Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0001387, Mon, 28 Oct 1996 11:10:33 -0700

Para-Nabokoviana: W.G. Sebald
In the Sunday L.A.Times _Book Review_, (p.2) Richard Eder reviews THE
EMIGRANTS by W.G. Sebald, a German novelist & scholar who teaches at the
University of East Anglia in Norwich. The novel is four narratives about
German Jews who escape the Holocaust "yet gradually succumb to it years
later, in old...age." According to the reviewer, Sebald "weaves recurring
images through these [separate] stories. The Swiss Alps appear in three
of them, with their lofty inhuman view of the world below and their
country's cold isolation from the horrors around it. All four contain
fleeting glimpses of Vladimir Nabokov with his butterfly net: in the Alps,
on a meadow near Cornell,... and as a little boy at a German spa."....
"Why Nabokov? I am not sure. Some of the images in Sebald's
brilliant and somber book work inexplicably. This one is arbitrary on the
face of it, but it doesn't feel that way. Its playfulness both lightens
and illuminates. Nabokov, whose liberal father was assassinated by
Russian emigre extremist, steps out of another dark history, portly and
pursuing butterflies. Sebald has fashioned a net of his own."
D. Barton Johnson
Department of Germanic, Slavic and Semitic Studies
Phelps Hall
University of California at Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara, CA 93106
Phone and Fax: (805) 687-1825
Home Phone: (805) 682-4618