National Book Award, Fiction, 2000
The Volcano Lover, Susan Sontag's best-selling 1992 novel, retold the love story of Emma Lady Hamilton and Lord Nelson with consummate power. In this enthralling audiobook - 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 audiobook - about a woman's search for self-transformation, about the fate of idealism, about the world of the theater - that will captivate listeners from the first chapter. It is Sontag's most delicious, most brilliant achievement.
Rarely do l give up on a book but this is the one, its difficult to appreciate the content as the narration takes any joy out of the listening process.
The book has an artiface that doesnt appeal to me but l could probably deal with that if l could concentrate on the content rather than the bizarre style of the narrator. Make your own decision but listen carefully first to the sample! I have only given it a 1 as 0 wasnt an option.
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