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Sontag: Her Life and Work Audiobook, by Benjamin Moser Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Benjamin Moser Narrator: Tavia Gilbert Publisher: HarperCollins Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: September 2019 ISBN: 9780062957856
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The definitive portrait of one of the American Century’s most towering intellectuals: her writing and her radical thought, her public activism and her hidden private face.

No writer is as emblematic of the American twentieth century as Susan Sontag. Mythologized and misunderstood, lauded and loathed, a girl from the suburbs who became a proud symbol of cosmopolitanism, Sontag left a legacy of writing on art and politics, feminism and homosexuality, celebrity and style, medicine and drugs, radicalism and Fascism and Freudianism and Communism and Americanism, that forms an indispensable key to modern culture. She was there when the Cuban Revolution began, and when the Berlin Wall came down; in Vietnam under American bombardment, in wartime Israel, in besieged Sarajevo. She was in New York when artists tried to resist the tug of money—and when many gave in. No writer negotiated as many worlds; no serious writer had as many glamorous lovers. Sontag tells these stories and examines the work upon which her reputation was based. It explores the agonizing insecurity behind the formidable public face: the broken relationships, the struggles with her sexuality, that animated—and undermined—her writing. And it shows her attempts to respond to the cruelties and absurdities of a country that had lost its way, and her conviction that fidelity to high culture was an activism of its own. 

Utilizing hundreds of interviews conducted from Maui to Stockholm and from London to Sarajevo—Sontag is the first book based on the writer’s restricted archives, and on access to many people who have never before spoken about Sontag, including Annie Leibovitz. It is a definitive portrait—a great American novel in the form of a biography. Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • Sontag reads like an epic quest, offering a deep and thorough portrait of the intellectual giant that’s both dishy and enlightening.”

    Washington Post

  • “An astonishing page-turner, the last word on Susan Sontag. I can’t imagine the necessity of another book about her life.”

    Sigrid Nunez, National Book Award-winning author of The Friend

  • “Moser’s accomplishment here is breathtaking: it includes an extraordinary knowledge of the subject, her milieu, her writings, her ideas, and her friends and family, beautiful prose, extraordinary insights, a capacity to understand her driven emotional life and her stellar intellectual life.”

    Rebecca Solnit, author of Call Them By Their True Names

  • “Sontag’s influence on aesthetics, writing, and the wider culture is almost impossible to overstate, and Moser’s monumental biography reveals the surprisingly tender, insecure, and intellectually dedicated story of one the most remarkable literary figures of twentieth century America. She stands reclaimed for our century in this definitive, fiercely intelligent work.”

    Stephen Fry, author of Heroes

  • “Moser brings his iconic subject to life in this gripping, insightful, and supremely stylish biography…revealing at every turn the vital, complicated, imperfect human being behind the formidable public intellectual.”

    Edmund Gordon, author of The Invention of Angela Carter: A Biography

  • A Washington Post Pick for September

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About the Author

Benjamin Moser is the author of Why This World: A Biography of Clarice Lispector, which was a finalist for the National Book Critics’ Circle Award and a New York Times Notable Book. For his work bringing Clarice Lispector to international prominence, he received Brazil’s first State Prize for Cultural Diplomacy. He has published translations from French, Spanish, Portuguese, and Dutch. A former books columnist for Harper’s Magazine and the New York Times Book Review, he has also written for the New Yorker, Conde Nast Traveler, and the New York Review of Books.

About the Narrator

Tavia Gilbert is an acclaimed narrator of more than four hundred full-cast and multivoice audiobooks for virtually every publisher in the industry. Named the 2018 Voice of Choice by Booklist magazine, she is also an Audie Award nominee and the recipient of numerous Earphones Awards, a Voice Arts Award, and a Listen-Up Award. With frequent inclusion on best of year and annual top ten lists, she is a trusted and increasingly sought-after actress for work across every genre, from children’s and YA, to literary fiction, nonfiction, and genre fiction. Audible has named her a Genre-Defining Narrator: Master of Memoir, and Library Journal said of her, “as close as you can get to a full-cast narration with a solo voice.” She is a producer, singer, photographer, and a writer, as well as the cofounder of a feminist publishing company, Animal Mineral, with fiction and nonfiction focusing on relationships, love, and identity.