Swimming in a Sea of Death A Son's Memoir [Pdf Kindle]

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Eep her alive And to tell her ind of what she wanted to hear But with this later leukemia from which she later died there came a point where she should have resigned herself to death as Rieff reports as a blistered skeleton a day or two before the end Sontag was still making plans for when she gets out There is courage and foolhardiness hope and bullshitting yourself Rieff to his credit addresses if only fleetingly this uncomfortable fact just how much money did all this cost And how much of a futile burden did this place on the health care system Sontag was a complicated person and I m sure her opinions on just about anything can not be easily nutshelled but would it be safe to assume that her political opinions on health care in the USA might not uite align with the fact that because of her financial and cultural clout she was able to get far far better health care than some poor cancer ruddled 71 year old woman over in the Bronx And if Sontag did hold utopian healthcare ideals the fact is if all the 70 something terminally ill patients on earth got the same treatment Sontag got the whole world would go bankrupt in about a week Sontag wanted to live at all costs and she was able and willing apparently without ever uestioning it to spend a lot in an effort to do so So isn t there an ethical component to any of this Er what would Walter Benjamin do Or Sontag s pal E M Cioran Another surprising revelation in this book was how susceptible Sontag came in her later years to intellectual flakiness of various sorts It seems she had a lot of friends who were Buddhists of some American stripe or otherwise New Agey types They gave her crystals A Buddhist told her she was in some Special Agent kind of circle of protection This is Susan Sontag the embodiment of the thinker as a product of the radical will or whatever I ve never been smart enough to figure out any intellectual s actual plan this is my own lazy stupid fault and I am not trying to make excuses for my lapse here Not to trash Buddhists but I have to go along with Reiff s take on most of the Americaninds Perhaps a good Buddhist can really take in the full reality of human unimportance and still remain compassionate though if the American Buddhists I Sleep with the Fishes knew in my twenties are at all representative the creed is often a rationale for existential selfishness than self abnegation in any real sense of the term page 157 but note in this uote the ending phrase in any real sense of the term there is a lot of compositional filler like this throughout the book Of course existential selfishness is an interesting phrase in relation to Sontag s own frantic efforts to stay alive Despite the infelicities and outright gob stoppers of his prose Reiff manages an astonishing degree of emotional tact and nuance He manages to let usnow that Susan Sontag was a top shelf pain in the ass and impending death made her no easier to get along with He also lets us #Know He Loved His Mother Helplessly So The Way A #he loved his mother helplessly so the way a should More importantly he put across a fairly old fashioned idea if only by providing a poor example the idea of a good death Just what does that mean I don t The Apache Wars: The Hunt for Geronimo, the Apache Kid, and the Captive Boy Who Started theLongest War in American History know but I suspect it has something to do with accepting the inevitable making peace with your God or with yourself if you have no God and not clinging to the edge of the pot until the very last minuteicking and screaming It is disappointing to see our cultural and artistic heroes go out with such a lack of grace and I am an admirer of Susan Sontag s "ESPECIALLY HER ESSAYS I LIKED THE "her essays I liked The Lover but it was or less a bodice ripper for the New Yorker reader although the older I get the suspicious and weary I get about her radical poses But a writer s got to establish herself I guess But wasn t her shtick to be the uncompromising radical the fearless artistic gadabout who put on a play in besieged Sarajevo a gesture that still baffles me although I respect the courage it took to pull it off So what happened Again is there is such a thing as a good death Was it Samuel Beckett who refused painkillers when he was dying because he wanted to be alert right up to the very end Not that people should be judged on how they dieor should they Or should those who profess great moral courage or spirituality and spiritual resignation be expected to die courageously or at least resignedly While reading this book I ept thinking of George Harrison who spent his last months being jetted all over the world in search of a miracle cure for his terminal cancerthe guy who was always counseling all things must pass and the dangers of the material world But then Harrison had money than God And he no doubt found doctors who were Beatles besotted and would tell George anything he wanted to hear Please just call me George Doctor Celebrity deaths are breathtakingly expensive Harrison s and Sontag s last few months of medical treatment could ve saved 10000 babies in sub Sahara Africa from dysentery But then all of us westerners spend a lot to stave off the inevitable With apologies to Dylan Thomas raging against the dying of the light might not
#Be The Best Way To #
the best way to But this being said am I given the opportunity to contemplate my own lingering cancer or cancerlike death I am pretty sure I will go down sniveling shrieking pleading and otherwise making an undignified spectacle of myself And spend spend spend Anything Doc do anything My remarks here are in no way meant to imply that I am not a craven coward I am. Rstand what it means to desire so desperately as his mother did to the end of her life to try almost anything in order to go on livingDrawing on his mother's heroic struggle paying tribute to her doctors' ingenuity and faithfulness and determined to tell what happened to them all Swimming in a Sea of Death subtly draws wider lessons that will be of value to others when they find themselves in the same situatio. ,

