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Lie Down in Darkness Paperback – March 3, 1992
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Top Customer Reviews
His novels are not light novels. They are not coffee table books, but a rather serious discussions on moral issues written with an eloquence that is unmatched in modern writing.
Lie Down in Darkness is his first novel, and is much like what I have just said. As a first novel it is necessarily experimental, although the effect of this experimentation is at times hard to tell.
Following through flashback the trials of one Virginia family on the day of their daughter's funeral, Lie Down in Darkness leads up to the present, describing in tragic terms how the family has come apart and where it is now.
This is great writing, some of the best writing I have ever read, as realistic as any Dickens novel, and as engaging as anything by Baldwin.
It is not a happy book, but it is the best book I have read about the American family, far greater and relevant than anything I have read by Morrison.
The story is one of severe despondency, a portrait of lives that have lost their savor and are headed toward destruction. Of all the characters in the story, the Negro house servants come forth as the strongest. They have a spiritual strength that contrasts strongly with that of the Loftis.' The overwhelmingly best quality of the book, I believe, is the beauty of the prose. It's like an epic poem, lyrical and dramatic and sweepingly colorful. And, believe it or not, I actually enjoyed Peyton's stream-of-consciousness marathon just before she killed herself. Styron made it enjoyable and I will always remember the flightless birds and how they follow Peyton all over New York and also the $39.95 clock that Peyton perceives as her refuge from the evil world. Is this what mental illness is really like? This book is certainly one to be read again.
This is a very good, if not great, novel. It is also very depressing. I remember it being so depressing that I just couldn't get through it the first time (and my memory was good). All the same, the writing is beautiful and the characterizations clear and sad. In a sense, this novel is a lyrical essay on Tolstoy's quote about unhappy families from Anna Karenina: "Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way."
The novel opens on Peyton Loftis' body returning to her family on the train from New York after her suicide. Styron ranges back and forth in time and point of view throughout the novel in presenting the causes of Peyton's depression and suicide.
Peyton Loftis is the template for a particular kind of doomed Southern girl - beautiful with Daddy issues and a dozen bad habits, the kind of girl certain kinds of boys fall in love with but never marry. She is in some ways a very old-fashioned character - very much of her own generation. Reading her will make you grateful that our mothers' generation fought the feminist battles and gave us options beyond attending Sweet Briar and marrying the first fraternity boy that crossed our path. I think it's a wonder more intelligent and creative women didn't cut their own throats in the public square out of sheer boredom.
I'd like to say that all the changes in the status of women in the last 50 or so years have made the Peyton Loftises of the world obsolete, but that would be untrue.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I chose to read this novel as I had just finished Sophie's Choice and also had read The Confessions of Nat Turner 2 years ago. I enjoyed both of those books a lot. Read morePublished 12 days ago by crazee cat ladee
Some southern girls who grow up with maids, they watch how the house is cleaned and that the dust under the bed is swept away, and even if they don't have a maid when they grow up,... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Jay
A book who is very important to people, who want to know something about severe depression and who wants to know more about the life of William Styron. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Sjoefn
"Sophie's Choice," by William Styron, is a masterpiece that dares to discuss an event of epic proportions (the Holocaust) through the lens of a love triangle in Brooklyn in... Read morePublished 7 months ago by Trevor Seigler
Tragic novel - stream of consciousness with a bit of a story running through it. I skimmed through it to pick up the pieces of the story buried under endless words.Published 9 months ago by Iris
Awkward first novel. Somewhat difficult to read but surprisingly memorable in the end. The only other novel I've read by Styron is "Sophie's Choice, a masterpiece. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Gerry Robinson