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4.04  ·  Rating Details ·  9,728 Ratings  ·  824 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 2001)
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Apr 10, 2012 David rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Violet wells
Feb 18, 2014 Violet wells rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: holocaust
There’s something reminiscent of an archaeological dig about Austerlitz – the quest to piece back together a missing life by sifting through layers of the past. The finds often appearing random and impenetrable until eventually a cypher is discovered.

Austerlitz reads like the autobiography of an academic, recounted in instalments to the stranger he repeatedly meets in various locations, who has lived a hermetic and fruitless life. You’re never quite sure if you’re reading biography or fiction,
Michael Finocchiaro
W. G. Sebald's Austerlitz is an austere but beautiful narrative within a narrative about identity and loss with the Holocaust as a looming backdrop. The narrator (unnamed) records conversations with Joseph (Jacques) Austerlitz whom he meets a few times by chance and later at the whim of Austerlitz. This secondary narrator talks about his life before discovering his origins and the incredible quest across the Czech Republic, Germany, and France to find memories of his mother and father. There wer ...more
Dec 13, 2013 Geoff rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
”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
Sep 04, 2016 Pantelis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
W.G Sebald was a master psychogeographer (I refer you to my future reviews of Vertigo and The Rings of Saturn).... But Max will also be remembered as an historian of amnesia, of individual and collective amnesia towards individual and collective history. Austerlitz is a narrative about the end of this amnesia, a narrative about discovering the past, about acquiring a memory. Sebald recorded the end of his generation's amnesia, a condition that lasted at least until the late Nineties. The Cold Wa ...more
Sep 13, 2012 orsodimondo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: tedesca
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
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
Το Άσχημο
Διάβασα σε αυτό το μυθιστόρημα, την τρίτη πιο συναισθηματικά φορτισμένη φράση, που έχω συναντήσει ποτέ σε λογοτεχνικό έργο. Η πρώτη είναι η αρχή του θρήνου της Αντιγόνης: «Ω, τάφε μου, ω, νυφιάτικό μου, ω αιώνια, βαθιά στη γη, σκαμμένη κατοικιά μου». Η δεύτερη είναι τα λόγια του γιατρού Πασκάλ, στην «Περιουσία των Ρουγκόν», στο πεδίο της μάχης: «Elle est morte». Και η τρίτη υπάρχει σε αυτό το βιβλίο είναι κραυγή της ηλικιωμένης Βέρας που αναφωνεί: «Jacquot, dis, est-ce que c'est vraiment toi?» Κ ...more
Jean-Paul Werner Walshaw-Sauter


Lea Goldberg

Here I will not hear the voice of the cuckoo.
Here the tree will not wear a cape of snow.
But it is here in the shade of these pines
my whole childhood reawakens.

The chime of the needles: Once upon a time –
I called the snow-space homeland,
and the green ice at the river's edge -
was the poem's grammar in a foreign place.

Perhaps only migrating birds know -
suspended between earth and sky -
the heartache of two homelands.

With you I was transplanted twice,
with you, pine trees, I grew -
K.D. Absolutely
Nov 03, 2009 K.D. Absolutely rated it really liked it  ·  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
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
Απερίφραστα πια ο Μαξ Ζεμπαλντ μιλάει για το Ολοκαύτωμα μέσω της διηγησης της ζωής του Άουστερλιτς, του ξεριζωμού του, τη χαμένη και ξανακερδισμένη μνήμη. Διηγήσεις εγκιβωτισμένες η μια μέσα στην άλλη, διαδρομές απο την Ουαλία στην Πράγα, απο το Παρίσι στη Νυρεμβέργη, από το Λονδίνο στη Γερμανία κοκ. Και οτ θέμα πάλι η μνήμη, ο ξεριζωμός και, πολύ πιο έντονα απο τα άλλα βιβλία του, ο χρόνος. Με αρκετό φωτογραφικό υλικό και εδώ να φωτίζει λεπτομέρειες της διήγησης, με μια ιστορία απο μόνη της εντ ...more
Apr 23, 2010 ·Karen· rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: in-german, favourites
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.
Luís C.
Lisbon Book-Fair 2017.
At first sight, this book seems like an endless succession of distant observations, a long chain of purely visual descriptions by the author himself (at least if we assume the narrator is Sebald) and especially by his somewhat mysterious friend Jacques Austerlitz. I know this does not seem very attractive, and it is also strengthened by the monotonous and slow narrative style that is sustained throughout the story. I can understand that many people slam this book after a number of pages.
But at t

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
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
Feb 14, 2012 Jeremy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 10, 2013 Teresa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 24, 2013 João Carlos rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: l2014, favorites, 2014best
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
Friederike Knabe
Feb 16, 2012 Friederike Knabe rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: german-lit
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.
Aug 05, 2011 Hadrian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Nelson Zagalo
Tinha talvez demasiadas expetativas, tinha lido algumas notas sobre o modo como Sebald trabalha as memórias, as fronteiras entre o real e o imaginado, entre a ficção e não ficção, e ao entrar em “Austerlitz”, apesar de ver tudo isso, não o senti. O discurso apesar de erudito e fluído, cria uma sessão de prisão, de repetição, sem movimento, como se nunca saísse do mesmo lugar...

[Sugiro ler o resto com imagens em:]

Reconheço que o trabalho é original, que ex
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
May 28, 2015 André rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
O tema que perpassa todo o livro Austerlitz é a memória. Ou, mais precisamente, a reconstrução da mesma. Memória que, por forças desconhecidas, o tempo encerra e enceta e, juntamente com a imaginação, torna o homem naquilo que ele é. Numa digressão melancólica, reflexiva e analítica vamos à descoberta da vida de um homem. Nós somos o narrador, essa figura fantasmagórica, que se senta com Jacques Austerlitz e fica a ouvir a sua história. Uma história que o próprio tenta ainda compreender.

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
Robert Ronsson
Jun 03, 2009 Robert Ronsson rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 20, 2017 Hendrik rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2017
"Irgendwann in der Vergangenheit, dachte ich, habe ich einen Fehler gemacht und bin jetzt in einem falschen Leben"

Bereits in Die Ringe des Saturn, ist mir die enge Verknüpfung in W.G. Sebalds Prosa, von Geographie und Erinnerung aufgefallen. Es sind stets Bauwerke oder Landschaften, die als Ausgangspunkt für Erkundungsgänge in die Vergangenheit der Protagonisten dienen. Auch die Geschichte des sich selbst so rätselhaften Jaques Austerlitz, entwickelt sich entlang geographischer Linien. Es ist
Apr 03, 2017 Utsav rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Max Sebald must have been a difficult person to live with- the sort who'd launch into a long-winded lecture about the architectural merits of nineteenth-century grain silos and the foraging habits of flighted birds endemic to a certain latitude by way of signifying that he wants toast for breakfast.

I jest.

Partly. I'd gladly fry him eggs on the side just to hear him talk.
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
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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
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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.” 92 likes
“We take almost all the decisive steps in our lives as a result of slight inner adjustments of which we are barely conscious.” 47 likes
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