Tumblr_o115q6Jb1T1tv8vcro1_1280Katie Roiphe at Literary Hub:

If there is anyone on earth who could decide not to die it would be Susan Sontag; her will is that ferocious, that unbending, that unwilling to accept the average fates or outcomes the rest of us are bound by. She is not someone to be pushed around or unduly influenced by the idea that everyone has to do something or go through something, because she is and always has been someone who rises above. Nonetheless, right before Christmas, she is lying in a bed in Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, doing something that very much appears to those around her to be dying.

One night she and her friend Sharon DeLano stay up late listening to Beethoven’s late string quartets in her hospital room. Sontag is very doped up. She is in a good enough mood to tell Sharon one of her favorite jokes. “Where does the general keep his armies?” Sharon answers, “I don’t know.” “In his sleevies,” Sontag says, smiling.

The next day she is much more sober. When Sharon arrives, Susan is reading the German filmmaker Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s juvenilia and they watch two movies together. Sharon has to press pause frequently, because Susan is talking through the whole movie, adding commentary and glosses.

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