The Benefactor, Susan Sontags first book and first novel, originally published in 1963, introduced a unique writer to the world. In the form of a memoir by a latter-day Candide named Hippolyte, The Benefactor leads us on a kind of psychic Grand Tour, in which Hippolytes violently imaginative dream life becomes indistinguishable from his surprising experiences in the real world. Sontags novel supplies a fascinating, knowing, acerbic portrait of a certain bohemian demimonde that flourished in France until quite recently. More important, The Benefactor is a novel about ideas-especially religious ideas-unlike any other: funny, acrobatic, disturbing, profound.
Author Biography: Susan Sontag is the author of four novels, The Benefactor, Death Kit, The Volcano Lover, and In America (winner of the 2000 National Book Award for Fiction). She has also published a collection of stories, several plays, and five works of nonfiction, among them On Photography and, most recently, Where the Stress Falls. Her books are translated into twenty-eight languages. In 2001 she was awarded the Jerusalem Prize for the body of her work.
This records the ruminations of Hippolyte — a latter-day Candide whose introverted nature takes precedence over his affiliation with a circle of virtuoso talkers.