Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction, Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel, Post Colonial Asian Fiction, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality Historical Novels are Among my Interests

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Vertigo by W. G. Sebald (1990, translated by Michael Hulse)

“It is thanks to my evening reading alone that I am still more or less sane.” 
― W.G. SebaldVertigo

Vertigo is the third novel, by W. G. Sebald ( born Wertach, Germany, 1944,died Norfolk, England 2001)upon which I have posted during a German Literature Month Event.  In 2013 I posted on his Austerlitz and last year on The Emigrants.   This year I’m happy to have read his Vertigo.  In this novel, Sebald takes us on journey through Europe, a journey through time and myth as well as place.

Our never named narrator, a man with a bit of a nervous temper, decides to make a journey through Europe, stopping at Vienna, Venice and Riva.  In each town he reflects on the art and history of the area.  He ends up in his home town, a small place in Bavaria.  As he journeys the places he transverse bring  back literary memories.  Our narrator is deeply into the finest of European literature.  I admit I was most fascinated by his thoughts on Stendhal.  He journeys through Alpine areas, thinks about Casanova.  A section, of four, is devoted to a difficult period in the life of Kafka.  The final section is devoted to the narrator’s memories of his childhood.

I am glad I read this book.

From The website of the publisher, New Ditections

“Perfectly titled, Vertigo —W.G. Sebald’s marvelous first novel — is a work that teeters on the edge: compelling, puzzling, and deeply unsettling.
An unnamed narrator, beset by nervous ailments, journeys across Europe to Vienna, Venice, Verona, Riva, and finally to his childhood home in a small Bavarian village. He is also journeying into the past. Traveling in the footsteps of Stendhal, Casanova, and Kafka, the narrator draws the reader, line by line, into a dizzying web of history, biography, legends, literature, and — most perilously — memories.”

There is an excellent overview of his Life and Work in The obituary in The Guardian

Please share your experiences with Sebald in a comment

Mel u

1 comment:

Buried In Print said...

I have little experience, beyond wanting to read everything of his! (I've read one, but I can never remember which one - so I might as well start from the beginning!)