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- Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
- Format: Paperback | 448 pages
- Dimensions: 128mm x 194mm x 30mm | 299g
- Publication date: 3 November 2011
- Publication City/Country: London
- ISBN 10: 0241951801
- ISBN 13: 9780241951804
- Illustrations note: Illustrations, maps
- Sales rank: 12,533
Austerlitz is W. G. Sebald's haunting novel of post-war Europe. In 1939, five-year-old Jacques Austerlitz is sent to England on a Kindertransport and placed with foster parents. This childless couple promptly erase from the boy all knowledge of his identity and he grows up ignorant of his past. Later in life, after a career as an architectural historian, Austerlitz - having avoided all clues that might point to his origin - finds the past returning to haunt him and he is forced to explore what happened fifty years before. Austerlitz is W.G. Sebald's melancholic masterpiece. "Mesmeric, haunting and heartbreakingly tragic. Simply no other writer is writing or thinking on the same level as Sebald". (Eileen Battersby, Irish Times). "Greatness in literature is still possible". (John Banville, Irish Times, Books of the Year). "A work of obvious genius". (Literary Review). "A fusion of the mystical and the solid...His art is a form of justice - there can be, I think, no higher aim". (Evening Standard). "Spellbindingly accomplished; a work of art". (The Times Literary Supplement). "I have never read a book that provides such a powerful account of the devastation wrought by the dispersal of the Jews from Prague and their treatment by the Nazis". (Observer). "A great book by a great writer". (Boyd Tonkin, Independent). W . G. Sebald was born in Wertach im Allgau, Germany, in 1944 and died in December 2001. He studied German language and literature in Freiburg, Switzerland and Manchester. In 1996 he took up a position as an assistant lecturer at the University of Manchester and settled permanently in England in 1970. He was Professor of European Literature at the University of East Anglia and is the author of The Emigrants, The Rings of Saturn, Vertigo, Austerlitz, After Nature, On the Natural History of Destruction, Campo Santo, Unrecounted, A Place in the Country. His selected poetry is published in a volume called Across the Land and the Water.
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W.G. Sebald is one of very few German writers of the last few decades to have attracted both a broad readership in the UK and an international following of journalists and scholars alike. He has proved a huge inspiration not just to younger writers but also to artists and photographers fascinated by the use of imagery and images in his work. His books include The Emigrants, The Rings of Saturn and After Nature.
"A remarkable accomplishment." --"Los Angeles Times""Sebald stands with Primo Levi as the prime speaker of the Holocaust and, with him, the prime contradiction of Adorno's dictum that after it, there can be no art." --Richard Eder, "The New York Times Book Review""Sebald is a rare and elusive species . . . but still, he is an easy read, just as Kafka is. . . . He is an addiction, and once buttonholed by his books, you have neither the wish nor the will to tear yourself away." --Anthony Lane, "The New Yorker""Is literary greatness still possible? What would a noble literary enterprise look like? One of the few answers available to English-speaking readers is the work of W. G. Sebald." --Susan Sontag
"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 Aus-terlitz 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 twentieth-century Europe, he struggles to rescue his heritage from oblivion.