3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: Austerlitz (Paperback)
The unreality of the action of Austerlitz - several meetings between two men, giving rise to unexplained trust, which prompts a series of increasingly revealing monologues by one of them, Jacques Austerlitz - is a device which presents its real and entirely convincing substance to great effect. The book is an intuitive and imaginative and image-rich exploration of the relation between past and present. It does not, however, supply, or even seek, unarguable answers to the questions that result.
Jacques Austerlitz discovers the reasons for his distant and fragile nature in his early childhood in continental Europe, during the first years of the Nazi holocaust. His search is unresolved, however, so that his adult personality remains distant and lonely and always searching. The narrative simply fades at the end. Ideas about loss and suffering and separation and trauma are put forward and explored in a poetic way. The calm, uninvolved tone of the book, and the really beautiful manner in which the narration goes forward, by use of lively images both literary and literal (photographs interspersed in the text), make it rather easy to read, even though there is little direct human interaction, virtually no conversation, and an almost dreamlike quality to the entire work.
This is a brilliant book but maybe not of universal appeal.