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4.04 of 5 stars 4.04  ·  rating details  ·  7,227 ratings  ·  602 reviews
In de wachtkamer van het station van Antwerpen zit een man: jeugdig, met blond haar, zwarte wandelschoenen, een blauwe werkbroek en een oude rugzak, verdiept in het maken van aantekeningen en schetsen. De verteller van Austerlitz raakt gefascineerd en spreekt de man aan. Het is het begin van een relatie die zich door de decennia heen ontwikkelt en de verteller steeds meer ...more
Hardcover, 332 pages
Published July 2008 by De Bezige Bij (first published February 2001)
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Of all the kinds of reviews to write, the ecstatically enthusiastic ones are the worst, I think. No matter how much you try to pepper your review with big words and thoughtful commentary, you inevitably end up sounding like a gum-chomping tween girl squealing the paint off the walls about some boy band that looks like it should be directed to a hormone therapy ward.

Being openly enthusiastic about virtually anything can be tough—because it makes you vulnerable. It's like this: in a moment of wea
”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… 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 go there in search of places and people who have some connection with us on the far side of time, so to speak?”

I have trouble writing about Sebald. I read Th
Austerlitz fascinated me, but I couldn't say I loved it. Reading this book gave me the feeling of being jet-lagged somewhere in a strange city at three o'clock in the morning, having strange revelations that would seem bizarre in the daylight. Not a feeling I dislike, by any means. Sebald's attempts to find a prose style to match his explorations of memory and loss are beautiful and haunting, but for me at least the effect was more soporific than exhilarating. Maybe ‘hypnotic’ is a better word. ...more
K.D. Absolutely
Dec 18, 2009 K.D. Absolutely rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Tata J, Joseph
Recommended to K.D. by: 501, 1001, The Millions
The saddest book that I've read so far.

Imagine that you, at the age of 4, were separated from your parents during the war and you were raised by people who you thought were your real parents. Then towards your midlife, you knew that your biological parents were tortured and killed mercilessly but you did not have any concrete information about them except some vague assumptions? And that there were these scenes from that period that reside in the recesses of your mind but could not fully figure
Winfried Georg Sebald was born in Wertach, Bavaria, a Roman Catholic Alpine Village in Germany in 1944. He died in 2001 after suffering an aneurysm while driving with his daughter, Anna who survived the crash. He was 57 years old.

Sebald's father joined Hitler's army in 1933 and was interned in France after Germany's defeat in WWII until 1947. Georg Sebald re-enlisted when the new German army was established in 1954. The author was influenced by his grandfather, Josef Engelhofer, whose dependable
John David
Many reviewers have cited the difficulty of the prose in “Austeritz,” but I find this difficult to comprehend. Have they never read Proust? Joyce? Faulkner? Once one has survived these trials by fire, Sebald’s prose is comparatively accessible. Still others have claimed that this is a “Holocaust novel,” and I find this equally perplexing. Certainly, while Austerlitz’s childhood experience of being sent to England via Kindertransport away from his parents forms a locus for what little narrative d ...more
Di fronte a pagine monolitiche, prive di interruzioni e a capo, con periodi lunghi, ricerca del dettaglio e frequenti digressioni, ci si può perdere: ma non qui.
Le fotografie, bellissime, spezzano la lettura: e più ci si avvicina alla fine e più sembra che aumentino e compaiano anche le prime interruzioni, i primi spazi bianchi: proprio quando il libro sta per finire, e io non lo volevo affatto lasciare, volevo che continuasse, senza sosta.
C’è ancora tanta memoria del
Quem: um homem à procura da sua identidade
Quando: Segunda Guerra Mundial e anos posteriores
Onde (Quem): a Europa e os lugares, onde as recordações ficaram cativas à espera que a memória as liberte
A forma: monólogo ilustrado por fotografias
O conteúdo: a Memória o Tempo

O quê: uma obra-prima!

Há mais de uma semana que ando a tentar dizer algo sobre este livro, e qualquer texto que escrevo me parece oco e tolo. Quanto mais penso, mais grandioso me parece e mais me inibe. Por isso, fica aquela "coisa"
João Carlos
Vou começar pelo fim. O fim trágico de W. G. Sebald, escritor alemão nascido em 1944 e falecido em 14 de Dezembro de 2001, vítima de um acidente de automóvel, quando se despistou colidindo com um camião, em Norfolk, Reino Unido, onde vivia. A sua filha Anna, a outra ocupante da viatura, de apenas quatro anos sobreviveu a este dramático acidente rodoviário. Seis meses mais tarde a autópsia revela que Sebald sofrera um aneurisma cerebral como causa da sua morte.
“Austerlitz” fora publicado em 6 de
M. Sarki

