Why You Should Be Reading W. G. Sebald

A 2011 article from The New Yorker
W. G. Sebald
Mark O'Connell (New Yorker) on why you should be reading W. G. Sebald (link via David Pearce): 'It is probably too early to predict the extent of the influence Sebald’s hybrid books will exert on the shape of the novel, but it isn’t an exaggeration to say that he erased and redrew the boundaries of narrative fiction as radically as anyone since Borges. British writers like Will Self and, in particular, Geoff Dyer, have been inspired by Sebald’s figurative and literal rambling. Dyer’s work—part essay, part travelogue, part fiction—sometimes reads like a less melancholy, more comic (and more English) variant of Sebald’s peregrinatory prose. One of this year’s most impressive novels, Teju Cole’s debut “Open City,” owes a clear debt to Sebald. James Wood, in his enthusiastic review in the magazine, commented on the way in which Cole moves “in the shadow of W. G. Sebald’s work.” On a more superficial level, Jonathan Safran Foer’s 2005 novel “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” adopted the trademark Sebaldian tactic of integrating photographs into its text.' [Read More]

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