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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars extremely moving, powerful story that packs a punch.
I throughly enjoyed the film and decided to read the book and it is even better, it is an extremely powerful story centering on three characters, Stingo the narrator, Sophie a Polish emigrant and Nathan, her Jewish lover. The story is set in Brooklyn, New York in 1947 and concerns the relationship between the three who are neighbours in the same boarding house. Initially...
Published on 9 Mar. 2001

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43 of 49 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars I'm totally mystified by its status and reputation
Many people love this book. Anthony Burgess included it in his "Ninety-Nine Novels" (Ninety-nine Novels: The Best in English Since 1939 - A Personal Choice) and it features in the Modern Library list of the 100 best novels (albeit at No.96). And you can see among the reviews on this page that many of your fellow Amazon shoppers hold it in high esteem.

But a few...
Published on 26 April 2011 by Max Planck


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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars extremely moving, powerful story that packs a punch., 9 Mar. 2001
By A Customer
I throughly enjoyed the film and decided to read the book and it is even better, it is an extremely powerful story centering on three characters, Stingo the narrator, Sophie a Polish emigrant and Nathan, her Jewish lover. The story is set in Brooklyn, New York in 1947 and concerns the relationship between the three who are neighbours in the same boarding house. Initially all is well and they become the best of friends but all is not what it appears. It transpires that Sophie is a survivor of Auschwitz concentration camp although she is Polish. She is haunted by her past and by all the friends and family who did not survive the war. As the story continues it takes us back to pre-war Europe in flashback. It also explores her relationship with Nathan, a brilliant but unstable character with his own demons. Without giving too much away the story has a heartbreaking twist to it and a box of tissues might come in handy. For me, what gave it immediacy and such a haunting quality is that Sophie is apparently based on someone who the author actually knew and the reader is left asking how much of it is fiction?
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sophie's Choice, 25 Feb. 2009
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This is an amazing book, I don't know why I didn't discover it earlier. Despite its size it makes for an enjoyable read and it doesn't take a very long time to find yourself reaching the end!

It is told through the eyes of a young man nicknamed Stingo, a Southerner, living in 1950's New York; his ambition is to be a writer. He moves into a boarding house (all the rooms are a bright pink colour!) and it is there he meets Sophie and Nathan and gets to observe their destructive relationship firsthand as they become friends. Stingo recounts not only his own life and everyday occurences (I found it quite interesting and surprisingly humorous to read his descriptions of Leslie Lapidus, a girl he meets at Coney Island, and the way he was impressed by the ease with which she uses swear words-he compares her to all the Southern girls he's met who play hard-to-get and have various inhibitions).
Of course I do not want to reveal any major plot points, I'm sure it's pretty obvious just from the title that a choice Sophie had to make in the past is eventually revealed.

Personally I think that the following are the main attributes this novel has and they constitute the main reasons for reading it:
-the story and the way it unfolds is excellent, it never gets boring; it recounts Sophie's past (sometimes she seemingly telling the story), it includes a few short diary entries and some letters from Stingo's father (these are just a tiny proportion of the book, the main style of the book is from Stingo's point of view) which all add to the story's interest and flowing narrative.
-Nathan and Sophie's relationship may not be something all of us can directly relate to but it is an accurate and somewhat scary portrayal of the dynamics in a relationship.
-the way it is written, the fantastic use of words, is rich, luscious,langorous and enthralling, it takes full advantage of the range of words in the English language, it is descriptive yet never tediously so.
-the fact that it is written from the viewpoint of a young man really shows through, it is humorous at points, more serious at others, yet it remains focused in that it realistically deals with the issues people at that age face.
-finally, I really enjoyed the way the novel kept moving forwards story-wise while digging into the past to uncover more details.

I highly recommend this book, it is fresh and managed to stay in my mind for a long time after.
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43 of 49 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars I'm totally mystified by its status and reputation, 26 April 2011
By 
Many people love this book. Anthony Burgess included it in his "Ninety-Nine Novels" (Ninety-nine Novels: The Best in English Since 1939 - A Personal Choice) and it features in the Modern Library list of the 100 best novels (albeit at No.96). And you can see among the reviews on this page that many of your fellow Amazon shoppers hold it in high esteem.

