I don’t know how to classify this book – it’s a mix between memoirs and fiction, or so it seems to me. The book says it’s literature, but it certainly reads like at least some of the story might be true, or perhaps Sebald just crafted memoirs around various old pictures.
In any case, this is a book about people who have emigrated from Germany, and the aftermath of WWII and the Holocaust on their lives. Even if it is fiction, the story is deeply moving as these people try to understand and content themselves with their lives now. There are several common themes throughout the story that link each of these characters together, all of which would spoil the story, except perhaps the very frequent intrusion of images of Nabokov throughout the book.
I liked it; I found the beginning a bit slow, but as it went on I could see the connections and found the book very engaging and touching. I loved the inclusion of old photographs; even if they were not genuinely connected to the characters in the book, it adds an element of reality and immersion. I think that Sebald does his hardest to draw his reader in and make him feel for these people, and he succeeded with me.