Before writing his memoir of madness, Darkness Visible, William Styron was best known for his ambitious
works of fiction, including The
Confessions of Nat Turner and Sophie’s
Choice. Styron also created personal but no less powerful tales based on
his real-life experiences as a U.S. Marine. The
Suicide Run collects five of these meticulously rendered narratives. One of
them—“Elobey, Annobón, and Corisco”—is published here for the first time.
In “Blankenship,” written in 1953, 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 in the early
1970s 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 isolation and
frustration of a soldier trying to become a civilian again. In “Elobey,
Annobón, and Corisco,” written late in Styron’s life, 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, inhumanity, absurdity, and heroism that forever changed the men
who served in the Marine Corps. Download and start listening now!