A 5 star novel,
This review is from: In America (Paperback)This is a brilliant, brilliant novel. I've never read any of Sontag's fictional works before so 'In America' was an eye-opener for me. I especially liked how Sontag opens her novel by looking at the novel itself as an act of creation. The narrator (I assume it's Sontag) is imagining the creation of her characters as we read each sentence. At first, I was wondering what Sontag was trying to do but (after a couple of re-readings) was reminded of Fowles' 'French Lieutenant's Woman' which famously has the author showing the reader that the novel is a construction by Fowles. It was when I made this connection that I realised what Sontag was trying to do i.e. reveal that the novel is a contruction and is not 'real'.
The final chapter of Sontag's novel continues this theme by having the character of Edwin Booth speak his lines as if he is in a play. Sontag deftly includes script directions which state what the characters should do when on stage.
But this novel is more than just a space where Sontag uses wonderful techniques to show that a novel is an act of creation - it is also a fascinating insight into the migrant experience of America in the mid nineteenth century, a really enjoyable account of the beginnings of the American theatre, as well as a wonderful critique into how the cult of celebrity started in America.
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Initial post: 8 Oct 2010 14:37:35 BDT
Elsie Piddock says:
I also found this book brilliant, though did not like the opening chapter. Such a rich variety of content meant I took it in small doses, whereas normally I devour a book. But I did keep wanting to come back, finding it a most compelling read. I love the variety of styles she uses, always seeming to apply the style appropriate to the point of view and point in the story she is portraying. Look forward to rereading it.
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