Lie down in Darkness

Lie down in Darkness

by William Styron


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William Styron traces the betrayals and infidelities—the heritage of spite and endlessly disappointed love—that afflict the members of a Southern family and that culminate in the suicide of the beautiful Peyton Loftis.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780679735977
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 03/15/1992
Series: Vintage International
Edition description: Reissue
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 438,475
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 8.00(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

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.


Roxbury, Connecticut, and Vineyard Haven, Massachusetts

Date of Birth:

June 11, 1925

Date of Death:

November 1, 2006

Place of Birth:

Newport News, Virginia

Place of Death:

Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts


Davidson College and Duke University, both in North Carolina; courses at the New School for Social Research in New York

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Lie Down in Darkness (Enhanced Edition) 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
gsh More than 1 year ago
William Styron is one of the most under rated American authors of all time. His ability to draw you in to the time and place of his narrative is amazing. The dynamics between the characters in this book are complex and heart breaking. His depiction of the pastoral old south and the social practices of the period are beautiful and complete. Read William Styron!
Guest More than 1 year ago
After finishing this book I offered it to my mother, who works with families in similar circumstances as a mental health therapist, and she couldn't get past the first fifty pages. It is utterly painful reading at times, not for the prose but for the slow, inevitable march toward doom you can see escalating throughout the book, culminating in Peyton's seering monologue. Driven to tears to laughter to tears again, this is not a book of light reading, nor is it a book designed to deflate one's faith in mankind. I would describe Lie Down in Darkness as a novel probing human fallibility, pain, and loss--things that all of us have to deal with in our lives. It's worthwile if for only that reason. That Styron should elevate the story through marvelous use of the language suggests, in some sense, the seriousness with which he takes this story. I recommend this book for anyone looking to see people as they often are: weak, tired, sad, despondent.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
pdebolt on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
William Styron's first novel is often overlooked because "Sophie's Choice" is, without doubt, his flagship; however, his style in "Lie Down in Darkness" is as melancholy and forceful as it was in each of his subsequent novels. No reader can leave these pages unmoved by the depth of suffering, both self-imposed and due to other forces, of its principal characters. The family unit is rife with undercurrents and has no opportunity to become functional because the parents are so deeply involved with their own problems. I disliked Helen the most. Her passive aggressive martyrdom fueled her husband's neuroses and alcoholism until their relationship became Faulknerian in its dysfunction. Styron's well-known bouts of depression obviously inspired much of the insights into mental illness. The pain of these characters is palpable throughout the booik.
triminieshelton on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
powerful story of a southern family doomed to disintegration and death. Father awash in alcohol, mother in martyrdom, one daughter handicapped, the other destroyed by her mother's jealously and hatred, her father's smothering dependence and semisexual love. Poetic, evocative of Virginia during the second word war. Sometimes hard to read but worth it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read a magazine article which mentioned that this book might be made into a movie so I decided to read it. It was slow and hard to follow. I could not relate to or sympathize with any of the characters. I didn't like any of them. But I was prepared to slug it out until the end when the book froze on my nook. I tried to get it going again but no use so I ended up archiving it. The logical conclusion is that it was so bad even my nook wouldn't let me read it. HA!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
kraaivrouw on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I recently managed to make it all the way through Sophie's Choice, a book I had attempted to read in college and hadn't had the maturity to finish. I loved it on my recent read so I thought I should return to Lie Down in Darkness, another book I hadn't been able to complete.This is a very good, if not great, novel. It is also very depressing. I remember it being so depressing that I just couldn't get through it the first time (and my memory was good). All the same, the writing is beautiful and the characterizations clear and sad. In a sense, this novel is a lyrical essay on Tolstoy's quote about unhappy families from Anna Karenina: "Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way."The novel opens on Peyton Loftis' body returning to her family on the train from New York after her suicide. Styron ranges back and forth in time and point of view throughout the novel in presenting the causes of Peyton's depression and suicide.Peyton Loftis is the template for a particular kind of doomed Southern girl - beautiful with Daddy issues and a dozen bad habits, the kind of girl certain kinds of boys fall in love with but never marry. She is in some ways a very old-fashioned character - very much of her own generation. Reading her will make you grateful that our mothers' generation fought the feminist battles and gave us options beyond attending Sweet Briar and marrying the first fraternity boy that crossed our path. I think it's a wonder more intelligent and creative women didn't cut their own throats in the public square out of sheer boredom.I'd like to say that all the changes in the status of women in the last 50 or so years have made the Peyton Loftises of the world obsolete, but that would be untrue. There are still plenty of boxes for both women and men to be confined to and political and societal change don't necessarily eliminate them.I'm glad I made it through this one this time. It is, as I said, a good novel. I can strongly relate to all the flavors of despair that Styron depicts and truly felt the presence of his own depression throughout the novel. Styron is wonderfully flamboyant with language and character, even when weighed down with his own demons.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago