Swimming in a sea of death
Self Perception Quotes (66 quotes)
Swimming In A Sea Of Death
Both a memoir and an investigation, Swimming in a Sea of Death is David Rieff's loving tribute to his mother, the writer Susan Sontag, and her final battle with cancer. Rieff's brave, passionate, and unsparing witness of the last nine months of her life, from her initial diagnosis to her death, is both an intensely personal portrait of the relationship between a mother and a son, and a reflection on what it is like to try to help someone gravely ill in her fight to go on living and, when the time comes, to die with dignity. Rieff offers no easy answers. Instead, his intensely personal book is a meditation on what it means to confront death in our culture. In his most profound work, this brilliant writer confronts the blunt feelings of the survivor -- the guilt, the self-questioning, the sense of not having done enough.
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It is perhaps surprising that Rieff objects violently to the frank and controversial photographs that Annie Leibovitz took of his mother as she was dying. Rieff himself seems to have made a compromise with the business of intimate revelation; in his indirection one feels the tastefulness, the reserve of the reluctant or ambivalent memoirist. His images of his mother are vague, a figure weeping in another room; if they were sketches, they would be rendered in a charcoal smudge. We see her underlining a pamphlet put out by the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, but we do not see her illness itself in any detail. What is shocking about the memoir is how ordinary Sontag seems. The reactions of this strong, singular woman to her illness, as Rieff reports them, are oddly generic. For a woman who had always believed in her own exceptionality, who had defined herself by her will to be different, to rise above, the terrifying democracy of illness is one of its most painful aspects.
"Swimming" in the Dead Sea
Swimming in a Sea of Death is David Rieff's loving tribute to his mother, the writer Susan Sontag, and her final battle with cancer. Rieff's brave, passionate and unsparing witness of the last nine months of her life is both an intensely personal portrait of the relationship between a mother and a son, and a reflection on what it means to confront death in our culture. David Rieff confronts his feelings in relation to his mother—the guilt, the self-questioning, the sense of not having done enough. And he tries to understand what it means to desire so desperately, as his mother did to the end of her life, and to try almost anything in order to go on living. David Rieff is a New York-based journalist and author. During the s, he covered conflicts in Africa, the Balkans, and Central Asia. He is the author of eight books, including….
Death disinhibits the survivors. The disinhibiting effect is supremely strong when the dead person was the writer's parent, someone who at one stage had great authority and may not in fact have lost it. Then bereavement can take on an aspect, conscious or unconscious, of revenge. In March David Rieff was returning from the Middle East, where he had done research for a magazine story about the Palestinians and Arafat, when his mother Susan Sontag told him that blood tests had been done on her, with results which didn't 'look too good'. Soon she was diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome MDS. Her health declined rapidly and she died of acute myeloid leukemia in December of that year.