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Austerlitz (Modern Library Paperbacks)
by Winfried Georg Sebald, Anthea Bell

Published: 2002-09-03
Paperback : 304 pages
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Austerlitz, the internationally acclaimed masterpiece by ?one of the most gripping writers imaginable? (The New York Review of Books), 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 ...
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Introduction

(Austerlitz, the internationally acclaimed masterpiece by ?one of the most gripping writers imaginable? (The New York Review of Books), 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, one Jacques Aus-terlitz 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, he 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.

If the mark of a great novel is that it creates its own world, drawing in the reader with its distinctive rhythms and reverberations, then W.G. Sebald's Austerlitz may be the first great novel of the new century. An unnamed narrator, resting in a waiting room of the Antwerp rail station in the late 1960s, strikes up a conversation with a student of architecture named Austerlitz, about whom he knows almost nothing. Over the next several years, the narrator often runs into his odd, engaging acquaintance by chance on his travels, until finally, after a gap of two decades, Austerlitz decides to tell the narrator the story of his life and of his search for his origins in wartime Europe. Slow and meditative, relying on the cumulative effect of its sedate, musical prose and its dark subject matter (illuminated here and there with hope), Sebald's novel doesn't overturn the conventions of fiction, but transcends them. It is a love story to history and vanished beauty. Don't let the slow beginning turn you away. Austerlitz takes its time getting off the ground, but is well worth seeing in flight. --Regina Marler

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Is ignorance bliss? Would Austerlitz been better off not knowing the horrors that befell his parents?
by [email protected] (see profile) 04/13/20

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  "Heritage Lost"by [email protected] (see profile) 04/13/20

"Austerlitz" is a heartrending novel about the awakening of nightmarish memories. When remembrance of things past tear down the protective mental walls confining Austerlitz's childhood terrors, his mind... (read more)

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