At the Same Time may be one of the timeliest – in subject matter – collection of posthumous essays released by a notable author. Susan Sontag’s four-decade career earned numerous awards and international honors.
This collection was in the process of Sontag’s strategy of numerous revisions on each piece when she died. Editors Paolo Dilonardo and Anne Jump worked with Sontag on many previous projects and explain that they kept the project moving with the specifications Sontag always employed. Anyone other than Sontag or those closest to her would not be able to tell that several of the essays would have probably gone through a few more revisions. Each is an accomplished work.
The essays on art and literature are infectious and her speeches are insightful – full of the wisdom of someone who has seen a few things and the enthusiasm of someone who still cannot wait to see more. Among the more notable entries include an essay on beauty and another on photography.
This collection is not the place to start for anyone unfamiliar with Sontag. A few of the speeches are acceptance speeches for awards on her work that you really should look to first, including the acceptance of the Jerusalem Prize, the Oscar Romero award, and the Friedenspreis.
Her son explains the strengths of his mother best when he says, “She wanted to experience everything, taste everything, go everywhere, do everything. Indeed, if I had only one word with which to evoke her, it would be avidity…I think that, for her, the joy of living and the joy of knowing really were one and the same.”