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.
"A passionate and often radical novel of ideas that affords all the old-fashioned pleasures of a traditional historical novel." (Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times)
"Brave and beautiful.... Susan Sontag has indeed found a story that tells many stories with elan, intelligence, and delight." (The Washington Post Book World)
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