The Rings of Saturn begins as the record of a journey on foot through coastal East Anglia. From Lowestoft to Bungay, Sebald's own story becomes the conductor of evocations of people and cultures past and present: of Chateaubriand, Thomas Browne, Swinburne and Conrad, of fishing fleets, skulls and silkworms. The result is a rich meditation on the past via a melancholy trip along the Suffolk coast, and an intricately patterned and haunting book on the transience of all things human.
‘Sebald is the Joyce of the 21st Century’ The Times
A novel of ideas with a difference: it is nothing but ideas. Framed around the narrator's long walks in East Anglia, Sebald shows how one man looks aslant at historical atrocity. Formally dexterous, fearlessly written (why shouldn't an essay be a novel?), and unremittingly arcane; by the end I was in tears
A great, strange and moving work
The finest book of long-distance mental travel that I've ever read
A desperate intensity of feeling is thrillingly counterpoised by the workings of a wonderfully learned and rigorous mind
Sebald is surely a major European author...he reaches the heights of epiphanic beauty only encountered normally in the likes of Proust