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3.9 out of 5 stars
A Place in the Country
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on March 8, 2014
Sebald is one of the most compelling writers of the last fifty years, and as Susan Sontag remarked, his novels achieve something that is increasingly rare: originality. "The Rings of Saturn," "Austerlitz," "Vertigo," and "The Emigrants" all swept me up in beautiful, haunting, horrifying dream-sequences. I think I'll reread one of his novels yearly or bi-yearly until the day I die. They evade description, which is why I'm falling short here.

The essays do not achieve the same feat. "A Place in the Country" is composed of six essays, each a sort of profile of a different artist Sebald admires. Three of the essays I enjoyed very much, the ones on Tripp, Walser, and especially the essay on Rousseau. In these three it seems that Sebald approaches the best of abilities as written into his novels, yet the other three for me seemed less compelling and more reliant on synopsis and criticism, rather than the dissolution of narrator, subject, and history he's so darn good at.

Part of my disliking of the "other" three essays, as I have called them, is probably due to the dearth of German history in my education and reading. So if you know quite a bit on that subject, maybe you'll find them more interesting.

Alas, Sebald remains Sebald: Each essay brings surprise, each brings pleasure, each brings fear. For those who haven't read Sebald yet, I'd point you to his novels. But for those who read and enjoyed his novels, this collection of essays, while it fails to match the quality of his fiction, nonetheless is worth reading.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on April 27, 2014
I now have all his work published in English. As all reviewers note, his mixture of memory and history, his own and others, is strange and moving and alluring. And, the photographs deepen and isolate the particular tales.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on May 29, 2014
Sebald is a serious writer and very skillful and careful in his use of words, so the texture of the writing is a pleasure in itself. This book is written around and about the author's walking tour of a part of England, but that falls far short of describing it. A great richness of memory, history and local colour are interwoven in a fascinating tapestry. I felt bereft when i finished the last word.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on March 19, 2014
Anything by this master of prose is worth reading.
Perhaps not as compelling as his famous novels, but
still intriguing and beautifully composed. If only
Sebald had had another 20 years to give us more...
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on May 21, 2014
Mr. Sebald was a fine writer and a remarkable human being but his audience are readers steeped in the history and development of high German culture plus the ability to read the language is almost mandatory
I regret that I got in way over my depth.
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on August 31, 2014
Another work of a great mind!
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0 of 4 people found the following review helpful
I find myself unable to get into this guy's style and voice.
Maybe you can. Perhaps I'm too impatient. Ah well.
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