The Volcano Lover: A Romance

The Volcano Lover A Romance Set in th century Naples based on the lives of Sir William Hamilton his celebrated wife Emma and Lord Nelson and peopled with many of the great figures of the day this unconventional bestselli

  • Title: The Volcano Lover: A Romance
  • Author: Susan Sontag
  • ISBN: 9780312420072
  • Page: 420
  • Format: Paperback
  • Set in 18th century Naples, based on the lives of Sir William Hamilton, his celebrated wife Emma, and Lord Nelson, and peopled with many of the great figures of the day, this unconventional, bestselling historical romance from the National Book Award winning author of In America touches on themes of sex and revolution, the fate of nature, art and the collector s obsessionsSet in 18th century Naples, based on the lives of Sir William Hamilton, his celebrated wife Emma, and Lord Nelson, and peopled with many of the great figures of the day, this unconventional, bestselling historical romance from the National Book Award winning author of In America touches on themes of sex and revolution, the fate of nature, art and the collector s obsessions, and, above all, love.

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    About “Susan Sontag

    • Susan Sontag

      Jewish American literary critic, theorist, novelist, and filmmaker.



    230 thoughts on “The Volcano Lover: A Romance

    • The book is so close to great I was reading Sontag s Paris Review interview afterward, which is fascinating, obviously at 13, she was apparently reading the journals of Gide and I think it opened me up to the flaw in the book, which is structural She had in mind this balletic structure modeled on the four temperaments melancholic, sanguine, phlegmatic, choleric, although the last two are like epilogues First, Sontag gives us an oddly sad story about this quiet aristocrat living in Naples melanc [...]


    • I love Sontag the writer, provocateur, thinker, etcd I love her essays and criticism And her life I always think twice about what she says and recommends and the attitudes she takes But this book didn t really live up to my expectations I love some of it the aphoristic insights and the subdued delineations of places and objects, especially Her characterization can be pretty strong and sometimes the evocative feel of time and place is really there.Unfortunately the writing is a little too self co [...]


    • I did alot of yawning while reading this, it was honestly very boring I also did alot of that sound that I would imagine myself making if there was a hairball forming at the back of my throat All these rich people problems, swimming in luxury and opulence and all these immaterial things surrounding them, the need to collect, to have, to own Yak Art is talked as if it s only something appreciated by the wealthy and some of the art pieces mentioned went right over my head so I have no understandin [...]


    • Deep research on scandals and art works of aristocratic late 18th century Naples around the time of the French Revolution made into good story character study of English aesthete and collector William Hamilton, his two wives, and Admiral Nelson Hamilton profited from the excavations at Pompeii, had an intimate view of the scatalogical excesses and executions perpetrated by the Neapolitan court, and participated in a few menages a trois His second wife Emma progresses as a Barry Lyndon type rake, [...]


    • Perhaps I should start with a comment by Evelyn Toynton in COMMENTARY, Nov 1992, right after the book was published This is just a short section of a well written critique But in the end, apart from some vivid images of street scenes in Naples, of a rampaging mob, of Sir William s pathetic pet monkey, and of Emma dancing, the strongest impression one takes away from this book is of the suffocatingly humorless presence of Susan Son tag.She has become by now a virtual icon of Mind, the ultimate gl [...]


    • I love this book, having first read it back in 92 93 It s still sitting right there on my shelf, despite having been pulled off several times for a re read Complex Uhmmm, not really Big words No bigger, certainly, than McCarthy Ha Not even close No, just top of the line, grade A, historical romance If that I d call it much myself Susan Sontag is a writers writer 5 Star caliber all the way.


    • Det k nns som att Susan h nde mig Tidigare har jag bara l st hennes On Photography, och hennes ess istiska bakgrund r tydlig h r.Denna bok r v ldigt, v ldigt bra V ldigt bra, allts.


    • Annie Liebovitz has called this Susan Sontag s best book, and she should know, and I agree It s a gorgeous, lyrical novel of ideas disguised as an 18th century romance about a love triangle between the British ambassador to the Kingdom of Naples, the concubine he marries and the Naval hero she worships This book has it all pretty girls, virile noblemen, erupting volcanoes, priceless paintings, science and seduction, sex and war crimes, houses and gardens, gallows and guillotines.As with everythi [...]


    • This rating will no doubt seem harsh, compared to the rating I just gave another book, but I think at least in some ways, it s merited.I really like Sontag s essays, and think she s quite a wonderful writer and thinker, and a lot of that is on display here I was curious to see what she d make out of a novel, and she doesn t disappoint in that regard this really is a strange book, one that is as interested in argument and philosophy and culture as much as it is in traditional novelistic concerns [...]


    • This is an exhilarating read for its encyclopedic if kaleidoscopically shifting views of a passionately intelligent and acquisitive Cavaliere It matters little that the novel is based on the real life triangle of Sir William Hamilton, his wife Emma, and Lord Nelson What counts is the formal yet lyrical beauty of the writing, the ever changing impressions of a man in love with not just a woman but the world of objects and art Almost mystical in the revelry of its cataloguing of things and experi [...]


    • I couldn t even finish this book Not my cup of tea If I don t like the style and what the author has to say, I don t waste my time on it.


    • Who knew a volcano could give birth to such a wealth of conflicting symbolism In Sontag s gripping piece of historical fiction, it appears as a metaphor for destruction and preservation, the artistic and the scientific, the penis and the vagina and a whole lot .I personally love historical fiction and The Volcano Lover is an enjoyable and thought provoking example of the genre It takes as its basis a very famous, real life love affair from the Napoleonic Wars, but avoids directly naming its key [...]


