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A Tidewater Morning Paperback – August 30, 1994


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Reprint edition (August 30, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679754490
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679754497
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.4 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #753,312 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

These three interconnected stories are the Pulitzer Prize-winning author's first fiction in more than a decade.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

In each of these three stories, which orignally appeared in Esquire magazine in the Seventies and Eighties, narrator Paul Whitehurst recalls significant episodes from his childhood in Virginia during the Depression and the Second World War. In "Love Day," Paul remembers his father's analysis of the economic benefits the war has brought to the South, as he himself sails to Japan with the invasion fleet. In "Shadrach," a dying former slave returns to the rundown plantation where he was born. In the title story, Paul commemorates his mother's agonizing death from cancer. The narratives, as Styron says in a preface, "reflect the experiences of the author," as well as recapitulate, in luminous prose, most of the major themes of his longer fiction, from Set This House on Fire (1951) to Sophie's Choice (1981). For all its brevity, this collection is arguably the best single-volume introduction to this important author. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 5/15/93.
- Edward B. St. John, Loyola Law Sch. Lib., Los Angeles
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More 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 Legion 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.

Customer Reviews

The story lines and characters are well composed.
Linda M Vought
Your only thought at the end of this (way to short) novel is that you wish there was some kind of continuation or sequel to Paul Whitehurst's story.
jenna
The stories are absorbing and Styron's writing style is beautifully evocative.
suzray

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Randall Ivey on June 12, 2000
Format: Paperback
Styron revisits old themes in this collection subtitled "Three Tales from Youth" and set, two thirds of the way, in Tidewater Virginia in the earlier part of the twentieth century. In it we see three episodes from the life of Styron's autobiographical protagonist Paul Whitehurst at ages twenty, ten, and thirteen.
In "Love Day" Paul, a young Marine lieutenant, experiences intense homesickness in the Pacific Ocean during the waning months of WWII. This is well-written but perhaps the least impressive of the three tales. Next is best. "Shadrach" is a wonderfully affecting, funny, and touching story of a 99-year old former slave who walks all the way from Clay County, Alabama, to Virginia to die and be buried in his homeplace. The title story shows Paul's struggle to accept his mother's approaching death from cancer and pays especial attention to the complex relationship between his parents.
Despite Styron's wonderfully indulgent and rococo style, these stories make for fairly quick reads, as we are carried along on a stream of telling detail and crystalline reminiscence. Not that the work lacks complication. As with his larger-canvased works, Styron deals with issues of race, Southern identity, heterosexual love, courage, cowardice, religion, and art. Here and there the stories are marred by facile liberal pieties and stilted dialogue, but for the most part it is a pleasure to watch this old master cast perhaps one last look at the familiar but still-fertile landscape of his heart and imagination.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Steve on March 13, 2000
Format: Paperback
Styron raises enough intriguing issues and questions that A Tidewater Morning could have been a full-bodied novel. Instead, we are treated to three short stories that, while somewhat disjointed, do manage to flow with relative ease. There's little new material addressed here: Styron returns to his favorite themes of slavery, war, and death, but he does manage some fresh twists that allow Tidewater to stand memorably on its own merits.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Sean J. Giorgianni on April 24, 2010
Format: Paperback
I first met William Styron when a mutual acquaintance - Sophie's Choice - introduced us at The Modern Library's list of Top 100 Novels. I bumped into him later with his friend Darkness Visible at The Modern Library's list of Top 100 Non-Fiction Books. I thought I knew him by the time he told me all about The Confessions of Nat Turner.

And so it was that I chose to meet him again on A Tidewater Morning at my local Salvation Army bookstore. My cost of admission was $0.25 and I decided to meet him again because his alma mater, Duke University, won the 2010 NCAA Basketball Championship.

Styron's an interesting dude. Both he and his father suffered from depression and his mother died from breast cancer when he was 14. He was a Marine, an editor at McGraw-Hill, and once provoked an employer to fire him so he could write his first novel. He died from pneumonia in Martha's Vineyard at the age of 81.

Above the door to his studio he posted a quote from Gustave Flaubert: "Be regular and orderly in your life so that you may be violent and original in your work."

As I read the three stories that make up A Tidewater Morning I was struck by how unreal his descriptions, characterizations, and dialog were to my senses. Yet, it all works beautifully in the end. The greatest triumph of this book is the way these three stories create an arc of experience that rips your perceived ideas of meaning from the fabric of your life and then sews them back together with even stronger stitching because you made the effort to reach, and read, the title story.

I didn't think A Tidewater Morning compared very well to his other writings until I sat down to write this. But it does.
Read more ›
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Diane Kulkarni on January 15, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have read most of Styron's books and after reading Darkness Visible, I was very curious about the early years of his life. His obituary mentioned the book as a key to understanding his depression, so I quickly ordered it and couldn't put it down. What a story! Since then I have begun reading his daughter's book called Reading My Father and wonder if she mentions his childhood experiences. I'd recommend all three books to anyone interested in understanding depression. Styron was able to describe it so well.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By jenna on January 16, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book is a beautiful intermingling of past memeories and present strife. The war time world of Paul Whitehurst is made apparent; his childhood battles were fought just as passionately as any battle in WWII. Paul is a fictional character full of wit and wisdom. He comes alive in the three separate stories of his life. Your only thought at the end of this (way to short) novel is that you wish there was some kind of continuation or sequel to Paul Whitehurst's story.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By suzray on January 10, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I purchased this book for a short holiday read, and it was excellent. The book is composed of three short stories which take the reader back to 1930s Virginia. The stories are absorbing and Styron's writing style is beautifully evocative.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 19, 1999
Format: Paperback
William Styron has penned a remarkable trilogy of tales which are an "imaginative reshaping of real events." His word-craft is both highly engaging though over-wrought at times. Nevertheless, his recreations of scenes are palpable. The last tale, "A Tidewater Morning", is a tour-de-force of the short story medium. His command of the movement of the events, punctuated by inserts of past dialogue between key characters, sensitively sets up the reader for an emotional cascade of grief as shared between father and son. Styron approaches the veil of the mystery and vividness of childhood events with a delft mind and hand conceived of respect and midwived with love.
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