Book review: ‘Across the Land and the Water’ by W.G. Sebald

Mostly unfathomable.

Across the Land and the WaterSebald groupie that I unashamedly am, I thought it was about time I tackled some of his poetry.

I’m not very good at reading poetry. I don’t really get it. In fact, when it comes to certain poets, I more than half suspect there isn’t all that much to get. But these poems were by Sebald, so I knew they would contain some wonderful insights, if only I could fathom them.

I couldn’t.

Although I did eventually manage to semi-understand the bit about tree frogs’ ignoring their ladders, I read most of this book in open-mouthed incomprehension. I literally didn’t have a clue what he was on about. In my defence, though, I was somewhat distracted by the whistling noise the poems kept making as they passed right over my head.

But I reckon I’ll give them another shot some day. They were, after all, written by Sebald.

Postscript (Dec 2018): Since writing the above, I have re-read Across the Land and the Water. I still found it pretty unfathomable in places.


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