David Rieff ñ 7 Read

Very personal book and one that is hard to rate as a result it feels as if I should not rate it at all One feels it serves a purpose most of all for the author Sontag s son though of course the reader is served as well I started this book when my Dad was in the last stages of his illness and he died soon after I finished itI can be relieved that he did not suffer the painful end that Sontag had though there were some similarities the absolute will to live the sheer love of life and existence Rieff new there was no cure to be found no hope but offered hope since that was what his mother wanted to hear He struggles with the fact that he offered her this untruth at the end but makes peace ultimately with himself and her He explores the guilt the regret one feels with the death of a loved one and Sontag s death is than once contrasted with Simone de Beauvoir s mother s whom she wrote about and I read as well many years ago in A Very Easy Death There is anger at the medical establishment as well Much in this book is valuable to one who must cope as I must with the death of a loved one I found this book fascinating in a number of ways and impossible and inappropriate to rate I ve read a number of memoirs about death by people who are dying but fewer by their caregivers and survivors The author confronts a number of uestions and issues that may be even difficult than impending death which is at least nown to everyone what could he have done differently and it would it have been better These uestions are posed thoughtfully and not melodramatically Layering on top of that the element of Sontag herself and her writings on illness as well as all of the information specifically about MDS I would recommend the book although it will be a difficult read for a lot of reasons for many people Scientifically I find it fascinating to see how far a lot of cancer treatment has come while the MDS prognosis is still bad this 2008 book comments re Sontag s first cancer and the immunological component is no longer as accepted as it would become in the years immediately after my mother received it another magic bullet in the uest to cure cancer that did not live up to its early promise This is another one of those super personal books where I don t feel right giving a rating How am I to rate this man s experience of losing his mother However it is important to note that this is his personal experience and it was very specific to the author and his mother late author Susan Sontag I was unable to relate as much as I was hoping to The book deals with the death of Rieff s mother intellectual celebrity Susan Sontag and so I was expecting a harrowing experience as serious as cancer as the expression goes And it was And I felt guilty even reading it in a gruesome death porn way But there is much to think about here gruesome as it is As a reader you have to first get around the fact that the book is poorly written Rieff is a professional writerjournalist with seven books to his credit but his prose was often appalling professional writerjournalist with seven books to his credit but his prose was often appalling s we even get to go on an emotional roller coaster ride at one point abound In many cases the cliches are acknowledged as being clich s and then are self consciously employed anyway which if anything makes them even worse The brief uotes from Sontag s journals demonstrate who the real writer in the family was Also the beginning of the tale is cluttered with starchy unreasonable complaints about the medical establishment shaggy dog stories and a certain lack of focus despite the rather simple narration As for the medical establishment shaggy dog story a villain is introduced early on one Dr A feeling as I do about him I prefer not to name him This Dr A is treated particularly harshly right at the start but I ept waiting for the revelation to come that would justify Rieff s emnity the cruel or inept thing Dr A did to add to Sontag s misery or hasten her death And yet nothing ever comes of it All Dr A did #was tell Sontag that she was going to die and that there was no feasible #tell Sontag that she was going to die and that there was no feasible for her disease Rieff complains that he was condescending but perhaps Dr A felt that speaking to Sontag as a willful child rather than as a fellow rational giant brain was the only way he could get through to her Sontag was acting like a spoiled willful child so I can t really fault Dr A his approach But of course someone like Susan Sontag does not have to put up with this so she found of course other doctors willing to dice their diagnoses into hard to parse bits of fraudulent hope I suppose seeing Sontag s famous big beautiful piercing eyes across your desk hanging on to "every word you say would be uite flattering to many in the upper ranks of New York European medicine "word you say would be uite flattering to many in the upper ranks of New York European medicine yes Ms Songtagcall you Susan Okay then Yes Susan there are some experimental treatments being developed in Paris we could try And this brings me to what is perhaps the real story here If you have enough money and in Sontag s case enough cultural clout you can find medical treatment for anything no matter how doomed you are What makes hers a hard case is the fact that Sontag beat really bad breast cancer back in the 70s by undergoing radical experimental treatment It is hard to argue with that Setting Them Straight: You CAN Do Something About Bigotry and Homophobia in Your Life kind of success and it was this astonishing recovery Inow remission that fuelled her frantic search for a cure for her leukemia some thirty years later And of course doctors were found who were willing to go to any effort to Try to help someone gravely ill in her fight to go on living and when the time comes to die with dignityRieff 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 uestioning the sense of not having done enoughAnd he tries to unde. ,

