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Sebald’s fog

With his Gothic meanderings and limp mimicry of Kafka, this unlikely darling of high European style is merely lost in an English cul-de-sac

By Michael Hofmann   October 2001

one of the most striking developments in English-language publishing in the past five years has been the extraordinary success of the books of WG Sebald. The Emigrants, The Rings of Saturn and Vertigo were received-pretty unanimously, as far as I could tell-with deference and superlatives. This is the more unlikely as I don’t think such a success could have been predicted for them or their author. Sebald, a professor at the University of East Anglia for many years, and settled in England since 1970, nevertheless insisted on writing in his native German-and then taking a hand in the heavy, somewhat…

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