Austerlitz, the internationally acclaimed masterpiece by "one of the most gripping writers imaginable" (The New York Review of Books), is the story of a man's search for the answer to his life's central riddle. A small child when he comes to England on a Kindertransport in the summer of 1939, one Jacques 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 an instinct he only dimly understands, he follows their trail back to the world he left behind a half century before. There, faced with the void at the heart of 20th-century Europe, he struggles to rescue his heritage from oblivion.
"W.G. Sebald is a monster - a gorgeous and unwaveringly assured writer, a bold formal innovator, and a man always plunging into the core of identity, singular and national. In Austerlitz, he's created his richest and most emotionally devastating story, and this book might be his finest." (Dave Eggers, "who has no right to be commenting on this man")
"With untraceable swiftness and assurance, W.G. Sebald's writing conjures from the details and sequences of daily life, and their circumstances and encounters, from apparent chance and its unsounded calculus, the dimension of dream and a sense of the depth of time that make his books, one by one, indispensable. He evokes at once the minutiae and the vastness of individual existence, the inconsolable sorrow of history and the scintillating beauty of the moment and its ground of memory. Each book seems to be something that surely was impossible, and each (upon every re-reading) is unique and astonishing." (W. S. Merwin)
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Perhaps a true history buff might enjoy this book. For me, the story line was presented very dryly and without emotion. The style was a little rambling, so that I had to keep going back and repeating some area. I found the ending abrupt, without closure.
- Margaret Ruth Allen