I, etcetera.

Standard

I met Susan Sontag.

I was absolutely furious with the fact that the library where I have access to books in English hasn’t purchased a book since… 2000? (when they bought let’s say… 20?) Moreover, they don’t offer ANY English writer because there only waves the Star Spangled Banner.

I met Susan Sontag within a battered paperback from 1979. I grabbed it as a last option among anything else because I recognized her name. I’d picked it some years ago when I had heard somebody on TV announcing her passing.

I had always known I was going to meet Susan Sontag, eventually, when I heard the announcement of her passing in 2004. Something in what they said about her (that I can’t recall at all), set my intention towards her encounter.

I’m delighted to have finally met Mrs. Susan Sontag.

A book is a blend of many things, not that I’m saying anything new. Balance is much appreciated in a book. But to those that read there’s usually something that outstands over the rest. A masterpiece would be a piece where every aspect outstands.

I like Susan Sontag very much.

Most times you fall in love with a story like with Follet’s “The Pillars of the Earth”, Horvath’s “The Canning Season” or Rothfuss’s “The King’s Killer Chronicles”. Sometimes you fall in love with a character like Kvothe from “The Name of the Wind” or Dr. House if you make an allowance for characters in motion stories; and sometimes you fall in love with the brains of an author like with Asmivov’s or Crichton’s or King’s. Very few times though, you fall in love with the way a writer writes like with Jonathan Safran Foer’s writing in “Extremely Loud, Incredible Close” or Susan Sontag’s “I, etcetera”, specially in “Project for a Trip to China”.

I simply get joy out of her lines and paragraphs, savouring the words and thinking how I could use those words myself. The beauty of those words lies in their superb accuracy and simplicity.

You should read this book. You’ll find an extremely clever, articulate, honest, humble, and precise mind with a mastery of expression.

I don’t like to quote, but I’ll make an exception because I can’t stop folding page after page to mark passages I want to copy later on a piece of paper and keep for myself forever.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you some Susan Sontag.

“Somewhere, some place inside myself, I am detached. I have always been detached (in part). Always.
-Oriental detachment?
-pride?
-fear of pain?

With respect to pain, I have been ingenious.”

“What People Are Trying to Do.

All around us, as far as I can see, people are striving to be ordinary. This takes a great deal of effort. Ordinariness, generally considered to be safer, has gotten much rarer than it used to be.”

“People are trying not to mind, not to mind too much. Not to be afraid.”

“Sometimes it helps to be paranoid. Conspirancies have the merit of making sense. It’s a relief to discover your enemies, even if first you have to invent them… Julia however, doesn’t think she has any enemies -as, when her current lover again refuses to leave his wife, she still doesn’t understand that she isn’t loved.”

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