is the third novel New Directions has published by W.G. Sebald, one of the most enormously acclaimed European writers of our time. Vertigo
, W.G. Sebald's first novel, never before translated into English, is perhaps his most amazing and certainly his most alarming. Sebald -- the acknowledged master of memory's uncanniness -- takes the painful pleasures of unknowability to new intensities in Vertigo
. Here in their first flowering are the signature elements of Sebald's hugely acclaimed novels The Emigrants
and The Rings of Saturn
. An unnamed narrator, beset by nervous ailments, is again our guide on a hair-raising journey through the past and across Europe, amid restless literary ghosts -- Kafka, Stendhal, Casanova. In four dizzying sections, the narrator plunges the reader into vertigo, into that "swimming of the head," as Webster's defines it: in other words, into that state so unsettling, so fascinating, and so "stunning and strange," as The New York Times Book Review declared about The Emigrants
, that it is "like a dream you want to last forever."