Synopses & Reviews
After the great success in 1990 of Darkness Visible
, his memoir of depression and recovery, William Styron wrote more frequently in an introspective, autobiographical mode. Havanas in Camelot brings together fourteen of his personal essays, including a reminiscence of his brief friendship with John F. Kennedy; a recollection of the power and ceremony on display at the inauguration of François Mitterrand; memoirs of Truman Capote, James Baldwin, and Terry Southern; a meditation on Mark Twain; an account of Styron's daily walks with his dog; and an evocation of his summer home on Martha's Vineyard.
Styron's essays touch on the great themes of his fiction racial oppression, slavery, and the Holocaust but for the most part they address other subjects: bowdlerizations of history, literary lists, childhood moviegoing, the censoring of his own work, and the pursuit of celebrity fetish objects.
These essays, which reveal a reflective and humorous side of Styron's nature, make possible a fuller assessment of this enigmatic man of American letters.
"The most memorable entries in this collection deal...with more old-fashioned reminiscing about people and places the author once knew." Michiko Kakutani, New York Times
"[A] modest delight....Some of the most pleasurable writing in Havanas in Camelot is in the form of fan notes." Los Angeles Times
"A poignant reminder of the power and appeal of a voice now silent." Kirkus Reviews
"Beneath the wonderfully diverting dazzle of his wit and virtuosity, Styron addresses crucial matters of freedom, art, and empathy." Booklist
"In the months before he fell into his final, fatal illness in the fall of 2006, William Styron compiled a number of essays, lectures and occasional pieces that he had written over the previous 20 years of his life. Havanas in Camelot is the result of that foraging process, and while it's a minor-key achievement in this great novelist's career, it is nonetheless a modest delight." Marc Weingarten, The Los Angeles Times
(read the entire Los Angeles Times review
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.