The Harvard Square Book Circle

discusses W. G. Sebald’s The Rings of Saturn

Monday, November 6, 2017
7:00 PM

The Harvard Square Book Circle, our in-store book club, discusses W. G. Sebald’s critically acclaimed novel The Rings of Saturn, translated by Michael Hulse. The Rings of Saturn will be featured in the bookstore’s Select Seventy display for the month of October.

About The Rings of Saturn

The Rings of Saturn―with its curious archive of photographs―records a walking tour of the eastern coast of England. A few of the things which cross the path and mind of its narrator (who both is and is not Sebald) are lonely eccentrics, Sir Thomas Browne’s skull, a matchstick model of the Temple of Jerusalem, recession-hit seaside towns, wooded hills, Joseph Conrad, Rembrandt’s “Anatomy Lesson,” the natural history of the herring, the massive bombings of WWII, the dowager Empress Tzu Hsi, and the silk industry in Norwich. W.G. Sebald’s The Emigrants (New Directions, 1996) was hailed by Susan Sontag as an “astonishing masterpiece perfect while being unlike any book one has ever read.” It was “one of the great books of the last few years,” noted Michael Ondaatje, who now acclaims The Rings of Saturn “an even more inventive work than its predecessor, The Emigrants.”


“The book is like a dream you want to last forever. . . Sebald has done what every writer dreams of doing. The Rings of Saturn glows with the radiance and resilience of the human spirit.” —Roberta Silman, The New York Times Book Review

“This is very beautiful, and its strangeness is what is beautiful. . . One of the most mysteriously sublime of contemporary writers. And here, in The Rings of Saturn, is a book more uncanny than The Emigrants.” —James Wood, The New Republic

“Ostensibly a record of a journey on foot through coastal East Anglia, The Rings of Saturn is also a brilliantly allusive study of England’s imperial past and the nature of decline and fall, of loss and decay. The Rings of Saturn is exhilaratingly, you might say hypnotically, readable. It is hard to imagine a stranger or more compelling work.” —Robert McCrum, The London Observer