I recently read an interview with an author I like who indicated that Styron was his favorite author and writing inspiration. I love Southern fiction and Southern language, but I generally steer away from literary fiction which I often find pretentious. I decided to read it if for no other reason than because it's a classic and because Styron's known for his great writing.
This book is dated in many ways. It has been a long time since I read a book where white people used the “N” word so freely. It was depressing and sad and there was not one character I liked. Reading the story was painful, but I couldn't make myself quit, even though it took me three weeks to read it because I kept having to put it aside because it was too sad. I stuck with it to the end only because the language was so utterly magnificent. That is all there is to say about that.
I'm glad I read it. It is a classic for two reasons. It nails a slice of Southern culture that existed prior to the Civil Rights movement with microscopic detail. And, the prose is so perfect it left me breathless at times.