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Monday, February 12, 2018

The Emigrants (1992) by W. G. Sebald


Book Review
The Emigrants (1992)
 by W. G. Sebald

   I was reading a book review last week when the reviewer called the book, "Sebaldian" referring to a combining of text and photos, narrative and non fiction, with a recognizably melancholic weltanschauung.    Sebald's Emigrants are Germans, most of them grappling with the after effects of World War II, a good portion of them commit suicide at the end of their chapter.

  It's remarkable that Sebald has established an international English language audience- not exactly contemporaneous, the 1992 publication date is from the German language version, the English translation followed in 1996.  If you don't know it can be hard to tell that you are reading a book that has been translated from another language- many of the locations are in the United Kingdom, and other than the characters all being from Germany, there is nothing particularly "German" about the proceeding.  I mean, wrestling with the consequences of the Holocaust- not exclusively a German subject, but something that German authors tend to obsess over. 

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