W. G. Sebald — German Writer born on May 18, 1944, died on December 14, 2001

Winfried Georg Sebald — known as W.G. Sebald or Max Sebald — was a German writer and academic. At the time of his death at the age of 57, he was being cited by many literary critics as one of the greatest living authors and had been tipped as a possible future winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature. In a 2007 interview, Horace Engdahl, former secretary of the Swedish Academy, mentioned Sebald, Ryszard Kapuściński and Jacques Derrida as three recently deceased writers who would have been worthy laureates... (wikipedia)

I've always felt that the traditional novel doesn't give you enough information about the narrator, and I think it's important to know the point of view from which these tales are told: the moral makeup of the teller.
The moral backbone of literature is about that whole question of memory. To my mind it seems clear that those who have no memory have the much greater chance to lead happy lives.
Where I grew up, in a remote village at the back of a valley, the old still thought the dead needed attending to - a notion so universal, it's enscribed in all religions. If you didn't, they might exact revenge upon the living.
People's ability to forget what they do not want to know, to overlook what is before their eyes, was seldom put to the test better than in Germany at that time.
It is a sore point, because you do have advantages if you have access to more than one language. You also have problems, because on bad days you don't trust yourself, either in your first or your second language, and so you feel like a complete halfwit.

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