whose disparate elements, the presence of a ghost-like narrator, the monumental buildings, the train travel, faded photographs, discovered memories and the ever present spectre of the Holocaust, are brought together in a tale which introduces us to its lead character, Jacques Austerlitz. Austerlitz is a man barely alive, whose peripatetic wanderings through the greater and mostly lesser monuments of European architecture from the 1960s until the present, mostly, symbolically, train stations, are recounted in a continuos narrative without chapters or pauses that reminded me of Joyce''s Dubliners, to an unnamed third-person narrator. Austerlitz''s tale as a survivor of the Kindertransport emerges, a man who gradually regains his lost childhood memories and sets out to discover the fate that befell his mother and father as Jews in WWII Central Europe.

It a tour de force, a blend of erudition and raw emotion. It is a difficult read, almost purposefully disorienting as we struggle to differentiate characters in the story and keep track of time and place, as Austerlitz himself does. Yet the book has a power that creeps up on you since its narrative tone is almost banal and many of the sentences flat and seemingly without emotion yet whose emotional impact is almost overwhelming and lingering. Sebald''s haunting book explores its central theme of the dislocation, destruction and void caused by the Holocaust embodied by our protagonist Austerlitz and it belongs among the most important literature devoted to the topic.
5 people found this helpful
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Harry
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
The empty space
Reviewed in the United States on March 16, 2018
How do you fill the empty space that’s the past? Especially if it’s a horrible past and your parents were deported by the Nazis. Sebald’s answer is you can’t. The narrator spends half his life trying to avoid his past and half his life trying to recover it. He fails at... See more
How do you fill the empty space that’s the past? Especially if it’s a horrible past and your parents were deported by the Nazis. Sebald’s answer is you can’t. The narrator spends half his life trying to avoid his past and half his life trying to recover it. He fails at both. This is a brutal book that provides no succor only the truth. That’ll have to suffice.
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Linda Davies
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Four Stars
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 19, 2018
Absolutely fascinating and memorable
Absolutely fascinating and memorable
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Irving Bernstein
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Absorbing read
Reviewed in Canada on February 18, 2021
Beautifully written/translated narrative that draws the reader in to its devastating conclusion.
Beautifully written/translated narrative that draws the reader in to its devastating conclusion.
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Ropena
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Extraordinario por su forma y contenido
Reviewed in Mexico on July 14, 2017
Extraordinaria novela. No es para aquellos que buscan lecturas fáciles pues su formato es de un post-modernismo impresionante. Pero, con pasajes inolvidables.
Extraordinaria novela. No es para aquellos que buscan lecturas fáciles pues su formato es de un post-modernismo impresionante. Pero, con pasajes inolvidables.
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Robert Pinch
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Arrived on time
Reviewed in Canada on January 14, 2021
It arrived on time and in good condition
It arrived on time and in good condition
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Nicholas Wade
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Austerlitz
Reviewed in Canada on February 12, 2013
Austerlitz A must read for anyone interested in the far reaching effects of wartime Europe. Sebald is also capable of brilliant insight into human nature related to natural, architectural and material experience.
Austerlitz

A must read for anyone interested in the far reaching effects of wartime Europe.
Sebald is also capable of brilliant insight into human nature related to natural, architectural and material experience.
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