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R all of his books are in some way about collective disappearance and the attempts we make the various means and tactics we as way about collective disappearance and the attempts we make the various means and tactics we as employ to keep oblivion at bay They are about how universal experience weaves the fate of the individual thus the recurring themes of historical conseuence war colonialism etc In this sense Austerlitz is a pinnacle of Sebaldean prose as it directly confronts through a single person the universal history of destruction Its main concern is the possibility of the universal forgetting of the lessons of the Holocaust to the obliterating work of Time and the caprice of Memory within the individual This book is populated with ghosts wavering beings mists fogs smoke things that obscure grand facades of buildings is populated with ghosts wavering beings mists fogs smoke things that obscure grand facades of buildings EMPTY LABYRINTHS VACANT WIND SUNG STREETS labyrinths vacant wind sung streets forests cemeteries overgrown with time s lichen and tendrils processions of those diminished by death suddenly appearing glimmering into and retreating out of this world The prose of course wanders walks explores Sebald is pretty much only digression in all of his books beautiful melancholy digression akin to the process of meditative reflection itself the prose drifts associates follows leads down desolate halls disappears into dusty vaults peers through windows at empty landscapes in winter light watches the clouds above silently pass away But in all of this an utterly human voice is rising and ebbing revealing guiding a tenderness pervades the melancholy and to me the word melancholy almost always implies something achingly beautiful and tender as well as something struck with sadness and loss A reach for the eternal and Ideal within the irretrievable So Austerlitz and Sebald comes to find that place where hopeless hopes invest the human experienceBut really this review is simply an excuse to provide some links to a few Lieder ohne Worte throughout my reading of Austerlitz this was the music floating through mind of coursehttpwwwyoutubecomwatchvCKtkHh There s something reminiscent of an archaeological dig about Austerlitz the uest 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 uite sure if you re reading biography or fiction a puzzle enhanced by the inclusion of many photographs purporting to be a documentation of Austerlitz s life We soon learn that he has always shied away from the knowledge of who he really is that he was sent on a Kindertransport by his mother when the Nazis invaded Prague where he lived as a child Very late in life he sets about trying to discover what happened to his mother and father It s no coincidence that Austerlitz shares his name with a train station as train stations are a constant conduit for transition and connection and ever present is the towering menace they can evoke in the light of the holocaust The best parts of this novel are always when he explores the relationship of buildings to history when he confronts the ghosts that haunt buildings There s a brilliant indictment of the horrible new Biblioth ue Nationale in Paris which we discover was formerly the site of the warehouses where the Nazis stored looted treasure from the Parisian Jews Also moving is when he visits the concentration camp at Theresienstadt where his mother was interned and even so when he acuires a copy of the Nazi propaganda film of the ghetto and slows it down in the hope of catching a glimpse of his mother s face among all the Jewish prisoners forced to act out a grotesue charade of wellbeing In the slowed down version the upbeat music of the soundtrack becomes an insufferable mournful dirge Translated from German the voice is deadpan weathered almost monotonous and no doubt might alienate some readers I can t say it was a prose style that enamoured me much TOUTE LA M MOIRE DU MONDEIl film Austerlitz del 2015 con Denis Lavant nel ruolo del protagonista l attore feticcio di Leos Carax diretto dal praghese Stan Neumann Il film non ha circolato se non per ualche festival il suo pubblico ristretto stato confinato alla critica che lo ha definito UMO nel senso di Unidentified Movie Object gli UFO sono unindentified Flying ObjectDi fronte a pagine monolitiche prive di interruzioni e a capo con periodi lunghi ricerca del dettaglio e freuenti digressioni ci si pu perdere ma non ui Le fotografie bellissime spezzano la lettura e pi ci si avvicina alla fine e pi sembra che aumentino e compaiano anche le prime interruzioni i primi spazi bianchi proprio uando il libro sta per finire e io non lo volevo affatto lasciare volevo che continuasse senza sosta C ancora tanta memoria del mondo che Sebald pu raccontareO forse no davvero tutta ui come nel breve bellissimo documentario di Alain Resnais sulla Biblioteca Nazionale di Parigi Toute la m moire du mondeAltra immagine tratta dall UMOGli articoli e commenti che ho letto su uest opera insistono sulla ripetizione ossessiva della parola viaggio Sebald ci porta di ua e di l per l Europa avanti e indietro nel tempo e della domanda se si tratti di fiction o di non fiction Il viaggio essenzialmente temporale un viaggio nella Storia e soprattutto nella Memoria Per uanto riguarda l altra uesti. Passeio pelas costas de East AngliaCom este retrato comovente de um emigrante em busca das suas origens Sebald descreve um universo peculiar se bem ue reconhecível ue res. Austerlitz

