Austerliz (Paperback) - Sebald, Winfried Georg

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Product Overview

In this story of an orphan's quest for his heritage after World War II, Sebald embodies in Austerlitz the universal human search for identity, the struggle to impose coherence on memory, and a struggle complicated by the mind's defenses against trauma.

Specifications

Publisher Spanish Pubs Llc
Mfg Part# 9788433967817
SKU 204219362
Format Paperback
ISBN10 8433967819
Release Date 4/10/2007
Physical
Dimensions (in Inches) 8.25H x 5.5L x 0.75T
Author Info
W. G. Sebald
Winfried Georg Sebald (who preferred to be called "Max") grew up in a village in the Bavarian Alps. Educated in Germany, he held teaching posts in Switzerland but lived in England from the mid-1960s, teaching German at the University of East Anglia. He married a woman he met at university in Freiburg and had one daughter. Sebald died at the age of 57 when the car he was driving swerved into oncoming traffic; it was assumed he had a heart attack. His strange, lyrical, elliptical books are hard to classify: part fiction, part autobiography, part travelogue, part philosophical exploration of memory and exile, they evoke the phantasmagorical worlds of Borges and Kafka. Sebald, who had won many literary prizes, was widely discussed as a candidate for the Nobel Prize in literature.
Winfried Georg Sebald (who preferred to be called "Max") grew up in a village in the Bavarian Alps. Educated in Germany, he held teaching posts in Switzerland but lived in England from the mid-1960s, teaching German at the University of East Anglia. He married a woman he met at university in Freiburg and had one daughter. Sebald died at the age of 57 when the car he was driving swerved into oncoming traffic; it was assumed he had a heart attack. His strange, lyrical, elliptical books are hard to classify: part fiction, part autobiography, part travelogue, part philosophical exploration of memory and exile, they evoke the phantasmagorical worlds of Borges and Kafka. Sebald, who had won many literary prizes, was widely discussed as a candidate for the Nobel Prize in literature.
Praise
"AUSTERLITZ...is a kind of majestic and mysterious ruin....Yet for all its bleakness, this book, like Sebald's other books, is peculiarly invigorating and, dare one say, filled with hope, of no matter how tentative a variety. Sebald's voice is speaking out of the rubble, erecting the edifice of art."
"[AUSTERLITZ] is moving, rich, brilliant and also, sometimes, a plod. It makes Sebald's extraordinary connections; the vision is searching and desolate. What it too often lacks is the paradoxical lightness, the buoyant variety of the others. It is applied rather than experimental physics. It exercises Sebald's genius; the others enlarged it. Anthea Bell's translation is fine, but it doesn't match the clear counterpoint in the previous translations by Michael Hulse."
"It is never quite clear why Mr. Sebald decided to use the device of the narrator to frame Austerlitz's story, for this personage remains oddly passive throughout the book..., contributing few comments of his own....Despite the gratuitous device of the narrator, AUSTERLITZ possesses a harrowing emotional power reminiscent of that found in THE EMIGRANTS....Although AUSTERLITZ can be read as a kind of bookend to THE EMIGRANTS, it also serves as the perfect introduction to Mr. Sebald's work...while standing on its own as a powerful and resonant work of the historical imagination."
"[Sebald] is one of the most gripping writers imaginable. It's not the story so much that takes hold of the reader: it's the descriptions and the meditations, which can be hallucinatory in their effect. This is true of all his books, but in AUSTERLITZ the proportion of rumination and evocation to narrative is larger than ever. Just occasionally this seems self-indulgent. But it's not: perhaps intentionally, he is writing in the same genre Goethe used for his autobiography. Goethe called it...'fiction and fact'--and it gives the writer licence to put in whatever he wants, so long as it's interesting."
"The repetition of crucial motifs and perspectives and a certain narrowness of emotional range are major sources of his unsettling power, but they also leave the reader feeling that whole paragraphs could be transposed from one book to another without seriously affecting syntax and rhythm, all of Sebald's characters, irrespective of age or gender, sound remarkably similar to one another and, most of all, to the narrator himself....[F]or all its considerable strengths, AUSTERLITZ is also a highly problematic achievement. The numerous interminable hesitations and digressions, although thematically justifiable as Austerlitz's way of avoiding more disturbing, personal questions, are simply too long and too improbable to sustain one's interest....Sebald possesses an undeniably distinctive sensibility and tone, and his writing contains pages of hallucinatory intensity, but there is a weariness with the exigencies of fiction-making that becomes a serious limitation as the book goes on. Originality of voice, it turns out, is a necessary but not a sufficient criterion of literary greatness and, so far, for all the praise and the prizes, Sebald has not yet exhibited the latter."| - - -
"The slippage of memory has been the great preoccupation of [Sebald's] work, and with his remarkable new novel, AUSTERLITZ, the struggle to rectify that slippage becomes something more--a guiding principle, and perhaps the only recognizable substance, of our lives. As in his other work, Sebald never states this point outright....Instead, he elicits it elliptically, in a long series of stories that overlap each other, unexpectedly switch back and turn in on themselves....At the end of this dilatory, elaborately structured and evocative novel, then, we have forgotten altogether our original readerly suspicions about the reality of Austerlitz's story, and taken up the far more unsettling questions that it poses about the reality of our own."
From the Publisher
Annotation The narrator of Sebald's fourth novel meets Jacques Austerlitz in a railroad station, and from there their friendship continues, revolving around a series of conversations, ostensibly about architecture but soon expanding to include the details of Austerlitz's life. The narrator learns that he was separated from his true parents at the age of 5, when they were killed in the Holocaust, and raised in Wales with no knowledge of his past--a personal history he unraveled much later in life. The story is illustrated mysteriously with photographs of buildings and people. A New York Times "Editor's Choice" for 2001.
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