The Emigrants, W.G. Sebald

Much like the others I've read by this author, this book deals heavily with memory, loss, and--more directly than the others--the holocaust.¬† The narrator recounts his experiences with four characters, in four sections of the book. Each character is an emigrant from Germany, and each, in some way, seems to want to forget some aspect …

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Translating poetry: how can meaning be preserved?

I'm so enamored with Sebald that I got a book of his poetry, Across the Land and the Water (from the library, just in case it turns out I'm not a poetry kind of guy.) I've not read much of any poetry, by anyone,  but Sebald's writing is just so damn poetic anyway, I figured …

Dead Souls: more shitty rich people

I read Dead Souls by Nikolai Gogol recently, and found it quite agreeable, as the narrator would say. The story features an enigmatic land owner named Chichikov, who, at the beginning of the story is a stranger in town who everyone finds intriguing. He travels around to all the landowners in the area, and attempts …

Book catch-up #3 The Unparalleled Borges

I read Labyrinths, a collection of short stories by Jorge Luis Borges, and I can't overestimate how amazing these stories were. I could probably write a post about every story, but I'll stick to a few standouts. The Library of Babel: A library that contains not only every book ever written, but every possible arrangement …

Book catch up #2, good ol Nabokov

Whenever I've read something boring or confusing, or just plain bad, I read some Nabokov as my next, cause it's guaranteed to be good. This time I read Pnin, and as always, it was beautiful, funny, and just lovely. Pnin is a Russian living in America, and teaching Russian at a college. He is absent …

Chekhov, no twist!

I've been reading a collection of short stories by Anton Chekhov, and am enjoying it immensely. His characters are so bright and clear and amped-up that you can't help but love or hate them. But more than any of that, I absolutely love the lack of twist endings in his stories. Anton Chekhov, if you're …

Vertigo, by W.G. Sebald: A dark view on memory

This book is about memory. But similar to the other Sebald novel I've read, Rings of Saturn, the true meaning of the book was not clear to me until the end. The novel features an unnamed narrator who may or may not be Sebald himself, traveling about Europe and reminiscing (also similar to Rings of …