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Sempre Susan: A Memoir Of Susan Sontag (2011)

by Sigrid Nunez(Favorite Author)
3.66 of 5 Votes: 3
1935633228 (ISBN13: 9781935633228)
review 1: I appreciate the honesty of this memoir, despite its small scale it began with a good balance of both the admirable and the harsh in Sontag. It contains many enlightening insights about the highs and lows of being brilliant. That is until the second half when a stream of unappetizing anecdotes demonstrate Nunez's bitterness as much as Sontag's. And that's fine, obviously their relationship was tough, and Sontag a tough cookie. What I found most unfair was how the author condemns her subject to a life filled with sullen regrets, among them the fact that she never had a successful relationship. Funny how Nunez claims such distant authority on Sontag's final years while completely ignoring Annie Leibovitz. Granted they never "lived" together, but still, just sayi... moren'...
review 2: This book is so many things--insightful, wise, gracefully-written, moving--but what affected me most about it is its sense of deep acceptance. Sigrid Nunez writes about Susan Sontag (who comes across as many things, as well, including brilliant, difficult, demanding, willful, and entirely herself) with such luminous clarity and even-handedness; Nunez doesn't sugar-coat anything, but she's clear and respectful and loving, even about Sontag's most difficult, unlovable traits. She makes Sontag human, and also incredibly sympathetic, while at the same time portraying her as someone it was probably incredibly difficult to spend a lot of time around. The book is brief--I could have read it in one sitting if I hadn't been rushing around so much--and, to me, seems to move the way memory does, one thing leading seamlessly to another, though it doesn't have a strict chronological or otherwise-logical sequence. It also ends up feeling (like so many really good books do) that it's just as much about the author as it is about her subject, though there's not much detail about Nunez's own life, except for those details that relate directly to Sontag. A book I'll probably want to reread again soon... plus I want to explore Nunez's fiction, too. less
Reviews (see all)
What a perfect small memoir of the unforgettable - but clearly maddening! - Susan Sontag.
A remarkably clear eyed and unsentimental but warm piece of vivid portraiture.
shallow and somewhat snarky, I love Nunez but she did better by the marmoset.
I loved this, spare & simple & surprisingly affecting.
Really, really excellent.
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