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.
About the Author
William Styron (1925-2006), a native of the Virginia Tidewater, was a graduate of Duke University and a veteran of the U.S. 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, the Légion d’Honneur, and the Witness to Justice Award from the Auschwitz Jewish Center Foundation. 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, where he is buried.
Hometown:Roxbury, Connecticut, and Vineyard Haven, Massachusetts
Date of Birth:June 11, 1925
Date of Death:November 1, 2006
Place of Birth:Newport News, Virginia
Place of Death:Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts
Education:Davidson College and Duke University, both in North Carolina; courses at the New School for Social Research in New York
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I often find that one book leads me to another. In "Taken on Trust" Terry Waite had savoured every word of "Set This House on Fire" whilst being held hostage.I was therefore keen to try this author and was able to obtain "A Tidewater Morning" from the library. Styron was a pre-eminent American author, who seemed to me as eloquent as a modern day Shakespeare. Tidewater was the sort of classic book I would have studied at school, rather than necessarily something I would read for enjoyment. It consists of several short stories. He deals with some very difficult and disturbing subjects with beautifully expressed prose. Unfortunately I found it too disturbing and by the time I reached the third story, I found it too hard to continue and reluctantly gave up.
Styron is simply a beautiful writer. Every word is used as if it¿s his last and must not be squandered. He strips his characters back to the bones and forces you to feel the sting of life and death and what that means in each case through seemingly innocent and inconsequential anecdotes.
I wrote my Master's thesis on William Styron, but it was a few years before I embarked on that scholarly journey that I discovered quickly how extraordinary and poetic a writer William Styron can be. This novella, a collection of three stories that deftly and near-horrifyingly touch on that central concern of Southern American literature - what is the human condition? - is short, and maddeningly precise: there are grand and terrifying ideas Styron approaches through memorable characters such as Shadrach, the 100-year-old former slave who walks hundreds of miles back to the plantation of his enslavement to die, and while Styron's language dips, dives, and skates with exquisite word choice, his sentences are sometimes so meticulous and short that you'd wish there were a more broad way to describe these ideas but frustratingly know he couldn't possibly do so. Styron has been absent from American letters for over a decade, promising another but as yet unreleased/unfinished novel, and while that continues as a disappointment, 'A Tidewater Morning' is a blessed trinity that serves as the gentlest, most perfect denouement.