15 May, 2011
The Emigrants by W.G. Sebald (2002)
In a world awash with Dan Brown, Harry Potter and that Girl with the Hornet’s Fire Tattoo, authors like Sebald slip under the radar, found only by the diligent or lucky. It’s a shame, for reading his work is a unique experience. It is understated, subtly cerebral and even after translation holds a style that is light yet intricate and at the same time unflinching. I don’t quite know how he does it. The effect is mesmerising, and throughout The Emigrants a sort of stripped-back yearning haunts the prose. If you haven’t guessed, he is among my favourite authors. You will either ‘get’ him or you won’t.