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View Diary: Books Go Boom!   'Elizabeth Costello' - J. M. Coetzee on the Problem of Evil (54 comments)

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  •  For Me, "Sophie's Choice" (4+ / 0-)

    (pub. 1979) was that most difficult novel to read about the evils of the Holocaust, but read it I did.  Perhaps because it was so traumatic, I remember little about the book (and haven't re-screwed up my courage to read it again) except the eponymous nature of the subject.

    William Styron's artistry is on every page.  But it is so disturbing that one can't help thinking that it contributed to his own mental problems, or that his personal struggle of mind informed his novel.

    To me, it remains the ultimately devastating work of fiction.  Reading it is best described as experiencing emotional scorched earth.  Gutting.

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    by Limelite on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 12:51:06 PM PDT

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    •  I don't know the book or the movie, but I've heard (4+ / 0-)

      what her actual choice was about. Yes, gutting in itself.

      'Styron connects the onset of his depression with his sudden termination of his lifelong alcohol use, and argues that his condition was likely exacerbated by careless prescription of the drug Halcion.'

      Yet you raise an interesting point, supporting Elizabeth Costello's argument:

      William Styron's artistry is on every page.  But it is so disturbing that one can't help thinking that it contributed to his own mental problems, or that his personal struggle of mind informed his novel.
      It seems entirely possible that an author can handle the worst darkness deftly and clearly, and still pay a huge toll for going there. It looks to me like Styron, Capote (and others, no doubt) have written very dark and real books, and then carried those demons with them for the rest of their lives.

      "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

      by Brecht on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 01:06:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I haven't read "Sophie's Choice," (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Brecht, cfk, Limelite, RiveroftheWest

      only seen the film.  The end of the film felt a bit unfair to me, like a sucker punch.  I don't doubt that such a thing could take place, but it's never sat right with me.  Perhaps adding horror where there was horror enough.

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