William Styron

The work--and the life--of one of America's most accomplished novelists.



Lie Down in Darkness

By William Styron


Published when he was 26, Styron's first novel established him as heir apparent to Southern masters William Faulkner and Eudora Welty. This brooding, lyrical book tells the story of a Virginia family festering with bitterness over a failed marriage and the tragic loss of two daughters.



The Confessions of Nat Turner

By William Styron


Styron's Pulitzer Prize-winning, fictional first-person account of Turner, the leader of an 1831 Virginia slave rebellion, stirred great controversy when it was published in 1967. While the author intended the novel to reflect the tumult of the Civil Rights Movement, many critics excoriated him for daring to write from a slave's perspective (although both Ralph Ellison and James Baldwin defended Styron). It remains an electrifying read.



Sophie's Choice

By William Styron


A devastating masterpiece that captures the brutality and unmitigated anguish of war through one woman's experience. Sophie's Choice is ostensibly the story of three residents in a Brooklyn rooming house: a Polish-Catholic concentration-camp survivor; her schizophrenic, drug-addled Jewish lover; and a young Southern writer -- Styron's stand-in -- working on his first novel. But this is really a book about the haunting power of the past and the enduring presence of decisions we make, or have forced upon us.



Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness

By William Styron


Despite his success, Styron wrestled with demons throughout his career. At the age of 60, he captured with painful honesty his life-long battle with depression and alcoholism, a struggle that left him near suicide, "having endured despair beyond despair." An unequaled portrait of a mind at risk, this book not only documents the author's terrifying descent into the abyss, but also reveals how he found his way back to solid ground.



Reading My Father

By Alexandra Styron


With insight and intelligence, Styron's daughter shares the difficulties of growing up with a celebrated author for a father, a man who socialized with the elite but who also suffered from the depression and alcoholism chronicled in Darkness Visible. Yet this isn't a tell-all that tears down an idealized image of an artist, but instead a sensitive biography, equally alert to the ambitions, achievements, flaws, and affections of its subject.



July 25: On this day in 1834 Samuel Taylor Coleridge died of heart disease at the age of sixty-one.

Crime fiction legends Dennis Lehane and Michael Connelly discuss the new book that unites their beloved sleuths Patrick Kenzie and Harry Bosch.

Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
Paradise and Elsewhere

Canadian short story marvel Kathy Page emerges as the Alice Munro of the supernatural from these heartfelt tales of shapeshifting swimmers, mild-mannered cannibals, and personality-shifting viruses transmitted through kisses.


When a persuasive pastor arrives in a sleepy farm town, his sage influence has otherworldly results (talking sheep, a mayor who walks on water). But can he pull off the miracle of finding kindly local Liz Denny the love of her life?  Small wonder looms large in this charmer from Andre Alexis.

The Hundred-Year House

When a poetry scholar goes digging through the decrepit estate of his wife's family to uncover a bygone arts colony's strange mysteries, he awakens a tenacious monster: his mother-in-law. A wickedly funny take on aging aristocracies from author Rebecca Makkai (The Borrower).