Schwindel. Gefühle. Die Andere Bibliothek - Erfolgsausgabe
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Schwindel. Gefühle. Die Andere Bibliothek - Erfolgsausgabe

4.06 of 5 stars 4.06  ·  rating details  ·  1,606 ratings  ·  133 reviews
Schwindelartige Gefühle der Irritation - in den vier durch wiederkehrende Motive und literarische Anspielungen kunstvoll miteinander verwobenen, geheimnisvollen Geschichten überkommen sie den Erzähler immer dann, wenn sich zwischen Erinnerung und Wirklichkeit eine bedrohliche Kluft auftut. Neben dem französischen Romancier Henri Beyle alias Stendhal ist es vor allem Franz...more
Hardcover, 316 pages
Published June 1st 2001 by Eichborn (first published 1990)
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Throughout Vertigo, W.G. Sebald, through deceptively clear prose and photographs, creates a disorienting waking dream for his readers. The novel is divided into four sections, and while there is not a straightforward plot or clear storyline, Sebald weaves thematic connections as well as specific details revisited from different perspectives to hold the novel together. Some sections read as biographies of historical figures, while others are written from the perspective of neurotic characters, tr...more
"Sebald's narrative doesn't just tell stories; it offers itself as a model of consciousness, demonstrating that to be fully aware of oneself in time is to suffer incurable VERTIGO." Richard Edgar, New York Times, 2000.

A biography of Stendhal, a glimpse of Dante, a particular of Kafka, and a visit to W, Sebald's childhood home in Germany...all seen through the mystery of memory.

It's interesting for me—as I reacquaint myself with the frequencies of the Sebald-via-Hulse literary signal—to contrast the prose styles of the late German and the modern French academic Mathias Énard, the author of the five-hundred-plus page shotgun blast Zone : whereas Énard's amphetaminic, propulsive narration piles one gruesome event upon another with such energized and relentless urgency that no single scene is given the opportunity to overwhelm or paralyze the reader with horror, but rathe...more
K.D. Absolutely
Feb 22, 2014 K.D. Absolutely rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K.D. by: 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (2006-2012)
Dizzying yet beautiful. Reading Sebald, my second, is like drinking red wine. It tastes bitter yet there is an aftertaste of something sweet that is left in your mouth. It makes your head spin after a while and yet you enjoy the feeling. It is something that you don't normally drink (since I prefer beer being cheaper generally) but it gives you some class and it is reason enough for you to finish the till the last drop from the glass.

What I am trying to say is that this book takes you to an unfa...more
Jeff Jackson
1) Inspired to pick this up after seeing Grant Gee's doc "Patience: After Sebald" which is currently streaming on Netflix. It's worthwhile viewing, especially for Iain Sinclair's comments about why Sebald chose not to put his work into English himself (he was more than capable) and the subtle transformation that happens to his prose through the lens of translation.

2) His first novel isn't as tightly constructed as The Emigrants or as brilliantly sprawling as The Rings of Saturn, but the web of...more
It’s the transformation of the world prefigured in the narrative flow of Sebald’s depiction of enduring irresolution that makes him a suitable guide for those of us still searching for something more from life—call it aesthetic grace or whatever. The way our minds stray into dream and fantasy, return constantly to the nostalgic hinterland of formative experiences, and gain ground on old religions and easy answers are all there, like a purer rhythm that sifts from our own paltry thoughts and word...more
MJ Nicholls
It’s hard to write about what Sebald does, since his style belongs to a tradition of German writers such as Thomas Bernhard: it’s sparse, lyrical, poetic and formally original.

Vertigo is the first of four “novels” where he pioneered his mix of memoir, historical lecture and evocative description. Like The Emigrants, the book is divided into four separate trips, whose connections (conceptual or intellectual) I am too feeble to understand. Each section explores the tension between memory and art,...more
"He had no answers, but believed the questions were quite sufficient" (p. 62)
Now I have read all of Sebald's four major "novels". I feel, as I often do after reading Sebald, unable to say anything meaningful about his work, even though I was deeply moved while reading him. It seems funny to me, in retrospect, that I didn't especially like Rings of Saturn, the first book of his I read. I'm sure if I return to it now I will love it. His writing goes to the edge of so many things that it is easy to...more
There are three main arteries to drive the 12.5 miles from my suburban home to downtown Pittsburgh. Foremost is McKnight Road, a six-lane swath through McDonalds and Target and JiffyLube and, well, you know the route. It's under construction this summer, a bridge reduced to two lanes. McKnightmare Road, now. If you insist on going that way, you sit, you do not move. I can not 'not move'.

