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Walter KirnThat Coetzee can make such exotic eminences as Sebald and Benjamin less forbidding is a testament to his prowess as an interpreter but also to his charm as a companion. His erudition and analytic acumen—both considerable, to say the least, and best displayed in his remarks on the nuances of literary translation—are so well dissolved into his elegant bearing that walking beside him rarely feels intimidating. And when, about halfway through the book, he leads us to the smoother ground of writers who compose in English and whom we've already presumably met (Faulkner, Beckett, Bellow, Roth and others), the stroll speeds up some and grows more invigorating…Inner Workings is Coetzee's master class, and he honors us, too, by letting us sit in on it, despite our spotty preparation and the hasty ways we may use it. Knowing something about W. G. Sebald feels a lot better than knowing nothing—particularly when the little knowledge one does have comes from a source as reliable as Coetzee and inspires one to make time to learn much more.
—The New York Times