Not a very long but powerful book What I liked about he book is hat David never strays from he main focus of Finding Me this book namely her mother s struggle with cancer Even ifhe The Changer’s Key this book is not about Susan Sontag s death it would still be a great read as italks about death dying disease friends passion life As a reader one does not Only hink about what David and Sontag go hrough but also how close anyone can be at any moment o hat kind of experience Also reading about Sontag s cancer one is reminded of one s own immortalityOne hostile reviewer on GR commented Portrait of Two Families thathe kind of money Untamed Voices (If you listen, they will speak Book 1) that was spent on Sontag sreatment could have been instead used I Can Touch the Bottom to savehousands of babies in Africa Clearly A Woman Is No Man this reviewer has least sympathy for African children but palpable hatred for Sontag Also many foundhe book badly written I didn It does what it is supposed o do It matches he visuality hat Annie Leibovitz Ashtakavarga Simplified the great photographer capturedhrough Sontag s last pictures In a way such intense engagement with death is a kind of education hat makes us realistic about both life and deathI admire Sontag s hunger for life I wonder if her last days and how she responded o cancer and its Photography Drills - Exercises For Accelerating Your Photography Learning Curve... (Photography Revealed Book 10) toughreatment can be added o her CAMP essay It is so CAMP LIKE in he most positive sense Difficult o decide number of stars on his onea very personal book and one hat is hard o rate as a result it feels as if I should not rate it at all One feels it serves a purpose most of all for Her Unexpected Affair the author Sontag s sonhough of course he reader is served as well I started his book when my Dad was in he last stages of his illness and he died soon after I finished itI can be relieved hat he did not suffer he painful end hat Sontag had hough here were some similarities he absolute will o live he sheer love of life and existence Rieff knew here was no cure o be found no hope but offered hope since hat was what his mother wanted His Very Special Nurse to hear He struggles withhe fact hat he offered her his untruth at A Scandalous Situation the end but makes peace ultimately with himself and her He exploreshe guilt he regret one feels with he death of a loved one and Sontag s death is The Secret Millionaire than once contrasted with Simone de Beauvoir s mother s whom she wrote about and I read as well many years ago in A Very Easy Death There is anger athe medical establishment as well Much in his book is valuable o one who must cope as I must with he death of a loved one This is another one of hose super personal books where I don feel right giving a rating How am I o rate his man s experience of losing his mother However it is important o note Dirty Dutch: Everyday Slang from What's Up? to F*% thathis is his personal experience and it was very specific o he author and his mother late author Susan Sontag I was unable Ambush Valley to relate as much as I was hopingo This book was indeed difficult The Lingering Dead (Jackie Rutledge, to read but forhose of us who share he author s experience it is a remendously validating book It is an important book for we who stayed behind with words unsaid For mereading many other reviews is much disturbing Storm Surge than readinghe book I amazed how little many of Lightning Sky: A U.S. Fighter Pilot Captured During WWII and His Father's Quest to Find Him the reviewers got fromhe book I suppose people read such books for many reasons For myself I am grateful The Slaughter: Mass Killings, Organ Harvesting, and China's Secret Solution to Its Dissident Problem that David Rieffhat Don't Die Under the Apple Tree the courageo write about his experience I ve often wanted o write o him o hank him If I rate The Way You Aren't this 5 starshen do I get o never have o Digital Humanities think about it againI agree entirely with another review on herehat says it feels odd Architect? to givehis book a rating how am I meant o rate a man grieving his mother But it
"s a book "a book m glad I ve read and I sincerely hope I never want o return Better Doctors, Better Patients, Better Decisions: Envisioning Health Care 2020 to Genuinely one ofhe most dejectedly despairingly sad Inside Jokes: Using Humor to Reverse-Engineer the Mind things I ve ever read at least in part because I love Sontag and her writing so much andhe entire Dynamical Systems in Neuroscience: The Geometry of Excitability and Bursting thing is devotedo documenting what happens when a life force like The Conscious Mind that realiseshat it is being brought o an unwilling end I honestly can say hat I recommend his book at all but I can still see it as necessary o be written and be glad I experienced it The book deals with he death of Rieff s mother intellectual celebrity Susan Sontag and so I was expecting a harrowing experience as serious as cancer as Venous Catheters: A Practical Manual the expression goes And it was And I felt guilty even reading it in a gruesome death porn way Buthere is much o hink about here gruesome as it is As a reader you have Ifism: The Odus Of Irosun And The Odus Of Owanrin (Ifism: The Complete Works Of Orunmila, Volumes 8 9) to first get aroundhe fact hat he book is poorly written Rieff is a professional writerjournalist with seven books o his credit but his prose was often appalling Clich s we even get o go on an emotional roller coaster ride at one point abound In many cases he cliches are acknowledged as being clich s and hen are self consciously employed anyway which if anything makes Wizards' Slave them even worse The brief uotes from Sontag s journals demonstrate whohe real writer in he family was Also he beginning of My Friend the Enemy theale is cluttered with starchy unreasonable complaints about he medical establishment shaggy dog stories and a certain lack of focus despite he
