Kim Fay's Reviews > Lie Down in Darkness

Lie Down in Darkness by William Styron
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's review
Oct 15, 2011

really liked it

Though I struggled and struggled to make my way through this book (for that it deserves two stars), I must acknowledge that it is well-conceived and well-written. It just has a ponderousness that is common to certain Southern novels, and for that I found myself often setting it down and drifting off to another book. Then, as I reached the final fifty or so pages, the investment paid off, and I couldn't put it down. Beginning with the death of young socialite Peyton Loftis (this is not a spoiler), the book drifts between past and present, revealing not a single likable character. I wanted to shake them all. But that would have been useless, since they were all too gone for shaking, even when they were young and just being formed. For that I give Styron great credit --- his main characters are very real. One of the hardest parts of the book for me was the racism. I expect it in older novels set in the south, but in this one, the racism didn't seem to be the characters' but the author's. I know nothing about Styron and this issue, but there was something about how he portrayed the black side characters, as if every one was a caricature --- while he spent such care and gave his white characters great (if repulsive) depth --- that made me dislike him as a person. I guess this book also gets four stars because it gave me so much to think about in regard to these issues.
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03/04 marked as: read

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Rayan Hey. I'm doing an MA thesis about LDID. I just want to note that the racism in the novel isnt the author's. Styron had been fascinated by the presence of African American people since his childhood. And their presence in the novel is to emphasize their faith and their freedom from the guile and sin in the world. He used to attend their ceremonies and soon they became an obsession (positively).

message 2: by Kim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kim Fay Dear Rayan, Thank you so much for this response. I was speaking from the feeling I got while reading the book, and I find your scholarly insights and knowledge very interesting. I plan to go back and reread various passages with your comments in mind.

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