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Publisher's Summary

A devastating novel about memory, alienation, and trauma from acclaimed novelist W. G. Sebald.

The four long narratives in The Emigrants appear at first to be the straightforward biographies of four Germans in exile. Sebald reconstructs the lives of a painter, a doctor, an elementary-school teacher, and Great Uncle Ambrose. Following (literally) in their footsteps, the narrator retraces routes of exile which lead from Lithuania to London, from Munich to Manchester, from the South German provinces to Switzerland, France, New York, Constantinople, and Jerusalem. Along with memories, documents, and diaries of the Holocaust, he collects photographs - the enigmatic snapshots which stud The Emigrants and bring to mind family photo albums. Sebald combines precise documentary with fictional motifs, and as he puts the question to realism, the four stories merge into one unfathomable requiem.

©1992 Vito von Eichborn GmbH & Co Verlag KG, Frankfurt am Main (P)2018 Brilliance Publishing, Inc., all rights reserved. English translation © 1996 by The Harvill Press

What listeners say about The Emigrants

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A Masterpiece

Sebald masterfully blurs the line between fact and fiction. The journey into the live of the ordinary become transformed into the extraordinary.
The reading is an excellent performance by Mel Foster.

4 people found this helpful

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Amazing book, poor performance

Sebald was extraordinary, and I'm thankful to have read The Emigrants a few times before encountering this audio version. Mel Foster's performance here is, sadly, tone deaf. Sebald's voice is melancholy, patiently observant, enigmatic, and at times quietly yet deeply unnerving. Sebald's self-effacing act of witnessing the experiences of individuals who more-or-less directly experienced the Holocaust is transfomed by Foster's rendering into a string of tales told by a jaunty, world-travelling raconteur. I grant that this was a difficult project since Sebald's voice slides more deeply into the subjectivity of his subjects as the book proceeds. I only wish that this audio version had been undertaken with more empathy for its subjects and a deeper understanding of Sebald's work.

2 people found this helpful