“It is thanks to my evening reading alone that I am still more or less sane.”
― W.G. Sebald,
― W.G. Sebald,
My Prior Posts on W. G. Sebald
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