I love the way Max Sebald writes. His language is rich and warm, quite sophisticated, but still accessible. I religiously claim W.G. Sebald as the master of all dream-state authorship. I have never read anyone so gifted at lulling one to sleep and slowly, unhurriedly, in some leisurely way, unsuspectingly knocking our heads off at the very same time. My problem with Austerlitz is that it just never happened for me. And this is the first time Sebald ever fa
While I think I liked 'The Rings of Saturn and 'The Emigrants' slightly better, Austerlitz is still a somber, stunning meditation on memory, loss and erasure. Sebald's writing has an incredibly deft touch, other authors would just bludgeon you over the head with the horrors of European destruction, but his exploration of forgotten or overlooked spaces and marginal lives feels so much 'realer' somehow than a more traditional focus on major monolithic events and persons. I've been to several of th ...more
Friederike Knabe
This has been a totally absorbing reread of this extraordinary and deeply reflective story on identity, memory and the loss of roots and family. It is without doubt one of those books that should be read more than once. Brilliantly translated by Anthea Bell, it is an intellectual feat and an emotional journey in either language. I have worked with it in both. Enriched by black/white photos, we find ourselves constantly moving between fact and fiction, at times in both at the same time.
MJ Nicholls
More meandering and glorious Sebaldian prose, with sentences callipered from 18thC German texts and respooled into post-war Wales, France and Germany, with one man’s attempt to comprehend the horrors of the Theresienstadt workcamp and—obliquely—the Holocaust. This novel is a longer, more distancing work than The Emigrants or Vertigo, both chopped into four chapters and separate narrative threads.

The framing device here is unusual, with the narrator (Sebald?) quoting long screeds of dialogue fro
Not so much a narrative as a book length meditation on memory in all its forms, personal, cultural, collective. Sentences that are like whole landscapes, images that linger and resonate, a main character that will haunt me for weeks to come. This is one that lives up to all the praise it has garnered. Idiosyncratic, impressive and deeply unsettling.
Josh Friedlander
In his seminal work of Jewish historiography, Zachor, Professor Yosef Chaim Yerushalmi differentiates between the concepts of history and memory, explaining how the Jewish tradition, while never developing the field of history recognisable to the Greeks via Herodotus and Thucydides, instead possessed the concept of memory, which entails the transformation of a historical event into a constantly present signifier, something like a societal tattoo, through means of rituals and recital of texts. To ...more
Robert Ronsson
When I told a mate, who is a fine man and whose opinion I respect, that I found Sebald's The Rings of Saturn difficult, he said, 'Read Austerlitz, you cantankerous old git. It's even better than Rings. Austerlitz is his Meisterwerk.' So I paid good money and started to read.

I reached page 218 before giving up. (I joked to my mate that this was halfway through the first paragraph but actually there may have been a few paragraph breaks up to this point.) Here is the sentence that did it for me. I
It's hard to describe how beautiful Sebald's prose is. The sinuous sentences careered effortlessly down the page. Much credit must be given to the translators--I couldn't believe I was reading something that was originally written in German. The juxtaposition of history, architecture, and photography combined with Proustian ruminations on time and existence were transporting and really created those moments of poetic ecstasy that keep people reading Literature with a capital L. My one reservatio ...more
This was the last of Sebald’s four novel/nonfiction/who knows books that I hadn’t read. All of the familiar Sebald themes were present: the fluid nature of memory, Holocaust, architecture, anxiety, disenchantment, the dislocation of “home,” etc. etc. etc. If you are fascinated by these things and don’t especially care about plot, you will like Sebald.

I think these things are fascinating—so fascinating that I typically write about them myself. In fact, Sebald has written everything that I want to
Why the hell did I decide to read Holocaust fiction on Christmas Eve? Granted, this was a breathtaking book, but still.

Page long sentences, reflections on memory, the past, architecture, ruins, history, atrocity, etc., etc. It's really good. Don't take my word for it with this review and just read it. Although preferably in a time when you can afford to be melancholy and brooding.
Emilian Kasemi

Time is the substance I am made of. Time is a river which sweeps me along, but I am the river.
- Jorge Luis Borges

"Time, said Austerlitz in the observation room in Greenwich, was by far the most artificial of all our inventions, and in being bound to the planet turning on its own axis was no less arbitrary than would be, say, a calculation based on the growth of trees or the duration required for a piece of limestone to disintegrate, quite apart from the fact that the solar day which we take as o
Terminar este livro é ficar com a sensação de ter estado num frágil bote sobre a crista de uma onda, no mar alto. Conforme a maré das memórias de Austerlitz, assim o bote vogava melancolicamente pela vida de Jacques Austerlitz, a criança judia que cresceu na vila rural de Bala, Gales, e passou a sua vida de adulto a procurar as suas raízes até, finalmente, conseguir enfrentar o monstro nazi que destruiu a sua família.
May 28, 2014 Alison rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: writers of fiction and memoir, and people who like illustrations in their books.
Recommended to Alison by: Everybody was reading it, but Rebecca actually talked to me abou
I've moved my review here:

Thanks very much!
Semplicemente: capolavoro.
Perché la storia, siamo noi.