But as I said, there are two other alternate routes to take; narrower and slower because of the additional tr...more
Perhaps one of the reasons I do not read as many contemporary writers is that I find myself somewhat at sea as each one works his or her own strange magic on me. There is something comforting about reading a Balzac or a Trollope. I know their worlds and feel at home in them. Poor W G Sebald, on the other hand, suffers from a sense of Vertigo as he travels around Europe, bringing up memories and strange historico-literary coincidences involving Stendhal, Kafka, Casanova and others -- and many som...more
I think there's a strong argument to be made that this is a five star book; Sebald will routinely, with a seemingly quotidian sentence, compel you to feel almost breathtaking pain and loneliness--it's a crazy trick. And the last several pages are jaw-dropping in a way I won't spoil. The front of my copy of Vertigo calls Sebald "memory's Einstein," and this pretty much has to be true since it's well established that Sebald can write a great book (or more than one) about what is essentially a walk...more
L’io narrante di Sebald è quasi sempre in un periodo delicato e doloroso della vita – conosce la desolazione degli ospedali, ha frequentato anche quelli psichiatrici – è immerso nella malinconia, ma direi anche in qualcosa di molto prossimo alla depressione. E’ alle prese con una forza con la quale ingaggia una lotta muta, ma strenua.

Immagino che quella forza sia il ricordo: ricordare o dimenticare fa ugualmente male, è un peso dal quale non ci si libera.
Ma è qualcosa che si deve fa...more
Dhanaraj Rajan
What can I say about a Sebald book?

I can say only this much: It is no use trying to explain his book. The one and only solution - Buy the book and read it.

What will you find?

Sebald loves to travel and loves going on foot. That is what you will have to be prepared for - to travel. Do not worry about the new terrains and landscapes. Just follow Sebald. That is enough and he is an entertaining travel companion. Without you asking him anything, he will volunteer himself narrating some interesting ti...more
M. Sarki
It seemed remarkable to me the ease in which I sped through this book. Not that I understood it all, I did not. Even though the translation I read was in English, the writing still felt foreign to me. The words for people and places, and even things, were unfamiliar, and from time to time I would skip back a few pages to see if I had missed something important in my understanding of this dream. Reading this felt like a dream. And often I would find myself pages ahead to somewhere I failed to un...more
"Vertigo" is a haunting book. I don't know that I should call it a novel. I don't know what it's about. But it's absolutely marvelous, a strange concatentation of digressions, anecdotes, minor incidents, memories, and random thought processes such as you experience when you're sitting on an airplane and the present is a transition that feels like a suspension of your "real" life.

"Vertigo" feels as if the book is being whispered in your ear by a master storyteller who never gets around to telling...more
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Chelsea Szendi
Every work of Sebald is an act of mourning. This book is not driven by narrative, but by a sense of uprooting. Sebald's prose is inspired by sentimentalism, and yet his nostalgia is often unsentimental: the pain of an ignorant rural past is no idyll, but the blandness of the present is not progress. It is an act of mourning because it is working though the past as if it were a death, and so the work cannot be accused of melancholia.

