Stewart Home's Reviews > The Rings of Saturn

The Rings of Saturn by W.G. Sebald
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's review
Feb 04, 2012

did not like it

"By the time the desert arrived, Alan was talking about The Rings Of Saturn by W. G. Sebald. My companion considered this to be one of the worst travel books he had ever read. Sebald was a Professor of Modern German Literature at the University of East Anglia in Norwich. This overpaid hack had taken the train from his academic base in Norfolk to the Suffolk border and then written an account of his travels south along the coast. Among other things, Sebald claimed to have difficulty imagining that tourists and business travellers would choose to visit Lowestoft. As Alan observed, it was through this type of half-baked rhetorical trick that the voyeuristic professor attempted to place himself outside the social system that his snobbish comments demonstrated he would never escape by dint of his own efforts.

"Alan castigated Sebald for telling the reader very little about Suffolk, and what he did have to say never rising above the level of clichés and inanities. Having stopped at the village of Middleton to visit his friend "the writer" Michael Hamburger, Sebald not only considered it worth recounting that in the kitchen there were piles of jiffy bags awaiting reuse, he even provided a photograph of them. Alan was scathing about this example of "anecdotal information" from Sebald's book, observing that one
would imagine most writers are sent a good number of books - some for review, others as tokens of friendship, and yet more that may have been purchased by post for the purposes of research - and that many an author would save the jiffy bags these books arrived in for reuse when they were mailing their own works to worthy and not so worthy recipients. After all, it was well known that most writers subsist on low incomes and that padded envelopes are expensive."

From my novel 69 Things To Do With A Dead Princess - more along these lines to be checked out there!
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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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Marion Hall This review is nothing more than shameless self promotion! Not good.

Stewart Home Marion wrote: "This review is nothing more than shameless self promotion! Not good."

Great to see you've got a sense of humour LOL when so much of the literary world is completely po-faced. But whether I'm engaging in shameless self-promotion or not Sebald is still a boring and bigoted bourgeois hack. And for your information I've never been good - some reviewers have even called me a bad boy of literature - but I prefer to bill myself as "an ego-maniac on a world historical scale" since literature like art and philosophy is something we need to smash!

message 3: by Michael (new)

Michael K Every now and then I read something by somebody who cites the influence of Sebald. I'm very certain I have at least flicked through the book more than once in response to such provocateurs but I can't even remember the cover.
I'm leaving this one in that pile out the back.

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