In America by Susan Sontag

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A glorious, sweeping new novel from the bestselling author of The Volcano Lover.

The Volcano Lover, Susan Sontag's bestselling 1992 novel, retold the love story of Emma Lady Hamilton and Lord Nelson with consummate power. In her enthralling new novel--once again based on a real story--Sontag shows us our own country on the cusp of modernity.

In 1876 a group of Poles led by Maryna Zalewska, Poland's greatest actress, travel to California to found a "utopian" commune. Maryna, who has renounced her career, is accompanied by her small son and husband; in her entourage is a rising young writer who is in love with her. The novel portrays a West that is still largely empty, where white settlers confront native Californians and Asian coolies. The image of America, and of California--as fantasy, as escape, as radical simplification--constantly meets a more complex reality. The commune fails and most of the émigrés go home, but Maryna stays and triumphs on the American stage.

In America is a big, juicy, surprising book--about a woman's search for self-transformation, about the fate of idealism, about the world of the theater--that will captivate its readers from the first page. It is Sontag's most delicious, most brilliant achievement. In America is the winner of the 2000 National Book Award for Fiction.


About Susan Sontag

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Susan Sontag (1933-2004) was the author of numerous works of non-fiction, including the groundbreaking collection of essays Against Interpretation (FSG, 1966), and of four novels, including In America (FSG, 2000), which won the National Book Award.
Published November 27, 2007 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 402 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction, Biographies & Memoirs, Children's Books. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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It's a fictionalization of the American experience of celebrated Polish actress Helena Modrzejewska (here named Maryna Dembowska): first, as queen of an entourage that includes her family and her lover (Nobel laureate Henryk Sienkiewicz, called here Ryszard Kierul) and that joins a farming commun...

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The New York Times

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A history of Esalen is one thing, but this long book also advances its own theory that Esalen and New Age culture more generally are furthering the evolution of religion in America, and perhaps worldwide, toward “no religion,” by which he seems to mean not secularism so much as a sort of transcen...

May 06 2007 | Read Full Review of In America

Lambda Literary

Christopher Bram opens the introduction to this informative and highly entertaining overview of gay male writing since World War Two with, “The gay revolution began as a literary revolution.” Later, he elaborates on this thesis: {B}etween 1948 and 2000, a tiny literary species, a handful of book...

Mar 08 2012 | Read Full Review of In America

The Fortnightly Review

Nor does it mean that intellectually or philosophically he is on the same level as David Lewis or Saul Kripke or Thomas Nagel or Jaegwon Kim or Alvin Plantinga, American philosophers mentioned by Romano only en passant or not at all, but who have wrestled manfully and with hard-won originality wi...

Jul 23 2012 | Read Full Review of In America

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