Think of W.G. Sebald as memory's Einstein.
—Richard Eder, Los Angeles Times
A haunting masterpiece from W.G. Sebald.
—The Washington Post
Sebald is a thrilling, original writer. He makes narration a state of investigative bliss. His narrative doesn't just tell stories; it offers itself as a model of consciousness, demonstrating that to be fully aware of oneself in time is to suffer incurable vertigo. In his droll way, Sebald possesses the world-covering ambition of a magus: he wants a book to be like his old childhood atlas, made to hold... all conceivable mysteries.
—W.S. Di Piero, The New York Times Book Review
One emerges from it shaken, seduced, and deeply impressed.
—Anita Brookner, Spectator
An intensely personal work, showing us Sebald's genesis as a writer, and it is constantly stimulating.
—Sebastian Shakespeare, TLS
Few writers make one more aware of the seductive powers of language.
—Tim Parks, The New York Review of Books
Is literary greatness still possible? What would a noble literary enterprise look like now? One of the few answers available to English-language readers is the work of W.G. Sebald.
For all its dark contents and burden of undeclared grief, Vertigo is dizzyingly light and transparent.
—Benjamin Kunkel, The Village Voice
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
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.
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.
Sebald has done what every writer dreams of doing.
—Roberta Silman, The New York Times Book Review
The books are fascinating for the way they inhabit their own self-determined genre, but that's not ultimately why they are essential reading. There is a moral magnitude and a weary, melancholy wisdom in Sebald's writing that transcends the literary and attains something like an oracular register. Reading him feels like being spoken to in a dream. He does away with the normal proceedings of narrative fiction - plot, characterization, events leading to other events - so that what we get is the unmediated expression of a pure and seemingly disembodied voice. That voice is an extraordinary presence in contemporary literature, and it may be another decade before the magnitude - and the precise nature - of utterances are fully realized.
—The New Yorker
Tragic, stunningly beautiful, strange and haunting. The secret of Sebald's appeal is that he saw himself in what now seems almost an old-fashioned way as a voice of conscience, someone who remembers injustice, who speaks for those who can no longer speak.
—The New York Review of Books