Rather Simple Narration As Forsimple narration As for medical establishment shaggy dog story a villain is introduced early on one Dr A feeling as I do about him I prefer not He Shoots, He Saves: The Story of Hockey's Collectable Treasures to name him This Dr A isreated particularly harshly right at he start but I kept waiting for he revelation o come hat would justify Rieff s emnity American Generalship: Character Is Everything: The Art of Command the cruel or inepthing Dr A did o add o Sontag s misery or hasten her death And yet nothing ever comes of it All Dr A did was ell Sontag hat she was going Then Hang All The Liars to die andhat here was no Both a memoir and an investigation Swimming in a Sea of Death is David Rieff's loving ribute Jennifer, Gwyneth Me: The Pursuit of Happiness, One Celebrity at a Time to his motherhe writer Susan Sontag and her final battle with cancer Rieff's brave passionate and unsparing witness of Seducing Mr. Knightly (The Writing Girls, the last nine months of her life from her initial diagnosiso her death is both an intensely personal portrait of Hardcore Self Help: F**k Anxiety the relationship between a mother and a son and a reflection on what it is likeo. .
Easible reatment for her disease Rieff complains hat he was condescending but perhaps Dr A felt Kaiser Wilhelm II that speakingo Sontag as a willful child rather Matisse the Master than as a fellow rational giant brain washe only way he could get The Madmen of Benghazi througho her Sontag was acting like a spoiled willful child so I can really fault Dr A his approach But of course someone like Susan Sontag does not have o put up with his so she found of course other doctors willing o dice heir diagnoses into hard o parse bits of fraudulent hope I suppose seeing Sontag s famous big beautiful piercing eyes across your desk hanging on Titulada to every word you say would be uite flatteringo many in he upper ranks of New York European medicine Well yes Ms Songtagcall you Susan Okay hen Yes Susan Chateaubriand there are some experimentalreatments being developed in Paris we could Obsidian Butterfly (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter, try Andhis brings me Nehru: A Political Biography (Pelican) to what is perhapshe real story here If you have enough money and in Sontag s case enough cultural clout you can find medical Old Hannibal and the Hurricane treatment for anything no matter how doomed you are What makes hers a hard case ishe fact hat Sontag beat really bad breast cancer back in he 70s by undergoing radical experimental Art Journal Freedom: How to Journal Creatively with Color Composition treatment It is hardo argue with hat kind of success and it was his astonishing recovery I know remission hat fuelled her frantic search for a cure for her leukemia some hirty years later And of course doctors were found who were willing Caught by Surprise to goo any effort o keep her alive And o Affinities and Extremes: Crisscrossing the Bittersweet Ethnology of East Indies History, Hindu-Balinese Culture, and Indo-European Allure tell her kind of what she wantedo hear But with Next to Nothing this later leukemia from which she later diedhere came a point where she should have resigned herself o death as Rieff reports as a blistered skeleton a day or wo before he end Sontag was still making plans for when she gets out There is courage and foolhardiness hope and bullshitting yourself Rieff o his credit addresses if only fleetingly his uncomfortable fact just how much money did all his cost And how much of a futile burden did his place on he health care system Sontag was a complicated person and I m sure her opinions on just about anything can not be easily nutshelled but would it be safe o assume hat her political opinions on health care in he USA might not uite align with he fact hat because of her financial and cultural clout she was able o get far far better health care Wendy and the Lost Boys: The Uncommon Life of Wendy Wasserstein than some poor cancer ruddled 71 year old woman over inhe Bronx And if Sontag did hold utopian healthcare ideals Lilac Girls (Lilac Girls, the fact is if allhe 70 something First Impressions: A Novel terminally ill patients on earth gothe same Rejuvenile: Kickball, Cartoons, Cupcakes, and the Reinvention of the American Grown-Up treatment Sontag gothe whole world would go bankrupt in about a week Sontag wanted o live at all costs and she was able and willing apparently without ever uestioning it o spend a lot in an effort o do so So isn here an ethical component o any of his Er what would Walter Benjamin do Or Sontag s pal E M Cioran Another surprising revelation in his book was how susceptible Sontag came in her later years o intellectual flakiness of various sorts It
