By Julia Neuberger, July 3, 2008
By David Rieff
‘In the valley of sorrow, spread your wings,” wrote Susan Sontag when receiving chemotherapy for breast cancer 30 years before her death. “Be cheerful, be stoic, be tranquil.” Facing her last illness, Sontag was none of these things, and David Rieff records his complicity with his mother’s denial of the fatality of her condition. Sontag, famous intellectual, critic and writer, could neither imagine a world without her in it, nor summon up any reserves of spiritual strength for that final journey.