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Austerlitz fascinated me but I couldn t say I loved it Reading this book gave me the feeling of being et 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 soporific than exhilarating Maybe hypnotic is a better word The sentences ramble carefully the sense reaching you faintly through a multiple framing effect whereby the story is told by Jacues Austerlitz to our distant Sebaldesue narrator meaning the sentences have a characteristic double tagging device for reported speech which gives meaning the sentences have a characteristic double tagging device for reported speech which gives a steady sleepy rhythm Can t you tell me the reason she asked said AusterlitzSometimes so Lemoine told me said AusterlitzOne sentence near the end sprawls across eight or nine pages the clauses fading in and out of each other dreamily like an interesting train of thought that goes through your mind Searle's Cats just before you drop off to sleep The number of paragraph breaks in the whole book can be counted on one hand All this is in the service of recreating the effects of memory as Sebald sees it its unreliability its fluidity compared to the rigid unchangeability of actual past eventsEspecially past tragedy Because what Austerlitz is remembering is something he has spent his life trying to repress his early childhood as part of a Jewish family in Prague in the 1930s Hence his meditations on architecture or natural history in the early part of the book all seem to be skirting round something else as yet unnamed and when finally he begins to trace the fate of his parents there is a series of complex and rewarding thematic call backs which tie the novel together very beautifully an illustration seen in a Welsh children s Bible for instance of Israelites camped out in the desert is echoed later by a description of a Nazi encampment in central Europe Austerlitz s own name seems to be working hard with its associations of war and indeed it s only a few central letters away from the most infamous Holocaust site of all one that s never mentioned in this book but which can be intimated from comments about family members sent east This is not a Holocaust novel in the usual sense though its real subject is not exactly what happened in the middle of the last century but rather how Europe can and should remember it Europe as a whole this is a novel that deliberately ranges over cities and languages from across the whole continent The vital importance of remembering and also the complete futility of trying And the futility also of expressing what we feel about it because for Sebald language is always at best a poor approximation of reality something which we use in the same way as many sea plants and animals use their tentacles to grope blindly through the darkness enveloping us I disagree with this assessment and I think Sebald s novel is in itself a weighty counter argument But nevertheless it s a very moving thesis written with a great deal of artistry and if I felt admiration than affection for it that s perhapsust because I read it in a state of cold wonder at what he was managing to describe a kind of wonder as Sebald says elsewhere which is in itself a form of dawning horror It Seems To Me Then As to me then as 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 The Emigrants and The Rings Of Saturn back to back a few years ago and didn t bother writing reviews on this site I Three Wise Cats A Christmas Story just added them to my favorites and gave the reuisite 5 stars Perhaps this silence that comes after reading Sebald is in some ways my attempt to not trivialize or minimize the effect reading his books produces on the other hand it might be that Sebald says what needs to be said inust the way it has to be said that it is difficult to follow Sebald because there is a certain emotional dusk or twilight that his prose produces that then inevitably calls forth a kind of night one wants to silently dwell on the words and images because they seem so fragile almost sacred I m not hyperbolizing this experience Sebald is to me the inheritor and refiner perhaps the perfector of not only the whole body of 20th century literature of exile but also one of the last great rememberers the conscience that carries the lessons of the disasters of the 20th century He represents the dying flame of Old World European literary scholars a Sir Thomas Browne roaming the post Relativity age The trance like or oneiric uality of his prose seems to me the voice of Time but Time evacuating itself of its properties time falling into the inner place where it dissolves within ourselves as Memory His prose captures the essence of experience in the process of always being lost and recovered the tenses of our lives that are always flickering into substance and de substantiating before we might grab hold and define themThis is a personal and a universal achievement Fo. Austerlitz é uma narrativa notável tão curiosa uanto despretensiosa ue nos dá a conhecer Jacues Austerlitz numa espécie de monólogo meditativo interior ao longo de um. ,