Reading My Father
The Daughter of Sophie's Choice Author On Her Father
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Read an Excerpt
WE BURIED MY father on a remarkably mild morning in November 2006. From our family’s house on Martha’s Vineyard to the small graveyard is less than a quarter mile, so we walked along the road, where, it being off-season, not a single car disturbed our quiet formation. Beneath the shade of a tall pin oak, we gathered around the grave site. Joining us were a dozen or so of my parents’ closest friends. The ceremony had been planned the way we thought he’d have liked it—short on pomp, and shorter still on religion. A couple of people spoke; my father’s friend Peter Matthiessen, a Zen priest,... see more
Reading Group Guide
Written with astonishing grace and generosity, Alexandra Styron’s Reading My Father, is a moving and illuminating portrait of a great twentieth century novelist and a deeply troubled man.
William Styron's writing and his depression dominated the Styron family landscape, and Alexandra, the youngest of four children, learned to navigate his storms in order to survive. Spanning from Styron’s Tidewater, Virginia youth and precocious literary debut to the triumphs of his best known books and on through his devastating spiral into madness, Reading My Father chronicles the epic sweep of a American artist’s life, while also telling the story of a daughter coming to know her father at last.
TOPICS AND QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION
- Consider Alexandra’s place in the Styron family as the youngest child. Could any of her older siblings have written this particular memoir? Or do you think Alexandra witnessed a different side of her parents?