From the sides
Yesterday, my class discussed "All'estero," from Sebald's Vertigo. This morning (i.e., just now), without even looking, as it were—prompted by a seemingly random Google Alert, pegged to my name listed on the margin of the Sebald blog Vertigo (I wonder, has it just been added?)—I came across Will Self's thoughts on "reverse-engineering" a Sebaldian narrative, in the Guardian:
When I came to Vertigo myself, then read the interviews conducted with Sebald and collected in the volume entitled The Emergence of Memory, it was with that same sense of deliberately engineered déjà vu that I had experienced trudging the subsiding loess of the Holderness coast. Sebald speaks of his own methodology in spatial terms: "If you are travelling along the road and things come in from the sides to offer themselves, then you're going in the right direction. If nothing comes, you are barking up the wrong tree." Then again: "We're living exactly on the borderline between the natural world . . . and that other world which is generated by our brain cells. And so clearly that fault line runs through our physical and emotional makeup . . . where these tectonic plates rub against each other [are] the sources of pain."
[At The Unarchivable: My 2002 piece on Sebald and Gaddis.]