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By William Styron (1979)
First Edition, First Printing
DESCRIPTION: Is there any one author out there who better defines the intellectual tricks of Postmodernist literature more than William Styron? A born-and-bred Southerner whose grandparents had owned slaves, Styron himself was a humanistic liberal with an early love for William Faulkner, reflected in his massively popular literary debut, the 1951 dysfunctional-family saga Lie Down in Darkness. But after an extended period in Europe (where, incidentally, he helped co-found The Paris Review), it was in the '60s and '70s where Styron really came into his own as a writer, first with the instantly controversial 1967 Pulitzer winner The Confessions of Nat Turner (a revisionist piece of historical fiction about a real but failed slave rebellion in the 1830s), followed by today's book for sale, the equally controversial National Book Award winner Sophie's Choice from 1979. Originally banned in Poland where it is partially set, it's the story of a non-Jewish survivor of Auschwitz, whose infamous "choice" was regarding which of her two children were to be killed in the camps and which would be allowed to live; the novel itself, then, is set in a contemporary Brooklyn where Sophie now lives post-war, and the messily complicated relationships she has with a Jewish intellectual and a Styron stand-in who both live in the same boarding house where she does. A book that explicitly makes a comparison between the behavior of '40s Nazis and '60s Southern whites, it's not only considered one of the most important novels of the 20th century, but its equally famous Hollywood adaptation essentially kickstarted Oscar-winner Meryl Streep's career; and those making a point to collect the most famous titles of the Postmodernist Era will absolutely want to have this one in their library, a "sleeper gem" that is almost guaranteed to go up in value as the years continue, and go up big.
CONDITION: Text: Very Good Plus (VG+). In all respects in nearly the same condition as it appeared brand-new in stores, except for a small dent in the upper-right corner of the front cover. Dust jacket: Very Good Minus (VG-). In generally great shape, except for a pair of quarter-inch tears on the top front and top back covers, plus various folds on the inside flaps. Stated "First Trade Edition" on the copyright page.
PROVENANCE: Acquired by CCLaP at Ravenswood Books, Chicago, autumn 2013.