O fotografijama u Zebaldovom romanu „Austerlic“

O Zebaldovom romanu „Austerlic“ na sajtu Source piše:

At a public reading Sebald explained that the picture on the cover of the book (which we learn shows Austerlitz as a young boy) had been the ‘point of departure’ for the book, and that the photographs ‘formed an intimate part of my working process’. Sebald’s work has inspired many other writers including some who have also incorporated photographs in their own books. Since we first reviewed the novel Sebald has become an example for many people of the closer relationship between literature and photography and the changing way in which we think about photographs. I hope this film gives some indication why.

Na istom sajtu, u recenziji pomenute knjige, piše:

Austerlitz tells the life story of an architectural historian (called Austerlitz), who is also an amateur photographer. His story is told by a narrator who meets Austerlitz taking photographs with ‘an old Ensign with telescopic bellows’ in the waiting room of Antwerp train station during the 1960s. After a number of coincidental meetings which span three decades, the narrator is entrusted with the ‘many hundreds of pictures’ Austerlitz has taken during his life. It is through these images and recollections of their conversations, that the story of Austerlitz’s life is told. Within this fictional construct, Austerlitz’s thoughts are only ever reported second-hand making the photographs the most direct access to Austerlitz. But this is only the illusion of a proximity – the use of photographic imagery being just part of the apparatus by which the ‘fiction’ of Austerlitz is constructed.

Austerlitz was adopted as a young boy by a joyless Calvinist couple in Wales and renamed Daffyd Elias. For reasons of their own they told him nothing about his (or their) past. Only when his two adoptive parents die does Daffyd learn his real name is Austerlitz. It is not until his retirement from academia that Austerlitz addresses the truth of his past: how at the age of 5 he was put on a Kindertransport in an attempt to escape the Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia.

One of the themes of this complex novel is what Austerlitz refers to as ‘the laws governing the return of the past’: how the past does or does not become present to the living. Photography becomes a metaphor (and means) for the possibility of this return and it is partly through Austerlitz’s relation to photography that his disconnected existence is drawn by Sebald.