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Sempre Susan: A Memoir of Susan Sontag

Authors: Nunez, Sigrid
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
BISAC/Subject: BIO026000, BIO022000, BIO007000
ISBN: 9780698172807, Related ISBNs: 0698172809, 1594633347, 9780698172807, 9781594633348
Classification: Non-Fiction
Number of pages: 128,
Audience: General/trade
Synopsis: From the author of The Friend, winner of the 2018 National Book Award.
"The masterpiece of the ‘I knew Susan’ minigenre" – A.O. Scott, The New York Times

A poignant, intimate memoir of one of America’s most esteemed and fascinating cultural figures, and a deeply felt tribute.


Sigrid Nunez was an aspiring writer when she first met Susan Sontag, already a legendary figure known for her polemical essays, blinding intelligence, and edgy personal style. Sontag introduced Nunez to her son, the writer David Rieff, and the two began dating. Soon Nunez moved into the apartment that Rieff and Sontag shared. As Sontag told Nunez, “Who says we have to live like everyone else?”

Sontag’s influence on Nunez, who went on to become a successful novelist, would be profound. Described by Nunez as “a natural mentor” who saw educating others as both a moral obligation and a source of endless pleasure, Sontag inevitably infected those around her with her many cultural and intellectual passions. In this poignant, intimate memoir, Nunez speaks of her gratitude for having had, as an early model, “someone who held such an exalted, unironic view of the writer’s vocation.”

Published more than six years after Sontag’s death, Sempre Susan is a startlingly truthful portrait of this outsized personality, who made being an intellectual a glamorous occupation.
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