The Suicide Run

William Styron, Author . Random $24 (194p) ISBN 978-1-4000-6822-7

This posthumous collection from Pulitzer and National Book Award–winner Styron (Sophie's Choice ) is a mishmash of early stories and unfinished novel excerpts that, while interesting as an artifact, adds little to his esteemed oeuvre. A former marine, Styron shows the horrors of war not through battle but through vignettes of men on leave (such as the title story) or in their quarters, struggling with their fate. “Blankenship” follows a young warrant officer as he investigates the escape of two Marines from a military prison island. Through interrogating another prisoner, McFee, Blankenship learns how deep soldierly ennui can run. “Marriot, the Marine” is about a writer recalled to duty as a reservist on the eve of his first novel's publication. He finds solace in a superior's love of literature and begins to believe that not all Marines are as brash as his roommate (he of the “wet, protuberant lower lip and an exceptionally meager forehead”), but the illusion doesn't last long. Styron's prose is as assured as ever and his knack for character is masterful, but the overall moralizing tone—war is debasement—is both too simple and too political to work in these character-driven stories. (Oct.)

Reviewed on: 08/10/2009
Release date: 10/01/2009
Genre: Fiction
Hardcover - 194 pages - 978-0-224-08738-4
Paperback - 194 pages - 978-0-09-953222-4
Compact Disc - 978-0-7393-8516-6
Open Ebook - 100 pages - 978-1-58836-906-2
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-4159-6637-2
Paperback - 194 pages - 978-0-8129-8024-0
Open Ebook - 208 pages - 978-1-4090-8925-4
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