New York: A New Directions Book, 1998. 1st US Edition. Octavo, publisher's burgundy cloth over gray paper-covered boards, spine stamped in silver, dark gray endpapers, original illustrated dust jacket.
"Memories lie slumbering within us for months and years, quietly proliferating, until they are woken by some trifle and in some strange way blind us to life." Ostensibly a novel, The Rings of Saturn is in reality uncategorizable, seemingly a quasi-memoir or travelogue, along with an amalgam of fiction and history. In ten hallucinatory chapters accompanied by archival photos (this use of visual material is now considered a Sebaldian staple), the narrator meditates on time, memory and identity while meandering flaneur-style through England’s East Anglia, the German-born writer's adopted home. Blending his first person accounts of places he sees and people he encounters with various episodes from history and literature, provoked by the "ghosts" who keep him company (including Thomas Browne, Joseph Conrad and Jorge Luis Borges), Sebald creates a sublime and wholly unique piece of literature. Originally published in Germany in 1995. Light rubbing to spine lettering, else fine in unclipped dust jacket. Item #1768