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I, Etcetera



In eight stories, this singular collection of short fiction written over the course of ten years explores the terrain of modern urban life. In reflective, telegraphic prose, Susan Sontag confronts the reader with exposed workings of an impassioned intellect in narratives seamed with many of the themes of her essays -- the nature of knowing, our relationship with the past, and the future in an alienated present.

"These short stories establish Sontag's originality . . . her unique vision, her success with experiments in form. . . . Sontag makes a wonderful stew of the past, the life caught in memory and imagination, serves it all up lavishly laced with silences, and provides us with a gourmand's series of short courses"
—Doris Grumbach, Los Angeles Times

"The eight stories in I, etcetera reflect a vital and restless imagination cooking away in several directions. . . . There is an abundance of those startling ironies and wry, quirky jokes that make Susan Sontag so tempting to quote. . . . [The book] possesses its own kind of spirit and nerve, and it takes some magnificent chances."
—Anne Tyler, The New Republic

"The book not only confronts and explores the life which is traveled rather than lived, it records a life fully lived in the face of all such doubts. No pain or horror is avoided, no occasion for despair is ducked. . . . 'Debriefing,' the most moving story in the book, [is] surely a small masterpiece."
—Michael Wood, The New York Review of Books

"Susan Sontag's collection of short stories is a pleasure to read -- inventive, witty, intelligent. . . . She embraces our language and the accumulation of our culture. She hears everything -- echoes of dead rhetoric; glorious clichés that deaden our response to castles, sunsets, bays -- and hears everywhere an elevation of the daily commonplace in the grand tour that must never end."
The Saturday Review

"The story 'Unguided Tour' is Miss Sontag's apotheosis as a fiction writer. . . . Susan Sontag, the literary and social critic, is entirely at home in fiction, is exhilarated, even transfigured by it." — Anatole Broyard, The New York Times

"Sontag travels our heartland and writes of it in a telling, shorthand way that is as unusual as it is trenchant." —Publishers Weekly

"All of the eight stories in Susan Sontag's first collection . . . are worth reading or reading again. That she is remarkably intelligent, a true intellectual, is as apparent in her fiction as it is in On Photography and Illness as Metaphor."
Chicago Tribune


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