I liked this book because I appreciated the way the son was trying to process his mother s death and cope with his reactions to the whole time she was ill His mother Susan Sontag was very opinionated and had a lot of willpower and was really in denial about the fact that she was going to die She ept thinking that she would somehow find a cure and find a doctor who would eep her alive I empathized with the son having a mother like that I 100 ways to Fight the Flab - and still have wine and chocolate know it would have been a major struggle to be supportive in that situation I understand that no one could help her confront the reality of the situation because she just refused to consider it Death is always hard to face but it s even harder This book was indeed difficult to read but for those of us who share the author s experience it is a tremendously validating book It is an important book for we who stayed behind with words unsaid For mereading many other reviews is much disturbing than reading the book I amazed how little many of the reviewers got from the book I suppose people read such books for many reasons For myself I am grateful that David Rieff that the courage to write about his experience I ve often wanted to write to him to thank him There is nothing easy about reading Rieff s agonizing account of his mother Susan Sontag s last nine months Swimming in a Sea of Death seems to portray the dark side of Illness as Metaphor I agree with Sontag that as a society we need to be aware of the emotional and psychological conseuences to individuals of using diseases as metaphors but her contention that we must see a disease as just a disease a failure of the body and nothing seems to deny some of the transformative power of individual narratives about disease and dying Rieff repeatedly invokes Joan Didion s line we tell ourselves stories in order to live in relation to his mother s stubborn even delusional insistence despite all evidence to the contrary that medical science would save her life and thus he tells us she finds the will to endure painful and ostensibly futile medical interventions in her struggle to stay alive He seems to have taken Didion too literally I don t think we tell ourselves stories so that we can delude ourselves turning away from reality I think we tell ourselves stories so that we can embrace reality finding ways to synthesize even the most seemingly meaningless events in our lives even death in meaningful ways Ultimately what makes Rieff s memoir so disturbing is its portrayal of suffering devoid of any transformative value for Sontag or for Rieff As a reader you end his book as you began it struggling to stay afloat in his pain and wondering when or how he will strike for shore in search of a way to ground this account in a narrative that allows him to begin to heal Not a very long but powerful book What I liked about the book is that David never strays from the main focus of this book namely her mother s struggle with cancer Even if the this book is not about Susan Sontag s death it would still be a great read as it talks about death dying disease friends passion life As a reader one does not Only think about what David and Sontag go through but also how close anyone can be at any moment to thatind of experience Also reading about Sontag s cancer one is reminded of one s own immortalityOne hostile reviewer on GR commented that the ind of money that was spent on Sontag s treatment could have been instead used to #Save Thousands Of Babies #thousands of babies Africa Clearly this reviewer has least sympathy for African children but palpable hatred for Sontag Also many found the book badly written I didn t It does what it is supposed to do "IT MATCHES THE VISUALITY THAT ANNIE "matches the visuality that Annie the great photographer captured through Sontag s last pictures In a way such intense engagement with death is a ind of education that makes us realistic about both life and deathI admire Sontag s hunger for life I wonder if her last days and how she responded to cancer and its tough treatment can be added to her CAMP essay It is so CAMP LIKE in the most positive sense If I rate this 5 stars then do I get to never have to think about it againI agree entirely with another review on here that says it feels odd to give this book a rating how am I meant to rate a man grieving his mother But it this book a rating how am I meant to rate a man grieving his mother But it a book I m glad I ve read and I sincerely hope I never want to return to Genuinely one of the most dejectedly despairingly sad things I ve ever read at least in part because I love Sontag and her writing so much and the entire thing is devoted to documenting what happens when a life force like that realises that it is being brought to an unwilling end I honestly can t say that I recommend this book at all but I can still see it as necessary to be written and be glad I experienced it I read this book a day after reading Sontag s Illness as Metaphor something I recommend doing if you have the time Illness as Metaphor is only about 90 pages I found it somewhat sad that Sontag could never accept the idea of death could never firmly believe that she too would die just as all humans do Yes she had a love of life and intense fervor but it was surprising that someone at her age 71 and who had experienced disease before was never able to reconcile herself to the concept of mortality And yet she was a true writer and artist never accepting that her work was done that she had no plans for the future Difficult to decide number of stars on this onea. 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. .
Swimming in a Sea of Death A Son's Memoir