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The Emigrants Hardcover – 23 May 1996

4.7 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews

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Hardcover, 23 May 1996
£40.26
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: The Harvill Press (23 May 1996)
  • ISBN-10: 1860461271
  • ISBN-13: 978-1860461279
  • Product Dimensions: 22.3 x 3 x 14.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 5,104,578 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Amazon Review

The Emigrants is a meditation on memory and loss. Sebald re-creates the lives of four exiles-- five if you include his oblique self-portrait--through their own accounts, others' recollections and pictures and found objects. But he brings these men before our eyes only to make them fade away, "longing for extinction." Two were eventual suicides, another died in an asylum, the fourth still lived under a "poisonous canopy" more than 40 years after his parents' death in Nazi Germany.

Sebald's own longing is for communion. En route to Ithaca (the real upstate New York location but also the symbolic one), he comes to feel "like a travelling companion of my neighbour in the next lane." After the car speeds away--"the children pulling clownish faces out of the rear window--I felt deserted and desolate for a time." Sebald's narrative is purposely moth-holed (butterfly-ridden, actually--there's a recurring Nabokov-with-a-net type), an escape from the prison-house of realism. According to the author, his Uncle Ambros's increasingly improbable tales were the result of "an illness which causes lost memories to be replaced by fantastic inventions." Luckily for us, Sebald seems to have inherited the same syndrome. --Kerry Fried

Review

Amasterpiece.--Richard Eder"

The Emigrants is that terrifyingly rare and wonderful thing: a unique masterpiece... --Thomas McGonigle

Sublime.--Cynthia Ozick

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.

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

An astonishing masterpiece perfect while being unlike any book one has ever read.--Susan Sontag"

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.

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.

A masterpiece.--Richard Eder

A writer of almost unclassifiable originality, but whose voice we recognize as indispensable and central to our time.

A writer whose work belongs on the high shelf alongside that of Kafka, Borges, and Proust.

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 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.--Geoff Dyer

One of the most mysteriously sublime of contemporary writers.--James Wood

An astonishing masterpiece -- perfect while being unlike any book one has ever read.--Susan Sontag

Sebald is a rare and elusive species... But still he is an easy read, just as Kafka is... He is an addiction, and, once button-holed by his books, you have neither the wish nor the will to tear yourself away.--Anthony Lane --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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4.7 out of 5 stars
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