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Sunday, November 26, 2017

The Rings of Saturn (1995) by W.G. Sebald


Book Review
The Rings of Saturn (1995)
by W.G. Sebald


  Wikipedia describes The Rings of Saturn by W.G. Sebald, as "a hybrid of a book...combining fiction, travel, biography, myth and memoir."   The framework is a walking tour that "W.G. Sebald" is taking in south eastern England.  The Rings of Saturn consists of both text and pictures, some of the pictures are locales from the walking tour, photos illustrating some of the stories within the story and even a photo of the author himself.  I might also add that "history" is an additional element, the relationship between the West and it's colonies recurs as a theme throughout.

  I'm not sure what kind of audience Sebald has in the the U.S. it must be a cruel irony for German language authors that truly world-wide notoriety can only come after their books are translated into English, but the two languages are extremely close linguistically speaking, so perhaps that's a consolation. What can the reader even say about The Rings of Saturn.  One, it's weird and that weirdness is the very reason people find it so interesting.  Two, despite the weirdness, it's not hard to follow or understand like other works of experimental literature.  Three, the setting of this German language novel in the English south-east is very much on purpose and links to the larger theme of the exploitation of the world by "the west."

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