Sebald's novels are beyond comparison. Superb.
It's been so long that I road this intriguing novel that I'll probably check it out if you don't.
This a good introduction to a novelist's work that was cat shout, tragically.
As one of the defining events of the 20th century, the Holocaust has reverberated and echoed in peculiar ways all throughout the world.
It's no exaggeration to say that Austerlitz captures this truth more perfectly than any other 'holocaust novel,' by presenting itself as a rambling jazz novel, filled with long sections of stream-of-consciousness digressions and diversions related by a man constantly collecting his thoughts and explaining himself to another.
Jacques Austerlitz has lived unaware of history, but in the trundling wheel of his thoughts - reflections on architecture, art, travel, memories, dreams, relationships and experiences - there are shadows and spectres lurking in the corners. Austerlitz determines to find out these ghosts, if only to give name to a feeling looming over him his whole life.
(The only time I stopped reading was when I was within view of the end, and not wanting it to end, knowing the only end could be unsatisfactory anyway, I hid the book from myself.)
A diaphanous book of memory, containing the whole weight of 20th century Europe. It's amazing how Sebald does this stuff -- there are glimpses of horror seething under the surface, but the narrative itself is as calm as a pond on a windless day. His books are a kind of talking cure for unspeakable terror. Makes you think humanity might have a chance after all.
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