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In America: A Novel

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In America: A Novel Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

In America is a kaleidoscopic portrait of America on the cusp of modernity. As she did in her enormously popular novel The Volcano Lover, Susan Sontag casts a story located in the past in a fresh, provocative light to create a fictional world full of contemporary resonance.

In 1876 a group of Poles led by Maryna Zalezowska, Poland's greatest actress, emigrate to the United States and travel to California to found a "utopian commune." When the commune fails, Maryna stays, learns English, and—as Marina Zalenska—forges a new, even more triumphant career on the American stage, becoming a diva on par with Sara Bernhardt.

In America is about many things: a woman's search for self-transformation; the fate of idealism; a life in the theater; the many varieties of love; and, not least of all, stories and storytelling itself. Operatic in the scope and intensity of the emotions it depicts, richly detailed and visionary in its account of America, and peopled with unforgettable characters.

Susan Sontag became a cultural figure upon the publication ofher pathbreaking collection of essays Against Interpretation in 1966. She went on to write four novels, including In America, which won the National Book Award for Fiction, as well as a collection of stories, several plays, and seven subsequent works of nonfiction, among them On Photography, Illness as Metaphor, and Regarding the Pain of Others. Her many international honors included the Jerusalem Prize in 2001 and the Friedenspreis (Peace Prize) of the German Book Trade in 2003. She died in New York City on December 28, 2004. Winner of the National Book Award

In America is a kaleidoscopic portrait of America on the cusp of modernity. As she did in her enormously popular novel The Volcano Lover, Susan Sontag casts a story located in the past in a fresh, provocative light to create a fictional world full of contemporary resonance.

In 1876 a group of Poles led by Maryna Zalezowska, Poland's greatest actress, emigrate to the United States and travel to California to found a "utopian commune." When the commune fails, Maryna stays, learns English, and—as Marina Zalenska—forges a new, even more triumphant career on the American stage, becoming a diva on par with Sara Bernhardt.

In America is about many things: a woman's search for self-transformation; the fate of idealism; a life in the theater; the many varieties of love; and, not least of all, stories and storytelling itself. Operatic in the scope and intensity of the emotions it depicts, richly detailed and visionary in its account of early America, and peopled with unforgettable characters.

Winner of the National Book Award

"Like its brilliant essayist author, this 'novel' defies every convention of storytelling . . . Most original and innovative."—The Philadelphia Inquirer

"An exhilarating journey into the past, freighted with dazzling detail, the product of an endlessly inquisitive, historical imagination."—The Economist

"Often brave and beautiful . . . The scope of the take is vast, and there is a largesse in the telling, the sheer happiness of art. But In America is also an intimate portrait of a willful woman who, like the liner which brings her to America, trails a great wake behind her . . . In this novel about Poland and America, acting and living, transformation and respiration, Susan Sontag has indeed found a story that tells many stories with élan, intelligence, and delight."—Richard Lourie, The Washington Post Book World

"Sure-footed and wonderfully daring."—Sarah Kerr, The New York Times Book Review

"An inventive work, written in fluid prose . . . Beautiful and unsettling."—Lisa Michaels, The Wall Street Journal

"A fascinating exploration of what's real in a culture that preaches authenticity but worships artificiality."—The Christian Science Monitor

"Enough incident, psychology, local color, and fascinating detail to stock a flotilla of popular novels, a couple of Ragtimes, and a brace of theatrical memoirs."—Michael Silverblatt, Los Angeles Times Book Review

"What is wonderful about this book is . . . [the] counterpoint of novelist and essayist, of innocence and knowingness. From the knowingness comes another excellence of In America, its cat's cradle of meanings."—Joan Acocella, The New Yorker

"In America displays Sontag in a relaxed, pleasure-seeking mode, guiding her character through a long travelogue in time, specifically the beginnings of the gilded age in the brave new world. Here are sumptuous theaters in Manhattan and hotels in San Francisco; a journey 1,900 feet down into a silver mine in Virginia City, Nevada; cameo appearances by such luminaries as Henry James and the Shakespearean actor Edwin Booth."—Paul Gray, Time

cf0 "Like its brilliant essayist author, this 'novel' defies every convention of storytelling . . . Most original and innovative."—The Philadelphia Inquirer

"An exhilarating journey into the past, freighted with dazzling detail, the product of an endlessly inquisitive, historical imagination."—The Economist

"Sontag weaves an expansive broad narrative cloth here, keeping us under her spell until the very last word."—Chicago Tribune

"A powerful story of a woman transcending herself . . . Mesmerizing."—Palo Alto Daily News

"[In America] showcases Sontag's gift for cultural commentary and her eye for sumptuous detail."—Rocky Mountain News (Denver)

"Susan Sontag is a powerful thinker, and a better writer, sentence for sentence, than anyone who now wears the tag 'intellectual.'"—The New York Observer

"Sontag crafts a novel of ideas in which real figures from the past enact their lives against an assiduously researched, almost cinematically vivid background." —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Sontag uses dense, elegant language, inventive dialogue, impassioned monologue, and diary entries to lure the reader more deeply into the fascinating historical journey of a powerful actress . . . Sontag triumphs once again with her gift for turning history into riveting fiction."—Library Journal

Synopsis:

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 emigres 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.

Synopsis:

Poland's greatest living actress leads a utopian community to the wilds of 1876 California, where she will struggle to maintain love, hope, and idealism in the harsh reality of the American West. Reprint. 35,000 first printing.

About the Author

Susan Sontag is the author of four novels, The Benefactor, Death Kit, The Volcano Lover and In America; I, Etcetera, a collection of stories; several plays; and five works of nonfiction, among them Illness as a Metaphor and AIDS and Its Metaphors. In 2001 she was awarded the Jerusalem Prize for the body of her work.

Product Details

ISBN:
9781429954303
Subtitle:
A Novel
Publisher:
Picador USA
Author:
Susan Sontag
Author:
Sontag, Susan
Subject:
Historical fiction
Subject:
Polish americans
Subject:
Historical
Subject:
Historical - General
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Actresses
Subject:
Utopias
Subject:
California
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Subject:
Sale Books-Popular Titles
Subject:
main_subject
Subject:
all_subjects
Publication Date:
20010504
Binding:
Electronic book text in proprietary or open standard format
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
387
Dimensions:
8.260 x 5.520 x 1.020 in 0.790 lb

Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » Cultural Heritage

In America: A Novel
0 stars - 0 reviews
$ In Stock
Product details 387 pages Picador - English 9781429954303 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , 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 emigres 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.

"Synopsis" by , Poland's greatest living actress leads a utopian community to the wilds of 1876 California, where she will struggle to maintain love, hope, and idealism in the harsh reality of the American West. Reprint. 35,000 first printing.
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