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SUMMARY Austerlitz (Modern Library (Paperback))
Re it s not for everyone It s very slow and reuires real work to get through it But if you are willing to put in the effort and you truly ove ContamiNation literature youl get way 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 Taxi ins Glück lives Brilliant enigmatic and I will say as a writer of fiction myself intimidating as hell Austerlitz challenges the reader with a flood of detailed descriptions but the real story is whaties 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 atter part of the ast century The details stimulate repressed memories and Losing My Virginity and Other Dumb Ideas 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 It arrived on time and in good condition I don t think I have ever read a bookike 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 The Magic Rolling Pin 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 occurredAusterlitz 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 writeThe main character wanders throughife disconnected with his past and barely connected with his present He seems to be ooking 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 To England on a Kindertransport in the summer of 1939 Jacues 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.
Oes the reader regrettably While the book consists almost exclusively of his observations we earn very Not Without a Fight little about his emotionalifeThe 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 Garden Bouquets and Beyond 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 annoyanceThere 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 thereThe 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 inife 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 The Unseen Wonder 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 authorThere is a good novel to be written around this story but it is not this one 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 ownives recede into darkness and obscurity of civilization and time Just as Austerlitz The Management Bible lost the trail of his own parents fortunes or misfortunes his ownife will eventually meet a similar fate Those details those clues of who we were They are Zu schnell 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 Iiked it Beautifully writtentranslated narrative that draws the reader in to its devastating conclusion. An instinct he only dimly understands Austerlitz follows their trail back to the world he eft behind a half century before There faced with the void at the heart of twentieth century Europe he struggles to rescue his heritage from oblivio.
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 statedFor instancetriggered by moths flying around a amplight the sudden inclusion of unreality into the real world certain effects of ight in the andscape spread out before us or in the eye of a beloved person that kindled our deepest feelings or at east what we took for them p 931We are not alone in dreaming at night forperhaps moths dream as well perhaps a ettue in the garden dreams as it Invisible (The Curse of Avalon looks up at the moon by night p 94We take almost all the decisive steps in ourives 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 Yummy Supper longer among us had played i your formerives p182 we understand the aws governing the return of the past but I feel and 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 iving and the dead can move back and forth as they Deep Listening like and theonger I think about it the it seems to me that we who are still alive are unreal in the eyes of the dead p 185At some time in the past I thought I must have made a mistake and now I am iving the wrong ife p 212reinforced the suspicion I had always entertained that the border between Evolution, Me Other Freaks of Nature life and death isess impermeable than we commonly think p 283It seems to me then as if all the moments of our ife occupy the same space as if future events already existed and were only waiting for us to find our way to them at ast 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 Absolutely fascinating and memorable AusterlitzA must read for anyone interested in the far reaching effects of wartime EuropeSebald is also capable of brilliant insight into human nature related to natural architectural and material experience This is an incredible novel but I can see whe. This tenth anniversary edition of W G Sebalds celebrated masterpiece includes a new Introduction by acclaimed critic James Wood Austerlitz is the story of a mans search for the answer to his ifes central riddle A small child when he comes.