The Emigrants Summary
The four long narratives in The Emigrants appear at first to be plain accounts of the lives of Jewish emigrants in Norfolk, Austria, America and Manchester. There are even a great many photographs amid the text, which give the impression that the reader is poring over a family album, trying to tease out the truth behind the fading images. However, as Sebald s prose gradually exerts a powerful hold on the reader, the stories merge into one overwhelming evocation of the experience of exile and loss of homeland. Throughout the book the figure of Nabokov is used to symbolise the modern emigrant. Just as survival forced Nabokov to turn his back on four different homelands in the course of his life, so the emigrants in Sebald s stories are destined to wander far and wide, forever displaced and destined never to reach an end to their restless search for home and identity.
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W. G. Sebald
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