    • The dramatic love triangle between Sir William Hamilton, his wife Emma, and her lover, Lord Nelson, of the late 18th century Naples is the basis of Sontag s historical romance The Cavaliere is an obsessive collector and fascinated with Mount Vesuvius which becomes symbolic of each characters emotions at one point or another When his beloved Catherine dies he falls in love with his nephew s lover, Emma, who ultimately finds true love not in the Cavaliere, but in the hero , Lord Nelson The volcano [...]


    • I read this book while in Naples it s set in Naples, late 18th early 19th century I think it s probably Susan Sontag s best novel But then I don t really like her novels normally random trivia Susan Sontag s novels come up in the movie Bull Durham Kevin Costner or Crash doesn t like them, either


    • Historical fiction seems like a terribly difficult genre to write in Make one mistake and you ve written a history Lean too far in the other direction and you end up with a Mills Boon Maintain anything less than a tight focus and you end up with something that is alternately disinterested history, feminist critique, and, yes, romance, but which fails to come together satisfyingly.Not that The Volcano Lover isn t an interesting book Sontag manages to turn a set of fairly unlikeable characters and [...]


    • It s a long time since I read it and hard to remember details Barring Emma s mum s disgusted aside of Men are bad , which is hard to argue Also clear is the memory of how loving and devoted the mother daughter relationship is a filial ideal, a beautiful sororal dream that I can t believe in any It s not like that really with women, kids, it don t really exist It s Middleton that got it right Women Beware Women And how.


    • In this novel, Sontag s insights are deft, her prose luxurious, and her characters vivid While I might have preferred a faster pace at certain points, I enjoyed the book because of how easy it was to feel transported Great escapist literature, and an interesting story.


    • El amor es siempre un sacrificio, dijo Catherine, que sab a de qu hablaba Pero quien ama, a adi , consigue mejor parte que quien se deja querer.En un art culo que el diario El Pa s public en 1995, Roc o Garc a narraba c mo Susan Sontag, autora de la novela, confesaba que ste era su mejor libro y que se sent a profundamente orgullosa de l Confesi n que hizo en la presentaci n que tuvo lugar en el C rculo de Bellas Artes de Madrid aqu l a o Juan Goytisolo, uno de los amigos que le acompa aron ento [...]


    • The dramatic heart of this book lies in Nelson s distinctly unheroic behaviour during the Neapolitan Republican uprising in 1799, when he oversaw the execution of hundreds of rebels , and hanged the much loved Admiral Caracciolo and threw his body into the harbour The story starts, though, as Sir William Hamilton goes back to Naples from London to carry on his work as British Ambassador His wife the reserved, refined Catherine plays the piano in the Neapolitan palazzo while Hamilton is out shoot [...]


    • This was a hard book to get into The challenge was gettin through the superficial lives of it s 3 main characters It is discribed as an historical novel, but I thought the author spent way too much time with their internal struggles which were very common and disgustingly predictable I also question whether this was a true romance novel.When the action picked up which is to say when somthing actually happens the possibility for a good situaltion to learn something about this period in History th [...]


    • I wasn t able to finish this It wasn t that she s bad at this her prose flows nicely, and the flourishes and characters move in three dimensions but man, is she in love with her own ability to string phrases and words together.The remembrance as recollection plot device only works if you re crystal clear about how many layers deep into the onion of memory you ve currently burrowed That was a problem in this book, and while it might be forgivable for those who read scholarly texts and have of a [...]


    • Well I give up I m on page 172 and I can feel the lava hardening around my ankles as I read this book Sontag s style is so thick she makes Iris Murdoch feel like a waltz in the park.I was so looking forward to learning about this unusual relationship between Hamilton, his wife and Nelson but it is almost like she s avoiding the subject which is perhaps how Hamilton handled it Anyways with thousands of other books waiting on my shelves I can t get bogged down in something that so politely avoids [...]


    • I m usually a fast reader given my own set of circumstances This, however, is a different story considering that this was an exhausting read which took me almost 2 months to finish Nevertheless this book was interesting, painting a vivid and poignant picture of the life of The Cavaliere as an antiquarian, diplomat, husband, and a lover of the volcano I loved how Susan Sontag writes with depth, sucking the reader in with deep thoughts beyond what can only be grasped as mere observations Although [...]


    • Difficult to read Lots of words I didn t know I wasn t familiar with the historial figures she was writing about After I went to Wiki and read up on the main characters, the book made sense Author is very wordy Still, gave good insights on the culture of the time and in depth character analyses.


    • I know I was supposed to like this, but I wish Sontag had stayed the hell away from narrative realistic fiction This bored the pants onto me and I missed the weirdness of Death Kit and her other awesome freakazoid neglected work Now I m thinking of that stupid line from Bull Durham and I m even upset, so stopping writing now.


    • There s very few books that I can t put down and will carry on reading while walking to and fro.This is one of them, any fan of Susan Sontag s work will enjoy this book and I am sure anyone new to Susan Sontage will become an instant fan Very interesting, well crafted story A must read, and re read.


    • I enjoyed most of this book until the last third where it began to tire me and I skimmed a little Then it perked up right at the end and the final three pages or so threatened to bring a tear to my eye So there you go.


    • Unless one sits with a dictionary next to you, it is difficult to follow However my vocabulary increased substantially as this writer knows how to use big words in a grand eloquent style of literary genius However, the story line was a bit boring and I had to push to finish it.




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