Book pak Books on Tape 2002
CS ISBN 0736685502 $40.00 Five cassettes
Much is gained, but more is lost in this audio version of the last novel of W.G. Sebald. The lure of discovering who we are through memory in the face of its inherent repression and distortion over time, the nightmare of history (especially the Holocaust), and the human desire to collect disparate facts and information to ward off meaninglessness are some of the major themes of this unorthodox novel (if it is one). The long, beautifully constructed translated sentences are reminiscent of Dickens and Poe, and narrator Richard Matthews gives them his full attention with a crisp and self-assured, but necessarily detached, British voice. The rhythms and poetry of the language are thus fully accessible to the listener, though the vignettes, asides, digressions, and elaborations, which make up a large part of the book, fly by at a dizzying pace. Also, the many photos and graphics that document the places described in Jacques Austerlitz's wanderings and serve as counterbalances to the text's ephemerality are, of course, not available through audio. Through no fault of the narrator, this book needs to be held in hand. P.W. 2003 Audie Award Finalist (c) AudioFile 2002, Portland, Maine [Published: OCT/ NOV 02]
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