La scelta di Sophie William Styron

ISBN: 9788804492573

Published: 2013


658 pages


La scelta di Sophie  by  William Styron

La scelta di Sophie by William Styron
2013 | Paperback | PDF, EPUB, FB2, DjVu, audiobook, mp3, ZIP | 658 pages | ISBN: 9788804492573 | 3.67 Mb

These characters are flesh of my flesh and bone of my bone. Styron’s words are written into my genetic code. His characters don’t just haunt me--they are me.Call me Sophie. Sophie was a Polish Catholic wraith who washed ashore in Brooklyn as a postwar refugee. A tattooed number on her forearm testifies to her internment at Auschwitz- thick scars on her wrists proclaim her attempt at self-destruction.

Guilt pursued Sophie like a demon: Often I cry alone when I listen to music, which reminds me of Cracow. And you know, there is one piece of music that I cannot listen to, it makes me cry so much. I cannot breathe, my eyes run like streams. It is in these Handel records, “I know that my Redeemer liveth,” that make me cry because of all my guilt, and also because I know that my Redeemer don’t live and my body will be destroyed by worms and my eyes will never, never again see God.” (99) Sophie no longer plays piano or reads music.Call Me Nathan.

Sophie’s lover is exuberant, funny, and possessed of magisterial intelligence. Nathan’s knowledge of biology, literature, music, history, cuisine, cinema, and medicine is as encyclopedic as it capacious. With a gift for mimicry and comic bluster, he is “utterly and fatally glamorous.” Sophie and Nathan meet in the New York Public Library over the sad poems of Emily Dickinson. With assistance from Brahms and Thomas Wolfe, Nathan nurses Sophie back to health from scurvy.

In her shaky English she whispers, “Nathan, thank you for making me to bloom like a rose.”Nathan’s “liberated and passionate carnality” unlocks Sophie’s eroticism, which allows her to drown her guilt. Although he saves the life of Sophie, Nathan himself is also an afflicted refugee of a different sort. “I need you like death.” As a Jew, he regards himself as an authority on anguish and suffering, so he needles Stingo mercilessly regarding Southern apartheid and is suspicious of Sophie’s escape from Auschwitz--“while the millions choked on the gas.” She resents “the unearned happiness” of Nathan, but she is so chaotically in love with him that it is “like dementia.” Their destinies were wedded indissolubly.Call Me Stingo.

Into the immigrant world enters our narrator, a young Southern writer. When we first meet Stingo, his spirit is landlocked, and he is a stranger to both love and death, but Stingo will be sucked toward the “epicenter of a squall of gusty shifting emotions,” as the couple lays siege to his imagination.Stingo, a virgin, yearns for Sophie while adoring Nathan as a glamorous elder brother.

Because our narrator also loves literature and music, he sprinkles hundreds of “outlandishly eclectic” literary references throughout the novel as well as scores of references to classical music, which plays on the Victrola as we read. If you don’t like Stingo, you won’t like Styron. This book is not for those who dislike ornate writing, expensive words, or books about other books and writers.Stingo, I must tell you something now that I’ve never told anyone before. Without knowing this, you wouldn’t understand anything about me at all.Tell me, Sophie.You must get me a drink first.Choices.

As the title implies, choices are made. There is a famous choice that Sophie made at Auschwitz “Don’t make me choose, I can’t choose.” In fact, there are many other choices throughout this book: choices about our attitudes-- about love and hate- life and death- about empathy and selfishness- weight and lightness- memory and forgetfulness- free will and fatalism- and optimism and despair.Call me Steve. I choose this book. This book goes to the core of my being because I was wired for these words which fire my neural pathways. I choose Sophie. My love and desire for Sophie is deeply personal and mysterious.

Perhaps it hints at the mystery of suffering and my own existence because I know that I am wired for a certain degree of sadness that coexists uncomfortably with my bedrock optimism. Thus, I choose Stingo. I was made to not break faith with belief in meaning. Like Stingo, I desire Sophie, and I am utterly convinced that I can save her. But failing that... I choose to remember. I choose to testify. I choose life.May 7, 2013******William Styron came within inches of taking his own life, a story which he recounts in his memoir, Darkness Visible. Here is a link to my review:

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