Havanas in Camelot: Personal Essays

William Styron, Author . Random $23 (162p) ISBN 978-1-4000-6719-0

“I was aware that this was a contraband item under the embargo against Cuban goods and that the embargo had been promulgated by the very man who had just pressed the cigar into my hand,” writes Styron about John F. Kennedy in the title essay of this fine new collection of mostly previously published work. Combined with Styron's muscular yet subtle language, a sense of self-revelation and insider clarity infuses the 14 essays like a lungful of fresh, crisp air. Mostly assembled by Styron shortly before his death in 2006, these perfectly crafted and deeply expressive essays range effortlessly from smoking the aforementioned stogies with JFK to his run-ins with editors during the editing of his first novel, Lie Down in Darkness . In one essay he describes a visit to Marilyn Monroe's grave with noted literary hellion Terry Southern: “he was scowling through his shades, looking fierce and, as always, a little confused and lost but, in any case... like a man already dreaming up wicked ideas.” Styron is known to most readers for his bestselling novels and painful etching of his bouts with crippling depression in Darkness Visible . These essays open up an entirely new territory to explore and appreciate for the fan and general reader alike. (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 02/11/2008
Release date: 04/01/2008
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 162 pages - 978-0-8129-7875-9
Peanut Press/Palm Reader - 73 pages - 978-1-58836-720-4
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