Books

Depression

William Styron

How does a writer compose a suicide note? This was not a question that the prize-winning novelist William Styron had ever contemplated before. In this true account of his depression, Styron describes an illness that reduced him from a successful writer to a man arranging his own destruction. He lived to give us this gripping description of his descent into mental anguish, and his eventual success in overcoming a little-understood yet very common condition.

The unabridged text of Darkness Visible by William Styron

VINTAGE MINIS: GREAT MINDS. BIG IDEAS. LITTLE BOOKS.

A series of short books by the world’s greatest writers on the experiences that make us human

For the full list of books visit vintageminis.co.uk

Also in the Vintage Minis series:
Swimming by Roger Deakin
Babies by Anne Enright
Calm by Tim Parks
Work by Joseph Heller

The Long March

William Styron

In the blaze of a Carolina summer, among the poison ivy and loblolly pines, eight Marines are killed almost casually by misfired mortar shells. Deciding that his battalion has been 'doping off', Colonel Templeton calls for a 36-mile forced march to inculcate discipline. The Long March is a searing account of this ferocious ordeal - and of the two officers who resist.

The Suicide Run

William Styron

The five personal and intensely powerful tales that make up this collection draw upon William Styron's real-life experiences in the US Marine Corps, and give us an insight into the early life of one of America's greatest modern writers.

The stories are set in the gruelling camps and sweltering training fields which mark the limbo point between civilian life and the horrors of war. The stories tell of young men embarking on suicidal 1000 mile roundtrips to New York to see their girlfriends on 36 hour leave periods; the surreal experience of being conscripted for a second time to serve in the Korean War; and the frustration and isolation of returning home when service is over.

The Suicide Run brings to life the drama, inhumanity, absurdity and heroism that forever changed the men who served in the Marine Corps.

The Confessions of Nat Turner

William Styron

WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE

In 1831 Nat Turner awaits death in a Virginia jail cell. He is a slave, a preacher, and the leader of the only effective slave revolt in the history of 'that peculiar institution'. William Styron's ambitious and stunningly accomplished novel is Turner's confession, made to his jailers under the duress of his God. Encompasses the betrayals, cruelties and humiliations that made up slavery - and that still sear the collective psyches of both races.

Sophie's Choice

William Styron

In this extraordinary novel, Stingo, an inexperienced twenty-two year old Southerner, takes us back to the summer of 1947 and a boarding house in a leafy Brooklyn suburb. There he meets Nathan, a fiery Jewish intellectual; and Sophie, a beautiful and fragile Polish Catholic. Stingo is drawn into the heart of their passionate and destructive relationship as witness, confidant and supplicant. Ultimately, he arrives at the dark core of Sophie's past: her memories of pre-war Poland, the concentration camp and - the essence of her terrible secret - her choice.

A Tidewater Morning

William Styron

In this brilliant collection of 'long short stories', the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Sophie's Choice returns to the coastal Virginia setting of his first novels. Through the eyes of a man recollecting three episodes from his youth, William Styron explores with new eloquence death, loss, war and racism.

Set This House On Fire

William Styron

The day after Peter Leverett met his old friend Mason Flagg in Italy, Mason was found dead. The hours leading up to his death were a nightmare for Peter - both in their violence and in their maddening unreality.The blaze of events which followed was, Peter soon realised, ignited by a conflict between two men: Mason Flagg himself and Cass Kinsolving, a tortured, self-destructive painter, a natural enemy and prey to the monstrous evil of Mason Flagg. Three events - murder, rape and suicide - explode in the is relentless and passionate novel, almost overwhelming in its conception of the varieties of good and evil.

Darkness Visible

William Styron

This is a story of depression a condition that reduced William Styron from a person enjoying life and success as an acclaimed writer, to a man engulfed and menaced by mental anguish. With profound insight and remarkable candor, Styron tracks the progress of his madness, from the smothering misery and exhaustion, to the agony of composing his own suicide note and his eventual, hard-won recovery. Illuminating an illness that affects millions but which remains widely misunderstood, this book is about the darkness of depression, but it is also ultimately about survival and redemption.

Lie Down In Darkness

William Styron

In this novel, the South looms dark and ominous in the background with its Biblical rhetoric, its conflict between a tradition of religious fundamentalism and modern scepticism, racial contrasts and the industrialisation of a rural society. But more than a novel of time and place, it is the story of a tormented family submerged in infidelity and driven by a vengeful love that is blocked, hurt and perverted. Peyton Loftis, who frantically needs a husband precisely because she loves her father; the decadent Milton, whose infidelity has made his marriage no more than a stage drama; and Helen, his wife, who loves only what she can control - her crippled daughter Maudie, or the childish part of her husband. This extraordinarily powerful novel is the portrait of a family who, in the words of Sir Thomas Browne in his URN BURIAL, 'all lie down in darkness'.

Biography

William Styron (1925-2006), a native of the Tidewater region of Virginia, was a graduate of Duke University and a veteran of the Marine Corps. His books include Lie Down in Darkness, The Long March, Set This House on Fire, The Confessions of Nat Turner, Sophie's Choice, This Quiet Dust, Darkness Visible and A Tidewater Morning. He was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for fiction, the Howells Medal, the American Book Award and the Legion d'Honneur. With his wife, the poet and activist Rose Styron, he lived for most of his adult life in Roxbury, Connecticut, and in Vineyard Haven, Massachusetts.