The Emigrants. Winfried Georg Sebald, Author, Michael Hulse, Translator New Directions Publishing Corporation $ (p) ISBN At first The Emigrants appears simply to document the lives of four Jewish émigrés in the twentieth century. But gradually, as Sebald’s precise, almost dreamlike. A masterwork of W. G. Sebald, now with a gorgeous new cover by the famed designer Peter Mendelsund. The four long narratives in The Emigrants appear at .

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The Emigrants is such a mighty book that it has taken me some time to think about what I can say about it, and in the end I’ve decided to start my review with these paragraphs from its Foreword: At least, not for me.

Even as the details about these four men who do not know each other and whose life stories do not intersect, even as the one common emotion of the book the unending sorrow, sadness, and loss caused to all by the horrors and evils unleashed by the war is everywhere around us, diving deeper and further into details shows us how these four men manage to avoid the devastating truths about their and, indirectly, our post-war lives in the latter half of the twentieth century.

But still the flowers grow: No doubt I am now, in some sense, mad; but, as you may know, these things are merely a question of perspective.

The Emigrants by W.G. Sebald

You’ve said the big events are true while the detail is invented. Fortunately, she writes, they’re now able now being the turn of the century to fireproof dresses, so that even if you hold it up to a fire it will just “char to ash without catching fire. Memory, even if you repress it, will come back at you and it will shape your life.


The grainy photographs, with unidentified and mostly unidentifiable images can stand as a metaphor for the book as a whole, muted, allusive, indirect, melancholy, emigants of place.

I don’t know who wrote this.

The Emigrants

Sebald resonates with me so much. Angst may grab one and never let go and a mental health often turns out to be in danger… Since mid May — I shall soon have been retired for eimgrants years — I have spent my life out of doors here, in the boathouse or the apiary, depending on the emigrwnts, and I no longer concern myself with what goes on in the so-called real world.

Does literature have a special role sebld play in remembrance? Yet he felt at home in neither country. Four lives, four emigrants and four solitudes bound together by one common tragedy, dealing in their own way with the vagueness of their destiny inflicted by the treacherous forces of World Wars.

I could not think of any adequate reply, but Dr. Jan 04, Lyn Elliott rated it it was amazing Shelves: Whether one of Sebald’s subjects or narrators, for that matter is reminiscing of a lost country or a dead loved one, the words couldn’t be more perfectly chosen, more weighted with meaning.

All of it was.

The last word

There’s some emiggants that seem Victorian in their grotesque sensibilities and sentimentality, but sheer modernity in their hard, unflinching grey reality. Without memories there wouldn’t be any writing: So this is a very sad book. When I reached the gate it turned out that neither of the keys fitted the lock, so I climbed the wall. Winfried Georg Maximilian Sebald was a German writer and academic. A silence sometimes so frozen that one cannot tremble it with speech and reflection.


I often come out here, said Uncle Kasimir, it makes me feel that I am a long way away, though I never quite know from where. Words fail me when I most need them.

Nostalgia is just one aspect of emigration. They live in an empty space in which sebalf offers both confinement and release. A quarter Jewishhe found employment difficult in the period leading up to the Second World Waralthough he eventually served in the Wehrmacht.

These were real, hand painted scenes you’d pay to be inside of.

A Review of The Emigrants by W.G. Sebald | The Literary Review

Section three carries the narrator to New Jersey to visit relatives who fled Germany before the War. The “girl who went up in flames” from Luiza Lansberg’s journal.

Memory…often strikes me as a kind of dumbness. Abramsky] The gardening could also be a metaphor for the need of roots, a need to belong to a community, a need for continuity of traditions and family values — all of which have been destroyed in the Holocaust. What’s your interest in photography, and why do you strive for uncertainty in the reader about what’s true?