New Directions is delighted to announce beautiful new editions of these three classic Sebald novels, including his two greatest works, The Emigrants and The Rings of Saturn. All three novels are distinguished by their translations, every line of which Sebald himself made pitch-perfect, slaving to carry into English all his essential elements: the shadows, the lambent fallings-back, nineteenth-century Germanic undertones, tragic elegiac notes, and his unique, quiet wit.
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.
—Susan Sontag, Times Literary Supplement
Few writers make one more aware of the seductive powers of language.
—Tim Parks, The New York Review of Books
An intensely personal work, showing us Sebald’s genesis as a writer, and it is constantly stimulating.
—Sebastian Shakespeare, Times Literary Supplement
One emerges from it shaken, seduced, and deeply impressed.
—Anita Brookner, Spectator
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
A haunting masterpiece from W.G. Sebald.
—The Washington Post
Think of W.G. Sebald as memory’s Einstein.
—Richard Eder, Los Angeles Times
An extraordinary palimpsest of nature, human, and literary history.
—Merle Rubin, The Wall Street Journal
Stunning and strange. Like a dream you want to last forever.
—Roberta Silman, The New York Times
The Emigrants is that terrifyingly rare and wonderful thing: a unique masterpiece…
—Thomas McGonigle, Chicago Tribune
W.G. Sebald has written an astonishing masterpiece: it seems perfect while being unlike any book one has ever read. Bewitching in its subtlety, sublime in its directness and in the grandeur of its subject. The Emigrants is an irresistable book.
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
Most writers, even good ones, write of what can be written. The very greates write of what cannot be written. I think of Akhmatova and Primo Levi, for example, and of W.G. Sebald.
—The New York Times
—Richard Eder, The New York Times
If you are completely new to Sebald, you should probably start with his early masterpiece, The Emigrants.