Literary Fiction

The Rings of Saturn by W. G. Sebald

When I finished reading “The Rings of Saturn,” I wanted to read it again because I now understood the meandering structure of the narrative. Several blurbs on the cover call this book “strange,” so I’ll simply say it’s unusual (but strange). It’s “about” a man on a walking tour along the east coast of England, and the historical items and events he encounters. But that doesn’t do justice to it. For example, in the chapter on his sojourn to Southwold, the narrator discusses Joseph Conrad, King Leopold of Belgium, the atrocities perpetrated in the Congo, and Roger Casemate, who protested the brutality that occurred in Africa and elsewhere. The chapter on his visit to Norwich describes the silk industry—in China, France, and England. It’s an amazing book, lacking a predictable plot, but truly engrossing.


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