For me, the work of Sebald proves that the 1980s was a haunted t...more
W.G. Sebald was widely heralded before his unfortunate early passing. What's most striking to me is that his novel-memoirs are translations; the prose is so eloquent and so smoothly rendered into English that it's hard to believe the original text was German (French translates very well into English, but German always sounds stilted and cluttered, overly packed with odd grammar, awkward phrasing and far too many adverbs). I've recently learned that Sebald became heavily involved in the translati...more
When I read W.G. Sebald's Austerlitz, I realized that, for the first time since I had discovered Virginia Woolf in my teens, I was in the presence of a writer who had done everything I could ever want to do with the sheer beauty of language. In Vertigo, Sebald not only demonstrates his mournful, meandering sort of genius, but captures the irrepressible feelings of nostalgia for lost tendernesses, forgotten evenings, homelands to which one can never return--and this is only sharpened and made mor...more
what to make of this melancholic, reflective, alluring work that so defies classification? memoir, history, travel writing, fiction, literary recollection of daydreams past? vertigo, sebald's first "novel," is all of these many things at once, eclipsing and synthesizing their respective elements to form something unassumingly unique. while the conception of memory (and its inevitable antipode) is of interest to many a writer, sebald's patient, ruminative reflections stand out in the way that the...more
I admit, I think 9/10s of this book went over my head. But before you jump to the conclusion that therefore I didn’t like it, I should say that that actually made the book very appealing. Let me explain: The book contains many many historical references to an area I know little about, namely, Northern Italy and Southern Germany. I’ve never travelled the route between Vienna and Verona. Vertigo also tracks the pathway of three historical figures whom I know relatively little about: Stendhal, Casa...more
What a dark, brooding book this is. Sebald weaves together these luminous strands of personal memory and broader history and creates a sort of pastiche of resonances between them. You sort of float through his delightful reconstructions of episodes in the lives of Stendhal and Kafka, and then you notice how European history in general, both the parts that he explores and the ones that, in not outright exploring, he alludes to, bleed into the present and into his own past. I guess it's a book abo...more
What can I say? With Sebald, I feel as if I've come home somehow.
Dario Malic
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dit boek laat me met ongeveer hetzelfde gevoel achter als ik had toen ik "Het behouden huis" van Willem Frederik Hermans had gelezen: verdwaasd, verbaasd, enigszins onbegrijpend. Het frappante is ook dat, ook in dit boek, net als in dat van Hermans, de oorlog een motief is. Het wordt nergens expliciet vermeld, maar je voelt dat, doorheen het hele verhaal, de verteller en/of de schrijver van het boek leeft vanuit een "erfenis" die hij vanuit de oorlog heeft meegenomen.

Het verschil met Hermans is...more
According to wikipedia, W.G. Sebald was a great writer.

According to the novel Vertigo, either:

A. I am not a great reader


B. Wikipedia is wrong

This book oscillated between boring and super boring, pointless and completely pointless, and meandering and whatever is more meandering than meandering.

Sure, not every book needs a plot, but not only did this book not have a plot, but it didn't really have a point (though again point A from above may be right, so do with this as you will). To be honest,...more
The (presumably intentional) overarching effect of this one is considerably more vertiginous than the other two Sebald books I've read. I'm not sure that I'm not being a bit generous with the 4 stars here (granting, obviously, the inherent stupidity of a star-rating system), as I found this to be simultaneously more dreamily obscure –– plus absolutely suffused with actual dreams –– than either The Rings of Saturn or Austerlitz, and ultimately less resonant or profound; but as my second-favorite...more
"L'incrociarsi dei riflessi luminosi sul soffitto della stanza indica che, tra qualche istante, vi si dischiuderà un varco, che presto qualcosa si manifesterà."

Ma il varco (così montaliano ai miei occhi) non si apre: il senso sul punto di essere afferrato si sottrae, l'ordine è di nuovo sopraffatto dal disordine, l'atto stesso del ricordare appare impossibile, si rivela arbitrario, illusorio, menzognero. I ricordi "sono una cosa davvero strana", e le "vicende ormai tanto remote" rimangono in ma...more
Sebald's books sound like I should enjoy them, containing a mix of travel descriptions, history essays and personal memories, but there's something missing for me because I've read two of them now and I have to force myself to keep reading. Somehow Sebald just can't keep me interested, and I think it's a combination of his language, which is very detailed with long, involved sentences, and the fact that everything he's writing seems to be about either his own or someone else's unfortunate experi...more
Steve mitchell
Beautifully written and insightful musings, an enjoyable read that flowed nicely. Readers may have a problem with the lack of plot or purpose, I often times find it difficult to get into book if its not plot driven. Sebald makes the reader forget linear lines while discussing such topics as war and waste and change, how all this mutates memory and life.

I personally feel this is an anti war book hidden subtly in a few sections, but that is just a on my part.

I would not mind re-reading this novel...more
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  • Wittgenstein's Nephew
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  • The Death of Virgil
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  • How I Became a Nun
  • Lands of Memory
  • Your Face Tomorrow, Vol. 2: Dance and Dream
  • Billiards at Half-Past Nine
  • The Island of Second Sight
  • Bartleby & Co.
  • The Quest for Christa T.
Winfried Georg Maximilian Sebald was a German writer and academic. His works are largely concerned with the themes of memory and loss of memory (both personal and collective) and decay (of civilizations, traditions or physical objects). They are, in particular, attempts to reconcile himself with, and deal in literary terms with, the trauma of the Second World War and its effect on the German peopl...more
More about W.G. Sebald...
Austerlitz The Rings of Saturn The Emigrants On the Natural History of Destruction After Nature

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“It is thanks to my evening reading alone that I am still more or less sane.” 2760 likes
“Tiny details imperceptible to us decide everything!” 13 likes
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