Questo libro richiede di saper volare, di avere ali grandi che possano seguire le correnti, e che permettano di ascendere oltre le nuvole, di planare dolcemente e di atterrare senza farsi male.

Ho iniziato la lettura immaginando di andare a sbattere contro il muro delle sue pagine fitte fitte di scrittura, nessun acapo, forse un dialogo o due, nessuna divisione in capitoli, alcune fotografie, apparato iconografico che funge da testimone visivo
Sebald's last novel, Austerlitz, is an intelligent, perspicacious work whose final message warns against the "dissolution, in line with the inexorable spread of processed data, of our capacity to remember" and the "increasingly importunate urge to break with everything which still has some living connection to the past."

Austerlitz is set strongly against the backdrop of the Holocaust, in particular, but Sebald makes us see those warnings as generally applicable to all of our histories. He publis
Tanuj Solanki
what is a documentary? what can be the scope of a documentary? what are the conditions of a documentary?

when the documentarian meets his subject out of sheer chance, without any agenda, any desire, does it improve the documentary? when the the documentary is made in retrospect, is it still a documentary?

and what does this say of chance?

is the connection between our individual narratives easiest found in the ruins we collectively inherit?

or is the more conspicuous act, that of the reconstruction
Justin Evans
I couldn't do it. I really wanted to finish this book. I finish every book I start, and even if I hate them, I enjoy writing scathing reviews. But as my wife pointed out, life is too short. It's not just the execrable prose style, which I'm sure is intentional and has some theoretical justification. It's not the photos- I quite like the idea of photos in novels. It's not just the idiotic attempts to be highbrow, by referencing Wittgenstein (whom the narrator thinks is a 'dark thinker'!) And it's ...more
When I discovered W.G. Sebald, I read Vertigo first, and then The Emigrants and The Rings of Saturn. Minutes after I read the final page of The Rings of Saturn, I flipped it over and began again. I read that book six times, maybe seven. Still I avoided Austerlitz. Maybe I was saving the finest for last or maybe it was fear: fear of the subject matter, fear that the book would fail my expectations, fear that it would be too good. When finally I read it (nearly straight through, though its complic ...more
Before Austerlitz I was only dimly aware of W.G. Sebald's literary reputation. By this I mean that I knew it was serious and well-established. Then in late 2011 I read James Wood's gloss in the London Review of Books which solidified my curiosity. Having now finished Austerlitz I can only acknowledge the praise as well deserved and agree that Sebald's untimely death in 2001 was a tragedy for literature. The book, to be blunt, is simply amazing and a text that needs to be, as is often stated, cha ...more
May 13, 2009 Tyler rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Tyler by: Book Award; Various Reviews
Using a fractured frame narrative, Sebald turns this book into a resplendent meditation on how qualities triumph over cold facts, and how impressions reshape memory, time, and space. An example will make the author's style clearer. As we follow a man’s journey to recapture the past, watch how Sebald describes a dingy London train station. The speaker, Austerlitz, finds himself ...

... unable to move from the spot, with my face raised to the icy gray light, like moonshine, which came through the w

I have read 160 pages of 414. I am giving this book up. It is not to my taste. Just as as in the last book I read, Far to Go, this is about those children who escaped Nazi cpntrolled countries through Kindertransport during WW2. In both books the child was transported away from Czechoslovakia. Both children were about 5-6 years of age. Both books are about those children who never again are united with thêir parents, about children who only at an adult age realize they were born in
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All About Books: Austerlitz by W.G. Sebald (Evelyn, Dhanarah, Jenny, Gill, Laura and anyone else) 84 38 Feb 01, 2015 09:00AM  
Austerlitz By W.G. Sebald 4 89 Jan 06, 2015 03:00PM  
  • Celestial Harmonies
  • London Orbital
  • Spring Flowers, Spring Frost
  • Transit
  • In the Forest
  • Shroud
  • Schooling
  • Islands
  • Small Remedies
  • Wittgenstein's Nephew
  • Thursbitch
  • Patterns of Childhood
  • The German Lesson
  • That They May Face The Rising Sun
  • The Radetzky March  (Von Trotta Family #1)
  • Gabriel's Gift
  • Nowhere Man
  • Sybil, or the Two Nations
Winfried Georg Maximilian Sebald was a German writer and academic. His works are largely concerned with the themes of memory and loss of memory (both personal and collective) and decay (of civilizations, traditions or physical objects). They are, in particular, attempts to reconcile himself with, and deal in literary terms with, the trauma of the Second World War and its effect on the German peopl ...more
More about W.G. Sebald...
The Rings of Saturn The Emigrants Vertigo On the Natural History of Destruction After Nature

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“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.” 66 likes
“We take almost all the decisive steps in our lives as a result of slight inner adjustments of which we are barely conscious.” 31 likes
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