Tuesday, March 30, 2010

No go, Vertigo

Tomorrow the Slaves of Golconda will begin discussion of W.G. Sebald's first novel, Vertigo. Mine was one of the votes for the Sebald, so I'm more than a little chagrinned to admit that I was unable to finish it. I've been rather hit or miss in writing reviews on Slaves' books for the last couple of years, but other than an Oscar Wilde that I'd read a year prior to its selection by the Slaves and therefore took a pass on, I have read every one since the group first began reading together in late 2005.

I started Vertigo three weeks ago, forced myself through the first 60 pages, then set it aside thinking I'd pick it up again closer to the discussion date. But merely thinking about attempting the book again left me feeling oppressed, which brought out all my procrastinating tendencies in full force until it was simply too late to bother.

The scuttlebutt is that several of us had difficulty with the Sebald. I think of the Slaves as a formidable group of readers, so the fact that one book was able to get the better of a good portion of us seems worthy of note.

I'll be following the discussion of Vertigo with great interest. I'm still holding out hope that I'll pick it up again at some point in the future and wonder what my problem was this time around.


  1. Oh no! So many didn't make it through. I did and liked it though I'm not sure what it was all about. I'll be posting on it tonight (I'm at work right now, shh!)

  2. I've read most of the Slaves books but I've missed a few. I voted for this one, too, and wanted to read it but I just couldn't manage it. I wouldn't mind if we got back to something more along the lines of a classic (not that this isn't, just an older classic).

  3. Sounds like Vertigo was a tough read for more than a few. I'll be interested to read some of the reviews of it.

  4. It was a challenging book, definitely. I admired it, but I'll admit that I didn't mind getting to the end.

  5. If you're reading Sebald for the first time then Rings of Saturn might be a better place to start than Vertigo -- the opening is less reticent, less oblique, and the whole book is quicker.


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