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Review: Austerlitz

AusterlitzAusterlitz by W.G. Sebald
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

View all my reviews

Translated into English from the original German, Austerlitz is filled with beautiful, complex prose that is best read slowly.  The novel features an unnamed narrator recounts his encounters and discussions with a man called “Austerlitz”.  Austerlitz is a middle-aged man in search of answers about his past.  His past is slowly uncovered through a series of digressions and fractured narratives.  At every meeting with Austerlitz the narrator finds out more about him through discussions about memories and architecture.  We learn about how the Holocaust tore apart Austerlitz and his family and how a young Austerlitz repressed those memories to the point that he actually thought he was the son of the Welsh couple who took him in.

This book was a challenge to read, especially in the beginning and it definitely isn’t for everyone. There were sentences that went on for 5+ pages and the narrative style is far from what you usually find in novels.  But if you are up for a reading challenge with a book that requires your full attention you should consider reading Austerlitz.

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