Swimming In A Sea Of Death | Granta

  • Published: 06/04/2009
  • ISBN: 9781847080752
  • 129x20mm
  • 192 pages

Swimming In A Sea Of Death

David Rieff

In spring 2004, Susan Sontag was diagnosed with the incurable blood cancer. She had a huge appetite for experience, and a wild, extravagant desire to live. Rieff writes movingly about being by her side during that last year and at her death, and about his own contradictory emotions: his guilt both for not consoling her enough, and for somehow colluding with her in her belief that she could beat the disease. Drawing on Sontag’s journals and letters, which Rieff read after her death, and on the writings about the deaths of other great thinkers, Swimming in a Sea of Death provides a vivid portrait of Sontag in the last year of her life and a haunting meditation on mortality.

Susan Sontag was fiercely, exuberantly alive ... David Rieff's fine, tender, and unflinching portrait of her final illness brings home her absolute determination to survive to the last ... A courageous and darkly beautiful book

Oliver Sacks

Reading Swimming in a Sea of Death is at once a shattering encounter with medical actuality and an elating literary experience. It is a work of the highest originality and artistry - and truthfulness

Janet Malcolm

David Rieff is a writer of stature ... he writes with elegance and high intelligence; the book is a fine epitaph to his mother

Financial Times

The Author

David Rieff is a contributing writer to the New York Times Magazine. He is the author of seven previous books, including the acclaimed At the Point of a Gun: Democratic Dreams and Armed Intervention, A Bed for the Night: Humanitarianism in Crisis and Slaughterhouse Bosnia and the Failure of the West. He lives in New York City

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