Stunning and strange. Like a dream you want to last forever.
—Roberta Silman, The New York Times
Ostensibly a record of a journey on foot through coastal East Anglia, The Rings of Saturn is also a brilliantly allusive study of England's imperial past and the nature of decline and fall, of loss and decay. The Rings of Saturn is exhilaratingly, you might say hypnotically, readable. It is hard to imagine a stranger or more compelling work.
—Robert McCrum, The London Observer
An extraordinary palimpsest of nature, human, and literary history.
—Merle Rubin, The Wall Street Journal
Sebald is a rare and elusive species, but still, he is an easy read, just as Kafka is. He is an addiction, and once buttonholed by his books, you have neither the wish nor the will to tear yourself away.
—Anthony Lane, The New Yorker
Think of W.G. Sebald as memory's Einstein.
—Richard Eder, Los Angeles Times
Sebald has done what every writer dreams of doing. The Rings of Saturn glows with the radiance and resilience of the human spirit.
—Roberta Silman, The New York Times Book Review
Sebald stands with Primo Levi as the prime speaker of the Holocaust and, with him, the prime contradiction of Adorno's dictum that after it, there can be no art.
—Richard Eder, The New York Times Book Review
Most writers, even good ones, write of what can be written. The very greatest write of what cannot be written. I think of Akhmatova and Primo Levi, for example, and of W. G. Sebald.
—The New York Times
In Sebald's writing, everything is connected, everything webbed together by the unseen threads of history, or chance, or fate, or death... beautiful and unsettling, elevated into an art of the uncanny - an art that was, in the end, Sebald's strange and inscrutable gift.
Measured, solemn, sardonic, hypnotic.
—Joshua Cohen, The New York Times Book Review
—Cynthia Ozick, The New Republic
Few writers have traveled as quickly from obscurity to the sort of renown that yields an adjective as quickly as German writer W. G. Sebald (1944 - 2001), and now Sebaldian is as evocative as Kafkaesque. Sebald is that rare being: an inimitable stylist who creates extraordinary sentences that, like crystals, simultaneously refract and magnify meaning.
The first thing to be said about W. G. Sebald's books is that they always had a posthumous quality to them. He wrote - as was often remarked - like a ghost. He was one of the most innovative writers of the late twentieth century, and yet part of this originality derived from the way his prose felt exhumed from the nineteenth.
A writer of almost unclassifiable originality, but whose voice we recognize as indispensable and central to our time.
—The New York Times Book Review
Out of exquisitely attuned feeling for the past, Sebald fashioned an entirely new form of literature. I've read his books countless times trying to understand how he did it. In the end, I can only say that he practiced a kind of magic born out of almost supernatural sensitivity.