But a few don't. And I'm one of them. I consider myself to be well-read in American literature, and have also read a number of other Holocaust-themed novels. For me, "Sophie's Choice" ranks as one of the poorest books in either category that I have ever read. A banal plot with dystfunctional, borderline-loathsome characters, all told in what must be one of the most grating, convoluted and....well....just plain bad writing styles that I have ever come across. Styron's prose is so awful that it took a Herculean effort for me to get through passages like this:

"I recalled once more (how many times had I summoned their sound?) the pellucid indecencies Leslie had uttered, and as I did so - the view-finder of my mind reshaping each crevice of her moist and succulent lips, the orthodontically fashioned perfection of the sparkling incisors, even a cunning fleck of foam at the edge of an orifice - it seemed the dizzyiest pipe dream that this very evening, sometime before the sun should fulfill its oriental circuit and rise again on Sheepshead bay that mouth would be - no I could not let myself think about that slippery-sweet mouth and its impending employments."

Now, if this sounds like your idea of "great literature" (and if it is, you're not alone) then you might enjoy wading through about 650 pages of similar prose. Me? I think it's just terrible, bloated, turgid and oddly amateur. Without a doubt, it is the worst 'great' novel I have encountered. I am totally mystified why anyone should love such a book because, frankly, I hated pretty much everything about it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well worth it, even if you know the "choice", 18 Feb. 2013
By 
Don't be put off reading this just because you already know what Sophie's choice was. Of course it is a "twist" in the traditional sense of a plot, but knowing in advance does little to detract from the story.

We follow Stingo, an aspiring writer from the south, who is living in the big city on a small budget. He meets Sophie and her beau, and falls in love with the (older) Polish girl. As the book unfolds we get to know more of Sophie's backstory, which goes some way to explaining why she puts up with the way she is treated in her existing relationship, and current choices are woven back in time with actions and choices taken in the concentration camp.

It is a huge achievement!

As some have pointed out (with 1 star reviews!) the writing can be a little overdone at times, but it's not something I really noticed, and the story and the characters were more than enough to draw me in and keep me there.

Now ... I wonder if I should watch the film. Never seen it!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic, 21 Dec. 2013
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This book is a classic - it is quite distressing as you might anticipate any holocaust related book to be. The book is thought provoking mixing, and I would recommend it. It is really well written. Enjoy!
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20 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The most moving book I have ever read, 31 Jan. 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Sophie's Choice (Vintage classics) (Paperback)
Please, Please, Please read this book. It is an amazing account of the lives of three people drawn together in New York in 1947. This book should be read by both young and old. Through it's powerful and spell binding narrative it chronicals in particular the life of Sophie,a Polish survivor of Auschwitz and builds up to the gut renshing and heart breaking finale - her choice.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very thought provoking, 15 May 2013
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I really liked the book though it was depressing at times. It was griping and I think the film did it no justice.
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5.0 out of 5 stars From a quality point of view - excellent. The rating says I love it - I ..., 28 Feb. 2015
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I bought the book because I saw the film many years ago. The book is even more haunting. Don't read if you are already feeling depressed. But do read if you're ready to face the true nature of humanity. From a quality point of view - excellent. The rating says I love it - I wish there was a star that said 'will stay with me for a long time; could make a permanent change in your world view'.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Sophies Choice, 11 May 2013
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This review is from: Sophies Choice (Paperback)
I have bought this book, which by the way came within a week of ordering, because I watched the film on DVD and the parts where 'Sophie' talks in German, there was no translation into English, so did not have a clue to what was being said and the ending is quite important!!!! Books are always better than film anyway!Thank you.
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3.0 out of 5 stars disappointment in this book, 22 Dec. 2013
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I really did nor want nearly all the book to be about stingo, I was rather disappointed in this book, perhaps it's because he didn't get all the facts he needed to write about her time under the nazi, I don't really feel this book is about her but more about stingo.
Plus it's rather heavy in such irrelevant detail.
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Sophie's Choice (Vintage classics)
Sophie's Choice (Vintage classics) by William Styron (Paperback - 2 Nov. 2000)
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