By Benjamin Moser
Ecco Books, September 17, 2019
Utilizing hundreds of interviews conducted from Maui to Stockholm and from London to Sarajevo—and featuring nearly one hundred images—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.
“Benjamin 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. It will be called unsparing, because some of its truths about this complex figure are harsh, but it is generous to the subject as well as to readers who want to understand this woman who stood so tall and cast such a long shadow across twentieth-century intellectual life.” — Rebecca Solnit
“I always found Susan Sontag in turns brilliant, vain, wise, foolish, high, low, dazzlingly insightful, pretentious, pure … but always fiercely and frighteningly intelligent, learned, alert and aware. Benjamin Moser’s monumental biography reveals the surprisingly tender, insecure, simple and intellectually dedicated story of one the most remarkable literary figures to emerge in twentieth century America. Her influence on aesthetics, writing and the wider culture is almost impossible to overstate and Moser’s own fierce intelligence weaves between the life and the work quite magnificently. She stands reclaimed for our century, a much more lovable and variegated character than I ever guessed. Definitive and delightful.” – Stephen Fry
About the Author
Benjamin Moser is the author of Why This World: A Biography of Clarice Lispector, a finalist for the National Book Critics’ Circle Award; his work bringing Clarice Lispector to international prominence was recognized with Brazil’s State Prize for Cultural Diplomacy. He has published translations from several languages, received a Guggenheim Fellowship, and worked as a books columnist for Harper’s Magazine and The New York Times Book Review. He lives in the Netherlands and France.