Tuesday, July 19, 2005

sontagging

And a propos of nothing, am currently reading a newish Susan Sontag book of essays called Where the Stress Falls. It looks as though it was published about a year or so before her death. Oddly enough, so far it's made me think about writing a novel again. Well, sort of a fictional memoir rather than a 'story'. I have just finished her essays on Machado de Assis and W.G. Sebald, whose Austerlitz I finished reading recently and whose Vertigo I have next to go. I like Sebald's peripatetic writing, which I would not emulate, but I started thinking of some ideas of my own.

By the way, we had a great surprise when walking around the cemetery at Montparnasse early in the year, late Feb to be exact. After visiting the Baudelaire memorial we strolled on to find a newly set up grave, one that had obviously been cleared out and re-released. There were fresh flowers all over it and wreaths from such as the Mairie de Paris. There was a very simple inscription on a metal plaque - Susan Sontag 1933-2004. Of course, she died in New York but was buried in Paris with a ceremony on 17 January, we heard later, which included readings by such people as Isabelle Huppert who read from Baudelaire and a Sontag favourite, Beckett (who is buried nearby). In attendance also were Ian McEwan, and Annie Leibovitz. There's a pic of some this on culture space blog. My camera had given up the ghost at the particular moment we came across the grave, actually it clagged up when I tried to take a picture of the Baudelaire monument, so I have no record of what we saw apart from memory sharp frozen on a chilly Paris morning, just a couple of weeks after the funeral.

1 comment:

Stranger Ken said...

Speaking of Machado de Assis, have you read "Philosopher Or Dog"? It's a challenge! I agree with you about Sebald too. "Austerlitz" seemed to me to be a wonderful exploration of so many things that I'm still working through some of them.