'A warm breeze lifted him, and on forest odours of pinewood and thyme and fern and warm wet earth, it carried him far away.'
'Birch trees did not always have silver bark. There was a time when their trunks were the grey-brown of most other trees. It was sex that changed things. It always does.'
‘"Beech" was the noise that came out. Don’t believe what they say about the word becoming flesh. The word became wood.’
'Desperate to get away from his now too voluble spouse, he hurried out to the moor with the aspen leaves crushed in his fist. To his surprise, the same green-gowned lady came riding by.'
'The trees have always had some idea of what happens to them when they die. In forests they saw their neighbours toppled by wind or age and rot into earth, and their roots sent up descriptions of peat and coal in vast beds and seams.'
'It was my first full-time job in a long while. The chairman of the Katherine Mansfield Birthplace Society and the four paid staff were there, all in winter coats.'
'This was her grandest bid to bring something back from the ruins. She was not reading despite the bombs; she was reading with them, and the two – reading and bombs – are jumbled together in one of her last letters.'
'As a Suffolk man I have a special affection for The Rings of Saturn, although the Suffolk coast Sebald evokes is nothing like the Suffolk I know.'
'Revising those essays in translation I was on my own, and I kept weighing up every sentence, wondering what Max would have thought of this or that phrasing.'
Sebald deploys photographs to continually subvert his readers’ expectations. Carefully selected and laid out, he seeks, often playfully, to insert the exotic into the everyday.
'When I met Professor Sebald for our first tutorial, I was immediately struck by how different he was from the mostly aloof, self-important professors that I was used to at Munich University.'
GENRE · At heart Max’s writing is uncategorizable and that is one of the things that makes it so special.