The Visual World Of W.G. Sebald

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“Sebald is brilliantly visual.

He makes you realize with some discomfort that you often fail to look attentively enough at what you see.

Another novelist referred to the “phenomenal configuration” of the author’s mind and what astonishes and delights in Sebald’s sentences, superbly rendered by his translators, is his ability to convey not just the detail of so many things hitting the senses in a rain of fleeting simultaneous impressions, but the precise emotional shading and personal import of each of these moments.”

Photographer Rick Poynor offers a dazzling commentary on the “embedded images” in the late W.G. Sebald’s masterful Austerlitz.

Reading Sebald for me, beginning with The Rings Of Saturn was truly catalytic.

Who knew that photographs, mementos, fiction, travelogue, memoir and essay could coexist in the same book? And that such a rich melange, when done as well as Sebald could be utterly enchanting even if nothing really happens?

Of course, my love for Sebald also flagrantly betrays my love for Kindle-proof books, for books as objects and for the continual hybridization of forms in the service of fine art.


Michael Berger is a barely-published writer and book-seller living in San Francisco. He is one of the founding Corsairs of the Iron Garters Bike Club and is currently pursuing a degree in applied pataphysics. He sometimes eats oatmeal for dinner. More from this author →