WG Sebald, The Rings of Saturn

A mix of fact and fiction, memory and photographs, written in a precise, dream-like (sometimes nightmarish) prose.  The author hangs his wide-ranging tales on a solitary journey on foot through a lonely corner of England. Tenuous connections are made between unlikely subjects as the author’s thoughts flow back and forth like the tides and shifting sand-banks of the East Anglian coast, forever opening up new channels.

He recounts history, but history is as unreliable and as selective as memory, as we learn from Benjamin. Sometimes Sebald’s stories morph into imaginary events, sometimes the desolate countryside around him is transformed into a threatening and dusty wasteland and he is forced to hide or stumble along, walking but never moving forward, like a ship caught in the tide, straining to make way.  I was reminded of Kim Edwards dark and desolate monotypes and paintings of Sizewell and Dunwich  http://www.kimedwardsartist.com/gallery_686792.html

I thought this was a book unlike any other I’ve read, and it left me wanting to read more of Sebald, to enter again into his world and see where it takes me.

 

 

References

http://www.kimedwardsartist.com/gallery_686792.html, accessed 30/7/2017

Rings of Saturn by WG Sebald, pub Vintage, 2002

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