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Reading my father : a memoir
Alexandra Styron
Adult Nonfiction PS3569.T889 Z46 2011

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From Publishers' Weekly:

The youngest daughter of the late novelist William Styron fashions a conflicted, guarded, ultimately reverential portrait of a deeply troubled artist. Dogged all his life by depression-which was not diagnosed properly until the devastating 1985 episode that later prompted Darkness Visible-the Virginia-born Styron was a difficult man to live with. Novelist Alexandra Styron (All the Finest Girls) delved into her father's papers at Duke University, his alma mater, to uncover the life and work of a man she never knew growing up in their Roxbury, Conn., home, along with her mother, Rose, and three older siblings. Styron was an only child whose mother died of cancer when he was 13, a Marine in World War II who never saw combat, and an abysmal student; though he was also a charming ladies' man and published his first novel, Lie Down in Darkness, in 1952 at the age of 26, to great critical acclaim. The author was born just before her father finished his third novel, The Confessions of Nat Turner, in 1967, and was awarded the Pulitzer Prize; the anticipation of his next work-"like a constant drumbeat under everything we did"-gripped her childhood, until Sophie's Choice was published in 1979. In this intimate portrait, William Styron emerges through his daughter's eyes as a towering talent who proves all too human. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

From Library Journal:

Styron, who previously published the novel All the Finest Girls, has now written an intelligent and compelling memoir about her father, novelist William Styron (The Confessions of Nat Turner; Sophie's Choice). She portrays him as a brilliant, alcoholic, and difficult man, who was also loving, generous, and charming. She writes almost poetically about her love for him and his "flaws and failures," as well as his professional successes and triumphs. Alternating between past and present, stories of her own and her siblings' often bittersweet interactions with him, and his turbulent marriage to her mother, Rose, as well as his writing, friendships, bouts of debilitating depression, and his death, her book will make many readers eager to read or revisit William Styron's novels with a more intimate awareness of the man behind the works. The author admits that she got to understand her father more deeply in undertaking research for this book in Styron's papers at Duke University; hence her book's title. VERDICT Highly recommended for William Styron devotees and all who enjoy literary memoir and biographies. [See Prepub Alert, 10/25/10.]-Sharon Britton, Bowling Green State Univ. Lib., Huron, OH (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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