The Volcano Lover

  • by Susan Sontag
  • Narrated by Jennifer Van Dyck
  • 14 hrs and 16 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

The Volcano Lover follows the fortunes of a British ambassador, the ravishing woman he marries, and the young British admiral with whom she falls in love.
Set in 18th-century Naples and based on the lives of Sir William Hamilton, his celebrated wife Emma, and Lord Nelson, the novel is peopled with many of the great figures of the day. This unconventional, best-selling historical romance from the National Book Award-winning author of In America touches on themes of sex and revolution, the fate of nature, art and the collector's obsessions, and, above all, love.


What the Critics Say

"A panoramic, passionately feminist examination of the changing shape of Western civilisation since the Age of Enlightenment. Sontag's book is a sweeping, exquisitely detailed picture of Europe in the final decades of the eighteenth century." (Chicago Sun-Times)
"The Volcano Lover is a great novel. It repeatedly scales heights of complex thought, passion and expression that few American writers ever approach, while reimagining a majestic love story in dazzling style." (The Philadelphia Inquirer)
"Hardly digressions, Sontag's many aesthetic speculations wonderfully enhance the plot. A fine novel of ideas, this is sure to please venturesome readers of historical romance as well." (Library Journal)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Enthralling. Impossible to remove my headphones.

What did you love best about The Volcano Lover?

Sontag gripped me. What do I love? History. Edgy. Thoughtful. Surprises. Romance. This delivered all beyond my expectations. I am still tingling and feel a sense of abandonment one feels when a great "read" ends.

What did you like best about this story?

Naples. Evocative descriptions. Art. Furious and spot-on conclusion that is literally the best conclusion of any novel ever - bar none - even my great beloveds of the Brontes, Wilkie Collins, Tolstoy, James. This is a great great read.

Which character – as performed by Jennifer Van Dyck – was your favorite?

Van Dyck is obliged to capture a variety of narrators: male and female, living and dead, and she nails them all. Her voice is like burnt caramel. I felt like Sontag was there, and I spoke to her. Van Dyck has her round tones and deep power.
She needs some work on Italian names, but I gave her 5 stars because I am still a true fan and would acquire any audiobook by her.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

The ending was like a punch in the chest and I love it completely.

Any additional comments?

I had the audiobook of Sontag's other novel, In America, and it was a love hate. The audio book was great, but the writing pissed me off for the first third. Afterwards, she redeemed herself and I was content. I had moderate expectations of this novel, and, from the beginning was flabbergasted. I never wanted to do anything other than listen. It is a great great work. This production is so worthy of a remarkable piece of writing.

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- D. Donohue

The quips and aphorisms are the best part

This very literary historical romance novel, set for the most part in 18th-century Italy, is beautifully presented by the Audible narrator. With a strong plot and fascinating setting, the novel certainly held my interest. The characters, even the three main ones, are sketched in with broad strokes rather than finely detailed, but that's generally enough.

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- Robin Charleston

Book Details

  • Release Date: 09-02-2011
  • Publisher: Audible Studios