SEEMS SHE HAD A LOT OFshe had a lot of who were Buddhists of some American stripe or otherwise New Agey ypes They gave her crystals A Buddhist old her she was in some kind of circle of protection This is Susan Sontag he embodiment of he hinker as a product of he radical will or whatever I ve never been smart enough o figure out any intellectual s actual plan Snow Flower and the Secret Fan this is my own lazy stupid fault and I am notrying o make excuses for my lapse
Not o rash Buddhists but I have o go along with Reiff ake on most of Countrymen: The Untold Story of How Denmark's Jews Escaped the Nazis the American kinds Perhaps a good Buddhist can reallyake in The Song of Homana (Chroniles of the Cheysuli, the full reality of human unimportance and still remain compassionatehough if he American Buddhists I knew in my wenties are at all representative Starstruck the creed is often a rationale for existential selfishnesshan self abnegation in any real sense of Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology theerm page 157 but note in The Price of Everything: Solving the Mystery of Why We Pay What We Do this uotehe ending phrase in any real sense of The Replacement theerm Public School Superhero there is a lot of compositional filler likehis Gok's Wok throughouthe book Of course existential selfishness is an interesting phrase in relation o Sontag s own frantic efforts o stay alive Despite Journey's End the infelicities and outright gob stoppers of his prose Reiff manages an astonishing degree of emotionalact and nuance He manages o let us know hat Susan Sontag was a Clementine Rose and the Seaside Escape top shelf pain inhe ass and impending death made her no easier Why Aren't They Shouting?: A Banker’s Tale of Change, Computers and Perpetual Crisis to get along with He also lets us know he loved his mother helplessly sohe way a son should More importantly he put across a fairly old fashioned idea if only by providing a poor example Codebreakers: The true story of the secret intelligence team that changed the course of the First World War the idea of a good death Just what doeshat mean I don know but I suspect it has something o do with accepting he inevitable making peace with your God or with yourself if you have no God and not clinging o La Philosophie Du Bon-Sens, Ou R�flexions Philosophiques Sur l'Incertitude Des Connaissances Humaines, Vol. 1: A l'Usage Des Cavaliers Et Du Beau-Sexe (Classic Reprint) the edge ofhe pot until he very last minute kicking and screaming It is disappointing o see our cultural and artistic heroes go out with such a lack of grace and I am an admirer of Susan Sontag s especially her essays I liked The Volcano Lover but it was or less a bodice ripper for he New Yorker reader although he older I get he suspicious and weary I get about her radical poses But a writer s GOT TO ESTABLISH HERSELF I GUESS to establish herself I guess wasn her shtick Branded to behe uncompromising radical No One Wants You: A True Story Of A Child Forced Into Prostitution the fearless artistic gadabout who put on a play in besieged Sarajevo a gesturehat still baffles me although I respect Letters from My Windmill the courage itook Make Your Mind Up: My Guide to Finding Your Own Style, Life, and Motavation! to pull it off So what happened Again ishere is such a Stay with Me thing as a good death Was it Samuel Beckett who refused painkillers when he was dying bec. Tryo help someone gravely ill in her fight My Wife's Success - A Sissy Cuck Tale to go on living and whenhe Reiki And The Seven Chakras: Your Essential Guide to the First Level time comeso die with dignityRieff offers no easy answers Instead his intensely personal book is a meditation on what it means A Fallen Fortune to confront death in our culture In his most profound workhis brilliant writer confronts he blunt feelings of he survivor he guilt he self uestioning he sense of not having done enoughAnd he ries o unde.here Not o rash Buddhists but I have o go along with Reiff
David Rieff ´ 9 FREE DOWNLOADAuse he wanted o be alert right up o Legends of the Improbable Saints the very end Nothat people should be judged on how hey dieor should hey Or should Where She Went those who profess great moral courage or spirituality and spiritual resignation be expectedo die courageously or at least resignedly While reading Wake Up, Mummy: The heartbreaking true story of an abused little girl whose mother was too drunk to notice this book I kepthinking of George Harrison who spent his last months being jetted all over he world in search of a miracle cure for his erminal cancerthe guy who was always counseling all The Family Friend things must pass andhe dangers of he material world But hen Harrison had money Fred Dibnah - Made in Britain than God And he no doubt found doctors who were Beatles besotted and wouldell George anything he wanted Still Open All Hours to hear Please just call me George Doctor Celebrity deaths are breathtakingly expensive Harrison s and Sontag s last few months of medicalreatment could ve saved 10000 babies in sub Sahara Africa from dysentery But A Catered Fourth of July then all of us westerners spend a loto stave off he inevitable With apologies o Dylan Thomas raging against The Complete History of the Life and Adventures of Robinson Crusoe the dying ofhe light might not be he best way o go But Fast Glamour this being said am I givenhe opportunity Family Tradition: Three Generations of Hank Williams to contemplate my own lingering cancer or cancerlike death I am pretty sure I will go down sniveling shrieking pleading and otherwise making an undignified spectacle of myself And spend spend spend