|Plot Summary of Austerlitz|
|"Austerlitz:by W.G. Sebald: Translated by Anthea Bell: published by random House, NY 2001
"Austerlitz", the story of a young boy sent from Czechoslowakia to Wales by the Children's Transport (KinderTransport) of 1939, my be an attempt by the author, a German, to expiate the past by revealing it through the eyes of an orphan searching for his parents. Brought up by an austere minister and his even more withdrawn wife, Austerlitz does not find out that his name is not Dayffyd Elias until he is in the upper grades.
He does not seek to find out his origins until he suffers a breakdown when a French woman with whom he is in love.
In the novel which ranges over the cities of Brussels, Paris, London and Prague during the years from 1967 to the present, Sebald alternates lyrical scenes of late childhood spent on the tropical western coat of Wales with dark descriptions of conditions in a concentration camp where Austerlitz's young, musical mother perishes.
Ironically, with his painstaking documentation of possessions taken from victims, Sebald, who displays a virtuosic eye for detail, echoes the style of the Nazi despoilers who mercilessly laid out conditions for ghettos and deathcamps.
The novel ends inconclusively as the narrator returns to Fort Breedonk on the outskirts of Brussels where the Nazis annihilated more than 30,000 souls during the war.
With "Austerlitz", Sebald completed a series of four novels, receiving such acclaim that he was thought to be a future candidate for the Nobel Prize. Tragically, he died in an automobile accident , December 15, 2001. "
Betty-Jeanne Korson, Resident Scholar
|Review Analysis of Austerlitz|
Our unique search engine provides a wealth of detail about books by breaking them down into many different literary elements, all of which are searchable (click here).
Ratings are on a 1-10 scale (Low to High)
Tone of book?
Time/era of story
- present (2000-2010)
Kids growing up/acting up?
Is this an adult or child's book?
- Adult or Young Adult Book
War/Revolt/Disaster on civilians
Parents/lack of parents problem?
- orphan story
- emotionally unstable
Is this an ordinary person caught up in events?
How sensitive is this character?
- sensitive to others' feelings
Sense of humor
- Mostly serious with occasional humor
- Smarter than most other characters
- average physique
- an organization
How much of work is main antagonist actually present in:
- throughout most of the book.
How much descriptions of surroundings?
- 10 ()
- Eastern Europe
- fort/military installation
- mostly 1st
Accounts of torture and death?
- explicit references to torture
- a lot of flashback and forwards
- written like a journal/diary/letters
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Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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