Someone recommended this book but who? Was it you?
"Someone" is a definite real extra person in our house."Someone has lost my car keys"..."Someone hasn't shut the freezer door"....someone, someone, someone but never I.
I seem to have more books on the go than is sensible in the week before Christmas, but this caught my eye as I was tidying my tables and shelves, plus trying to clear window sills in the book room because the blind man is coming this week. Blind as in window blinds that is.
Then I picked it up and spent an age looking at the cover.I'm not a connoisseur of East Anglia so wasn't sure how interested I might be in tales of Lowestoft but once picked up I was more than interested.Nor have I read any W.G.Sebald with any measure of success.Austerlitz has defeated me on several occasions.But having just watched Apollo 13 for the millioneth time (and why does it always make me cry?) perhaps I was ready to pick up a book called The Rings of Saturn and be transported on a journey of the mind quite unlike any other.
According to the blurb "part memoir, part fiction, part meditative essay writing and finally an essay for the dispossessed" and already I almost feel the need to check out Lowestoft and see if it's decline is as real as Sebald suggests.
A myriad of inter-connecting vignettes suddenly strike an odd but deeply resonant chord; the account of the rise and fall of Somerleyton Hall, the vivid detail of the gardener there who watched the squadrons of planes head across to bomb Sebald's own country during the war using a billion gallons of fuel in the process.And so it goes on.
This is a great big circular reading experience.Sebald takes you miles off the beaten track as one memory triggers another, then suddenly he brings you right back with a connection to where you started.It's a roundabout that, once on, you can't bear to step off, there is a rhythm to the book that resists interruption and makes for one of those unique reading experiences.Slightly reminiscent of that adonis Bruce Chatwin but it's a long time since I've read any of his.
This turned out to be my wakeful night time reading as I weather this year's common cold and that made it even more ethereal, the house was silent, not a murmur from the fields outside.All quite eerie and a book that pushes your mind into overdrive,not conducive to restful sleep.Then the next morning you find the long arm of coincidence has sadly thrust East Anglia into the news headlines, but they say it's Sudafed that gives you strange dreams so we'll put it down to a combination.