THE REPUTATION OF an important writer will continue to swell in his or her absence, nourished by the unceasing attentions of friends, scholars, and devoted readers unwilling to forget an artist who changed the way they perceive the world. And so it is with W.G. Sebald. At the time of his shocking and untimely death, in 2001 at the age of fifty-seven, he was the author of only four works of fiction, which, despite their slender size and their occasional inscrutability, had already established him as a defining writer of his era. Starting with Vertigo, which first appeared in German in 1990, and continuing through Austerlitz, published a few months before his death, each was richer and stranger than the last. Part memoir, part travelogue, part biography, and part dream, they seemed to exist in an uncategorizable space beyond genre, at the intersection of history both personal and collective and imagination.