The Suicide Run
Five Tales of the Marine Corps
By William Styron
(Random House Trade Paperbacks, Paperback, 9780812980240, 208pp.)
Publication Date: September 14, 2010
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The Suicide Run collects five of William Styron’s meticulously rendered narratives based on his real-life experiences as a U.S. Marine. In “Blankenship,” Styron draws on his stint as a guard at a stateside military prison at the end of World War II. “Marriott, the Marine” and “The Suicide Run”—which Styron composed as part of an intended novel that he set aside to write Sophie’s Choice—depict the surreal experience of being conscripted a second time, after World War II, to serve in the Korean War. “My Father’s House” captures the frustration of a soldier trying to become a civilian again. In “Elobey, Annobón, and Corisco,” a soldier attempts to exorcise the dread of an approaching battle by daydreaming about far-off islands, visited vicariously through his childhood stamp collection.
Perhaps the last volume from one of literature’s greatest voices, The Suicide Run brings to life the drama, absurdity, and heroism that forever changed the men who served in the Marine Corps.
William Styron (1925-2006) , a native of the Virginia Tidewater, was a graduate of Duke University and a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps. His books include Lie Down in Darkness, The Long March, Set This House on Fire, The Confessions of Nat Turner, Sophie’s Choice, This Quiet Dust, Darkness Visible, and A Tidewater Morning. He was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, the Howells Medal, the American Book Award, the Légion d’Honneur, and the Witness to Justice Award from the Auschwitz Jewish Center Foundation. With his wife, the poet and activist Rose Styron, he lived for most of his adult life in Roxbury, Connecticut, and in Vineyard Haven, Massachusetts, where he is buried.
"Short fiction from a Southern master of the sweeping, ambitiously themed, epic novel.. . . Taken as a whole, these fragments illuminate their author's obsessions and make the reader wish Styron had completed at least two more novels. Essential reading for the writer's fans; a revelatory footnote for others."—Kirkus Reviews
"Styron's prose is as assured as ever and his knack for character is masterful."—Publishers Weekly
"Styron has always been drawn to moral and emotional complexity, and in these three stories we see him at work skillfully exploring that rich and provocative terrain again."—Library Journal