AFTER SEBALD

Rings of SaturnPatience Rings of Saturn is one of my all time favourite books. For me it has all of the right ingredients, its beautifully written, deeply moving, its about walking and its even got lots of wonderful photographs in it.

The central narrative follows Sebalds journey on foot through the desolate seaports and forgotten towns in the region of East Anglia. Sebalds vast knowledge of European and local history are intertwined with the surrounding landscape and the characters that seemingly drift in and out of the story. Sebald also brings another layer to the book by including images to accompany the text. The images are untitled and create a curious interplay between what we read, what we see and what we imagine. The book reads like a discourse on loss brought about by the the inevitable passing of time. For anybody interested in the poetics of walking, I cannot recommend this book enough.

If you like Sebald or are interested in knowing more about the book, the excellent documentary PATIENCE (AFTER  SEBALD) by Grant Gee is available on DVD. The film is loosely based around Sebalds walk but we also get a further insight into the man thanks to interviews with various literary and celebrity figures such as Robert Macfarlane and Iain Sinclair. Gee manages to translate the sensibility of the book well into visual form and there is also an excellent soundtrack by Leyland Kirby, otherwise known as The Caretaker.