Though best-known for her essays, Sontag is a distinguished writer of fiction. Her most recent novel, In America, received the 2000 National Book Award. In America reimagines the true story of Maryna Zalezowska, a leading 19th century Polish actress who came to this country to found a utopian commune in California. The epic follows Maryna's adventures as her commune disintegrates, and afterward, when she finds renewed success as an actress on the American stage.
"an epic riff of imagination on little-known historical events. . .The scope of the tale is vast, and there is largesse in the telling, the sheer happiness of art." - Richard Lourie in The Washington Post Book World
"A passionate and often radical novel of ideas that affords all the old-fashioned pleasures of a traditional historical novel." - Michiko Kakutani in The New York Times
Sontag's earlier novel, The Volcano Lover (1992), also received wide attention. Set in the 18th century, the novel recounts various seductions and scandals in the court of the Bourbon monarchy in Naples.
". . .Sontag adds such historical texture to her saga of sexual intrigue that it all comes to sordid life, full of passion and politics. Her warts-and-all version of history relies on a profound imagining of each character's point of view." - Kirkus Reviews
Sontag first established her reputation in the 1960s as a contributor of critical essays to such left-learning journals as Partisan Review, Harper's, and The Nation. She nearly died of cancer in the 1970s, but wrote two of her best-known works during her recovery: On Photography (1977), which received the National Book Critics Circle Award, and Illness as Metaphor (1978, an exploration of the cultural significance of diseases.
"It is hard to imagine any photographer's agreeing point for point with Sontag's polemic, but it is a brilliant, irritating performance, and it opens window after window on one of the great faits accomplis of our culture. Not many photographers are worth a thousand of her words."- Richard Hughes, Time, on On Photography
Books by Susan Sontag:
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