Austerlitz

Austerlitz

Paperback - 2002
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Over the course of a thirty-year conversation unfolding in train stations and travelers' stops across England and Europe, W.G. Sebald's unnamed narrator and Jacques Austerlitz discuss Austerlitz's ongoing efforts to understand who he is. An orphan who came to England alone in the summer of 1939 and was raised by a Welsh Methodist minister and his wife as their own, Austerlitz grew up with no conscious memory of where he came from.

W.G. Sebald embodies in Austerlitz the universal human search for identity, the struggle to impose coherence on memory, a struggle complicated by the mind's defenses against trauma. Along the way, this novel of many riches dwells magically on a variety of subjects -- railway architecture, military fortifications; insets, plants, and animals; the constellations; works of art; the strange contents of the museum of a veterinary school; a small circus; and the three capital cities that loom over the book, London, Paris, and Prague -- in the service of its astounding vision.
Publisher: [Toronto] : Vintage Canada, 2002, c2001.
Edition: Vintage Canada ed. --
ISBN: 9780676974348
0676974341
Branch Call Number: FIC Sebal
Characteristics: 298 p.
Additional Contributors: Bell, Anthea

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adam_cooper Feb 11, 2014

Austerlitz will take you on a haunting journey through the labyrinth of time and memory probing the latent trauma in post-holocaust Europe. Part travelogue, part fictional biography, part esoteric architectural history lesson Austerlitz, like all Sebald's books, defies easy categorization. Suffice to say this is the work of a genius.

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