Ensnaring Sebald

Carole Angier at The Paris Review:

Readers of Sebald increasingly agree that it is wrong to see the Jewish and German tragedy of the Holocaust as the sole focus of his work: the darkness of his vision extends much further, to the whole of human history, to nature itself. That is true. But here is my limitation: I am the daughter of Jewish refugees from Nazism. It was the fact that Sebald was the German writer who most deeply took on the burden of German responsibility for the Holocaust that first drew me to him, and it is still one of the things that most amaze and move me about his work. He didn’t want to be labeled a “Holocaust writer” and I don’t call him one here. But though the Holocaust was far from the only tragedy he perceived, it was his tragedy, as a German, the son of a father who had fought in Hitler’s army without question. It was also my tragedy, as the daughter of Viennese Jews who had barely escaped with their lives. I think it is right to see the Holocaust as central to his work. But if I make it too central, that is why.

more here.