Anything Doc do anything My remarks here are in no way meanto imply hat I am not a craven coward I am There is nothing easy about reading Rieff s agonizing account of his mother Susan Sontag s last nine months Swimming in a Sea of Death seems o portray he dark side of Illness as Metaphor I agree with Sontag hat as a society we need o be aware of he emotional and psychological conseuences Twinkle: Sharing Your Faith One Light at a Time to individuals of using diseases as metaphors but her contentionhat we must see a disease as just a disease a failure of Identity: The Demand for Dignity and the Politics of Resentment the body and nothing seemso deny some of he ransformative power of individual narratives about disease and dying Rieff repeatedly invokes Joan Didion s line we Dreams Take Flight tell ourselves stories in ordero live in relation o his mother s stubborn even delusional insistence despite all evidence o The Bath Monster the contraryhat medical science would save her life and hus he ells us she finds he will o endure painful and ostensibly futile medical interventions in her struggle o stay alive He seems o have The Rules of Acting taken Didionoo literally I don Boomerang (Part One: Chapters 1 - 19) think we ell ourselves stories so hat we can delude ourselves Uncovering Her Secrets turning away from reality Ihink we Pacar Kiriman tell ourselves stories sohat we can embrace reality finding ways o synthesize even he most seemingly meaningless events in our lives even death in meaningful ways Ultimately what makes Rieff s memoir so disturbing is its portrayal of suffering devoid of any ransformative value for Sontag or for Rieff As a reader you end his book as you began it struggling o stay afloat in his pain and wondering when or how he will strike for shore in search of a way War and Government in Habsburg Spain, 1560-1620 to groundhis account in a narrative hat allows him o begin o heal I read his book a day after
READING SONTAG S ILLNESS AS METAPHORSontag s Illness as Metaphor I recommend doing if you have The Safeguard of the Sea: A Naval History of Britain, 660-1649 theime Illness as Metaphor is only about 90 pages I found it somewhat sad The Prodigy's Cousin: The Family Link Between Autism and Extraordinary Talent that Sontag could never accepthe idea of death could never firmly believe Bittersweet that sheoo would die just as all humans do Yes she had a love of life and intense fervor but it was surprising hat someone at Her Age 71 And age 71 and had experienced disease before was never able o reconcile herself o he concept of mortality And yet she was a The Escape true writer and artist never acceptinghat her work was done hat she had no plans for he future I found his book fascinating in a number of ways and impossible and inappropriate o rate I ve read a number of memoirs about death by people who are dying but fewer by heir caregivers and survivors The author confronts a number of uestions and issues hat may be even difficult han impending death which is at least known o everyone what could he have done differently and it would it have been better These uestions are posed Sins, The Gita Karma thoughtfully and not melodramatically Layering onop of hat he element of Sontag herself and her writings on illness as well as all of Clarkson on Cars the information specifically about MDS I would recommendhe book although it will be a difficult read for a lot of reasons for many people Scientifically I find it fascinating o see how far a lot of cancer reatment has come while he MDS prognosis is still bad his 2008 book comments re Sontag s first cancer and he immunological component is no longer as accepted as it would become in he years immediately after my mother received it another magic bullet in he uest o cure cancer hat did not live up o its early promise I liked Tangled Sheets, Tangled Lies this book because I appreciatedhe way Beautiful Day the son wasrying o process his mother s death and cope with his reactions o Goodnight Sweetheart the wholeime she was ill His mother Susan Sontag was very opinionated and had a lot of willpower and was really in denial about he fact hat she was going o die She kept hinking hat she would somehow find a cure and find a doctor who would keep her alive I empathized with he son having a mother like hat I know it would have been a major struggle o be supportive in Deception So Deadly that situation I understandhat no one could help her confront The Prayers and Meditations of St. Anselm The Proslogion the reality ofhe situation because she just refused o consider it Death is always hard o face but it s even harder when you have he delusion hat it s just not going The Dragon Token to happen and you are somehow an exceptiono he rule hat everyone dies. Rstand what it means o desire so desperately as his mother did o he end of her life o The Appeasement of Radhika: Radhika Santawanam try almost anything in ordero go on livingDrawing on his mother's heroic struggle paying Lucia, Lucia tributeo her doctors' ingenuity and faithfulness and determined How to Be a Capitalist Without Any Capital: The Four Rules You Must Break To Get Rich toell what happened My Life: A Spoken Autobiography tohem all Swimming in a Sea of Death subtly draws wider lessons hat will be of value o others when Bipolar Breakthrough: The Essential Guide to Going Beyond Moodswings to Harness Your Highs, Escape the Cycles of Recurrent Depression, and T they findhemselves in he same situatio. ,