Posted on 08/02/2021 at 02:00 PM by Sadye Scott-Hainchek

The first major biography of author WG Sebald promises an in-depth look into the traumas that shaped his career.

Carole Angier’s Speak, Silence: In Search of WG Sebald, which comes out August 19, illustrates just how Sebald’s German heritage influenced him to write about the Holocaust.

It wasn’t that he or his family was victimized – rather, it was the shock of learning what the German army, in which his father had served, had done to the Jewish people.

Sebald repeatedly attempted to talk about this with his parents, says Angier in the Guardian, but both refused to discuss it.

This conflict left him feeling as though his identity had been destroyed, and it preceded his first mental breakdown — experiences that he explores in his acclaimed novel Austerlitz, about a man who represses but then rediscovers his memories of being a Jewish refugee child.

For more glimpses into Speak, Silence: In Search of WG Sebald, head to the Guardian.

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