These stories - never before published in book form - bring to bear William Styron's unmatched talents, concentrating on things that have preoccupied him during much of his adult writing career. As Styron says in his preface, 'each of these narratives reflects my experience at the age of twenty, ten and thirteen'. The first tale covers Styron's ...
These stories - never before published in book form - bring to bear William Styron's unmatched talents, concentrating on things that have preoccupied him during much of his adult writing career. As Styron says in his preface, 'each of these narratives reflects my experience at the age of twenty, ten and thirteen'. The first tale covers Styron's experiences as a Marine in the Pacific at the close of the Second World War. The second tells of his friendship with Shadrach -'a black apparition of unbelievable antiquity, palsied and feeble, blue-gummed and grinning'; the third a portrait of a tidewater town in Virginia on the eve of war in 1939. These are poignant stories of loss and change, written with the full power and distinction of a writer who occupies a preeminent place in modern American literature.
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Publishers Weekly, 1994-08-15 These three interconnected stories are the Pulitzer Prize-winning author's first fiction in more than a decade. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Publishers Weekly, 1993-07-19 The publisher bills this as Styron's first book of fiction in more than a decade. Sophie's Choice was published in 1979--but that is misleading: the most recent of these three Esquire stories collected here was published in 1987, and the other two appeared in 1978 and 1985. As one would expect, there are patches of startling writing here, particularly in the title story, in which Styron's evocation of the Virginia landscape of his youth is achingly beautiful. But on the evidence of these unremarkable pieces, Styron does not seem to be a natural short-story writer; his lush prose needs the breathing room of a long novel, space enough for his narrative to gather momentum before lifting off. The three tales are united by their single narrator, one Paul Whitehurst, and his search for ``light refracted within a flashing moment of remembered childhood.'' They take up the issues Styron has grappled with in previous fiction--the legacy of slavery and racism in the South, the constricting ties of family relationships, the tragedy of war--but with neither a refreshing new perspective nor the tremendous oratorical potency that Styron's readers expect from him. This is well-crafted magazine fiction that is satisfying only for as long as it lasts. (Sept.)
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