Jeffrey Goldberg moved from Long Island to Israel while still a college student. In the middle of the first Palestinian uprising in 1990, the Israeli army sent him to serve as a prison guard at Ketziot, the largest jail in the Middle East. Realizing that among the prisoners were the future leaders of Palestine, and that this was a unique opportunity to learn from them about themselves, he began an extended dialogue with a prisoner named Rafiq. This is an account of life in that harsh desert prison and of that dialogue the accusations, explanations, fears, prejudices and aspirations each man expressed which continues to this day. We see how their discussion deepened over the years as Goldberg returned to the States, to Washington, DC, where Rafiq coincidentally became a graduate student, and the political landscape of the Middle East changed. And we see, again and again, how their willingness to confront religious, cultural, and political differences made possible what both could finally acknowledge to be a true, if necessarily tenuous, friendship."Prisoners" is a remarkable book: spare, impassioned, energetic, and unstinting in its candour about both the darkness and the hope buried within the animosities of the Middle East.
From the author of The Friend, winner of the 2018 National Book Award.
The masterpiece of the 'I knew Susan' minigenre - A.O. Scott, The New York Times
A poignant, intimate memoir of one of America's most esteemed and fascinating cultural figures, and a deeply felt tribute.
Sigrid Nunez was an aspiring writer when she first met Susan Sontag, already a legendary figure known for her polemical essays, blinding intelligence, and edgy personal style. Sontag introduced Nunez to her son, the writer David Rieff, and the two began dating. Soon Nunez moved into the apartment that Rieff and Sontag shared. As Sontag told Nunez, "Who says we have to live like everyone else?"
Sontag's influence on Nunez, who went on to become a successful novelist, would be profound. Described by Nunez as "a natural mentor" who saw educating others as both a moral obligation and a source of endless pleasure, Sontag inevitably infected those around her with her many cultural and intellectual passions. In this poignant, intimate memoir, Nunez speaks of her gratitude for having had, as an early model, "someone who held such an exalted, unironic view of the writer's vocation."
Published more than six years after Sontag's death, Sempre Susan is a startlingly truthful portrait of this outsized personality, who made being an intellectual a glamorous occupation.