New Directions Publishing Corporation, Hardcover, 9780811214308, 263pp.
Publication Date: May 1, 2000
List Price: $23.95*
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Vertigo, W. G. Sebald's first novel, never before translated into English, is perhaps his most amazing and certainly his most alarming. Sebald the acknowledged master of memory's uncanniness takes the painful pleasures of unknowability to new intensities in Vertigo. Here in their first flowering are the signature elements of Sebald's hugely acclaimed novels The Emigrants and The Rings of Saturn. An unnamed narrator, beset by nervous ailments, is again our guide on a hair-raising journey through the past and across Europe, amid restless literary ghosts Kafka, Stendhal, Casanova. In four dizzying sections, the narrator plunges the reader into vertigo, into that "swimming of the head," as Webster's defines it: in other words, into that state so unsettling, so fascinating, and so "stunning and strange," as The New York Times Book Review declared about The Emigrants, that it is "like a dream you want to last forever."