Cynthia Ozick’s A Din in the Head: Essays

BY MARK LEAHY, Web Editior

The first chapter of Cynthia Ozick’s A Din in the Head: Essays is, among other things, a beautiful elegy for Susan Sontag.  One of the things that has always struck me about Sontag is the love and admiration she elicits from other writers:

In another photograph, dated 1975, she is lying on her back, hands under her head, with strongly traced Picasso eyelids and serene lips less curled than Mona Lisa’s: beautiful at forty-two. Like any celebrity, she could be watched as she aged. Ultimately there came the signature white slash through the blackened forelock, and the face grew not harder but hardier (despite recurrent illness, throughout which she was inordinately courageous).

Ozick does a wonderful job evoking the young Sontag, sketching in the impact of “Notes on Camp” and “Against Interpretation” on the critical lanscape, and then moving ahead years later to an older Sontag looking back on those works.  The NYT also has a review of Ozick’s book, by Walter Kirn.