The Benefactor

Overview

The Benefactor, Susan Sontag's first book and first novel, originally published in 1963, introduced a unique writer to the world. In the form of a memoir by a latter-day Candide named Hippolyte, The Benefactor leads us on a kind of psychic Grand Tour, in which Hippolyte's violently imaginative dream life becomes indistinguishable from his surprising experiences in the 'real world.' Sontag's novel supplies a fascinating, knowing, acerbic portrait of a certain bohemian demimonde that flourished in France until ...

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The Benefactor: A Novel

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Overview

The Benefactor, Susan Sontag's first book and first novel, originally published in 1963, introduced a unique writer to the world. In the form of a memoir by a latter-day Candide named Hippolyte, The Benefactor leads us on a kind of psychic Grand Tour, in which Hippolyte's violently imaginative dream life becomes indistinguishable from his surprising experiences in the 'real world.' Sontag's novel supplies a fascinating, knowing, acerbic portrait of a certain bohemian demimonde that flourished in France until quite recently. More important, The Benefactor is a novel about ideas-especially religious ideas-unlike any other: funny, acrobatic, disturbing, profound.

This records the ruminations of Hippolyte -- a latter-day Candide whose introverted nature takes precedence over his affiliation with a circle of "virtuoso talkers."

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"An extraordinary, imaginative achievement that plays over the reader's senses with boldness, grace, and daring."—John Hawkes

"A highly original, brilliant tale of a self-centered, solitary dilettante whose dreams take over his life."—New York Post

"Originality, economy of language, brilliance . . . There is a Kafka-esque quality to The Benefactor."—Newsday

"Remarkable . . . Its ancestors are Baudelaire, Kafka, and perhaps in the distance Dostoyevsky and Proust."—John Wain

"A major writer . . . I especially admired how she can make a real story out of dreams and thoughts."—Hannah Arendt

Library Journal
Released in 1963 and 1967, respectively, these are Sontag's first and second novels. In The Benefactor, protagonist Hippolyte "depends on his dreams to direct the course of his life" (LJ 9/1/63). The story, which unfolds over a 60-year period, might itself be a dream. Death Kit is no less cerebral. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312420123
  • Publisher: Picador
  • Publication date: 6/1/2002
  • Edition description: REV
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 831,497
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.64 (d)

Meet the Author

Susan Sontag is the author of four novels, The Benefactor, Death Kit, The Volcano Lover, and In America (winner of the 2000 National Book Award for Fiction). She has also published a collection of stories, several plays, and five works of nonfiction, among them On Photography and, most recently, Where the Stress Falls. Her books are translated into twenty-eight languages. In 2001 she was awarded the Jerusalem Prize for the body of her work.

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