The Pequod Review:
Published in 1988, After Nature is W.G. Sebald’s first work and already his trademark style is fully apparent. The book is a collection of three biographical prose-poems on (respectively) the German painter Matthis Grunewald, the German explorer Georg Wilhelm Steller, and finally W.G. Sebald himself. The themes of nature and ecology recur throughout, but more than anything the book is about fiction and art as a way of reaching a deeper and more accurate view of a person than a purely factual narrative. This was a key theme in Steller’s and Grunewald’s work too, and Sebald continues and builds upon it here.