Melancholy narratives of sadness and memory, of uprooting, despair and death. The four long narratives in The Emigrants appear at first to be the straightforward biographies of four Germans in exile. Sebald reconstructs the lives of a painter, a doctor, an elementary-school teacher, and Great Uncle Ambrose. Along with memories, documents, and diaries of the Holocaust, he collects photographs - the enigmatic snapshots which stud The Emigrants and bring to mind family photo albums. Sebald combines precise documentary with fictional motifs, and as he puts the question to realism, the four stories merge into one unfathomable requiem.
PS The figure of Nabokov appears in every one of the four sections of The Emigrants.