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By Sigrid Nunez

A poignant, intimate memoir of 1 of America's such a lot esteemed and interesting cultural figures, and a deeply felt tribute.

Sigrid Nunez used to be an aspiring author while she first met Susan Sontag, already a mythical determine identified for her polemical essays, blinding intelligence, and edgy own variety. Sontag brought Nunez to her son, the author David Rieff, and the 2 begun relationship. quickly Nunez moved into the condo that Rieff and Sontag shared. As Sontag informed Nunez, "Who says we need to stay like everybody else?"

Sontag's impression on Nunez, who went directly to develop into a profitable novelist, will be profound. defined through Nunez as "a typical mentor" who observed teaching others as either an ethical legal responsibility and a resource of unending excitement, Sontag unavoidably contaminated these round her together with her many cultural and highbrow passions. during this poignant, intimate memoir, Nunez speaks of her gratitude for having had, as an early version, "someone who held such an exalted, unironic view of the writer's vocation."

Published greater than six years after Sontag's demise, Sempre Susan is a startlingly fair portrait of this oversized character, who made being an highbrow a glamorous career.

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The poem that I keep in mind inflicting the main pleasure at 340 was once “Elegy for John Donne. ” however it was once this line, from canto 10 of “Gorbunov and Gorchakov,” that haunted me. It haunts me nonetheless. In these days Susan and David’s favourite meal was once sushi (a nutrition they brought me to), and consuming out with one or either one of them frequently intended going to both of 2 jap eating places on Columbus road or to a touch fancier one in a definite midtown resort. With Joseph, even though, it needed to be Chinatown. I take into accout him on one specific evening, a bit of sea cucumber dangling from his chopsticks, beaming at all people round the desk. “Aren’t we satisfied? ” he stated, then became to provide Susan a kiss. That evening, someday once we dropped him off at Morton highway, the place he lived, he had his first middle assault. •   •   • I spent little or no time within the room i used to be renting, yet towards the top of the summer time (during so much of which Susan used to be away, at her moment domestic, in Paris), I did discover a new condo. It was once on a foul block, one of many many undesirable blocks to be came across at the then half-slummy higher West aspect. I hadn’t even moved in all my stuff while i used to be robbed. acquaintances knowledgeable me that the thief used to be the tremendous and i had no longer been his first sufferer. I faced the tremendous, who denied the crime whereas taking a look guilty—and mean—as hell. I complained to the owner, who wouldn't become involved. swap the locks if you’re so suspicious, he informed me wearily. The tremendous looked as if it would me not just cheating yet a bit psychotic, coolly coming into flats to rob tenants, leaving a window open to make it glance as though the thief had are available that method (in the case of my condo, the thief may have needed to understand how to fly). i used to be afraid to reside there now. and actually, I by no means did. — WHY used to be I going to a writers’ colony, besides? Susan desired to recognize. She herself might by no means do this. If she was once going to gap up and paintings for a spell, allow or not it's in a lodge. She’d performed couple of occasions and enjoyed it, ordering sandwiches and low from room carrier and dealing feverishly. yet to be secluded in a few rural retreat simply sounded grim. and what kind of concept was once to be present in the rustic? Had I by no means learn Plato? (Socrates to Phaedrus: “I’m a lover of studying, and bushes and open state won’t educate me whatever. ”) I by no means knew a person who used to be extra appreciative than Susan used to be of the gorgeous in paintings and in human actual appearance—“I’m a attractiveness freak” used to be whatever she acknowledged all of the time—and but I by no means knew an individual much less moved through the beauties of nature. To her, it may well now not were extra seen: artwork used to be better to nature because the urban was once enhanced to the rustic. Why might somebody are looking to go away Manhattan—“capital of the 20 th century,” as she enjoyed to say—for a month within the woods? whilst I stated i'll simply think relocating to the rustic, might be now not correct then but if i used to be older, she was once appalled. “That seems like retiring. ” The very notice made her ailing. since it used to be the place her mom and dad lived, she occasionally needed to fly to Hawaii.

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