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The New York Times Book Review has a good piece on Alexandra Styron’s family memoir:

Rose Styron [William’s wife] emerges from this memoir as a good and heroic presence, erring only on the side of excessive tolerance. There is something touching in the picture of her following her husband to Martha’s Vineyard, having been “forbidden to show up before June,” with “a mountain of summer Martha’s Vineyard dresses poised on their hangers for another season’s whirl of festivities.” Before long, deprived not only of his temper but of all self-esteem, Styron would be pleading like a child to be spared the ordeal of appearing before guests at the dinner table.

“Avoiding my father’s wrath was a complicated business,” Alexandra writes. Her memoir is part of that process. William Styron’s illness may have prevented his making an appropriate response to her novel, “All the Finest Girls” (2001). Before then, however, she wrote some stories that he did read. “Dear Al,” he told her in a fax, “you really are a very good writer. More! More!” He got more — this is it — and he was right.

[Photograph by Saul Leiter]

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