While I did not think the full intensity of Sebald’s vision was sustained throughout this meandering book, I was at times ensorcelled.
The reportage was in-depth enough to intrigue. Orbiting the biographical themes, historical contexts and tidbits, the author, with his critical brilliance, presents, massages, and salivates over a garrulous catalogue of personal researches. With a pervasive voice, an authoritative aplomb, a pseudo-didactic tone slips into reminiscences. This is a séance with the phantasms of pasts, a sum survey of humanistic endeavors petering one into another. I was ensconced in the pursuit of knowledge, arcane and representative, within the greater realization that we are all a webwork of infused ideas. Sebald’s bald approach, enriched disregard for formal pattern, and argumentative wizardry is mildly addictive.