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APS TOGETHER

The Emigrants by W. G. Sebald Day 3

June 12, 2021 | Paul Bereyter (to end)

Mme Landau says that after years of silence and secrets people sometimes “really did forget” their past—memory is active work, and not to remember is to undo that history.


I love the detail of the case of rainbow sewing thread that “seemed especially magical” to Paul as he rode through the emporium on his tricycle.


Our oldest memories, which somehow grow in clarity as we age, becoming more real than reality, have this quality of magic because the past is an unreachable place, a fiction, a fairyland.


Mme Landau again: “It is hard to know what it is that someone dies of.” Where is causation in a complex chain of events? Had Paul come to see suicide as inevitable? Was it any more a choice than other deaths of despair (as in broken heart syndrome)?


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