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Sophie's Choice (1979)

by William Styron

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5,109851,464 (4.14)260
Stingo, a young southerner, who journeyed north in 1947 to become a writer becomes intellectually and emotionally entanglement with his neighbors in a Brooklyn rooming house. Nathan, a tortured, brilliant Jew, and his lover, Sophie, a beautiful Polish woman whose wrist bears the grim tattoo of a concentration camp ... and whose past is strewn with death that she alone survived.… (more)
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» See also 260 mentions

English (73)  Dutch (2)  French (2)  Lithuanian (1)  Danish (1)  Finnish (1)  Italian (1)  Spanish (1)  Hebrew (1)  All languages (83)
Showing 1-5 of 73 (next | show all)
I'd like to read this book again. If I can take it...... ( )
  bcrowl399 | Jun 28, 2020 |
2
  kristi_test_02 | Jun 16, 2020 |
2
  kristi_test_02 | Jun 16, 2020 |
20 years after reading this novel I am still thinking about it. Today I read a quote from Jean Vanier, of L'Arche, which illuminates one of the principal visual lessons which I carried away from the movie.

Pretending
We all want to turn away from anything that reveals the failure, pain, sickness and death beneath the brightly painted surface of our ordered lives. Civilization is, at least in part, about pretending that things are better than they are. We all want to be in a happy place, where everyone is nice and good and can fend for themselves. We shun our own weakness and the weakness of others. We refuse to listen to the cry of the needy. How easy it is to fall into the illusion of a beautiful world when we have lost trust in our capacity to make of our broken world a place that can become more beautiful.
Jean Vanier
Source: Becoming Human
( )
  MaryHeleneMele | May 6, 2019 |
a story "told through the eyes of a young aspiring writer from the South, about a Polish Catholic survivor of Auschwitz and her brilliant but psychotic Jewish lover in postwar Brooklyn".[2]
  brendanus | Oct 13, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 73 (next | show all)
Evoking a period just after the end of that War, the novel deals with themes so plangent and painful, particularly Sophie’s experiences in the Holocaust, that the book becomes an important meditation on the effects of war on the individual consciousness.
 
More than once in this smugly autobiographical novel, Styron pouts about how his last book, The Confessions of Nat Turner, drew accusations of exploitation, accusations that "I had turned to my own profit and advantage the miseries of slavery." And Sophie's Choice will probably draw similar accusations about Styron's use of the Holocaust: his new novel often seems to be a strong but skin-deep psychosexual melodrama that's been artificially heaped with import by making one of the characters--Sophie--a concentration-camp survivor.
added by smasler | editKirkus Reivews (Jun 1, 1979)
 
In "Sophie's Choice," his first novel in 11 years, you will participate in his greatest risks to date,

both in structure and theme.

Within the context of a single Brooklyn sum- mer, the summer of 1947, in which the autobiog- figure and narrator, Stingo, sets out to write the "dark Tidewater fable" that will be- come "Lie Down in Darkness," Styron will set himself the task of trying to understand what he calls "the central issue" of the 20th Century: the embodiment of evil that was Auschwitz. And how does a 22-year-old Southerner, just fired from his job as a junior editor at McGraw Hill, with literary aspirations and in robust health, connect even remotely with Auschwitz? In 1947?
added by smasler | editChicago Tribune, Gail Godwin (May 27, 1979)
 
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Who'll show a child just as it is? Who'll place it within its constellation, with the measure of distance in its hand? Who'll make its death from grey bread, that grows hard — or leave it there, within the round mouth, like the choking core of a sweet apple? ... Minds of murderers are easily divined. But this, though: death, the whole of death, — even before life's begun, to hold it all so gently, and be good: this is beyond description!
Rainer Maria Rilke, from the fourth Duino Elegy translated by J. B. Leishman and Stephen Spender
... I seek that essential region of the soul where absolute evil confronts brotherhood.
—André Malraux, Lazare, 1974
Dedication
To the Memory

of

My Father

(1889-1978)
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In those days cheap apartments were almost impossible to find in Manhattan, so I had to move to Brooklyn.
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