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. Following (literally) in their footsteps, the narrator retraces routes of exile which lead from Lithuania to London, from Munich to Manchester, from the South German provinces to Switzerland, France, New York, Constantinople, and Jerusalem. 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.W. G. Sebald was born Winfried George Maximillian Sebald in Wertach im Allgäu, in the Bavarian Alps in 1944. From 1975 he taught at the University of East Anglia, became Professor of German in 1986, and was the first director of the British Centre for Translation. He won the Berlin Literature, Literatur Nord, and Mörike Prizes, as well as the Johannes Bobrowski medal, plus the Los Angeles Times Book Award for Fiction (The Rings of Saturn). New Directions was the first to publish his book here: The Rings of Saturn, The Emigrants, and Vertigo. He died in an automobile accident in Norfolk, England, near his home in Norwich in East Anglia, England, on December 14, 2001.