The Rings of Saturn is so many things at once. Part travel documentation, part historical research, part novel, part ethereal stream-of-consciousness, and each part is executed superbly. The book ostensibly covers a short period of journey on-foot by Sebald in south-east England as he traces some of the history related to Thomas Browne, but it meanders and gets lost just as often as he does on the moors and plains of that area. The journey it takes us on is sublime. Each page is dripping with descriptions, sudden changes in course, and a type of exploratory and deeply engaged writing that is incomparable. This is my first time reading Sebald; I will be reading a lot more of him in future.
Published Nov. 8, 1998 by New Directions.