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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars William Styron's best
In a small Italian village, shortly after World War II, three Americans converge. One is a Southern lawyer, the other is a rough-edged artist with a strong penchant for alcohol and the third one is a delightful aristocrat who is the closest thing possible to wickedness. Out of this reunion, William Styron has crafted a fabulous novel of rape, murder, suicide and deception...
Published on 17 Dec. 2003 by HORAK

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3.0 out of 5 stars Worth reading for the good parts
Starts well and then gets lost in its own self-regard. Still it evokes a particular time and place -- American bohemias in Italy after the war and before the 1960s -- vividly and there are memorable scenes.
Published 12 months ago by Stella


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars William Styron's best, 17 Dec. 2003
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HORAK (Zug, Switzerland) - See all my reviews
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In a small Italian village, shortly after World War II, three Americans converge. One is a Southern lawyer, the other is a rough-edged artist with a strong penchant for alcohol and the third one is a delightful aristocrat who is the closest thing possible to wickedness. Out of this reunion, William Styron has crafted a fabulous novel of rape, murder, suicide and deception with an insight of the dreadful persuasiveness of evil. The qualities of this novel are many, ranging from the sense of the striking scene, the fine art of the dialogue, the sharp depiction of cities, Italian scenery and interiors. William Styron is certainly one of the greatest writers of the 20th century. This is my favourite book by this author.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Powerful, but stodgy, 20 July 2008
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It's a great and powerful novel, but it's also ponderous and stodgy in places, not only because Styron takes us deep into the characters' backgrounds and psychologies, which is important, but essentially because cultural observations that should really be delivered by the author himself are ludicrously inserted as conversation.

For instance, this excerpt is spoken by one of the characters, Cass Kinsolving, an uneducated painter from Virginia, to his friend Peter Leverett. "...it was the sense, the bleeding essence of the thing. It was as if I had been given for an instant the capacity to understand not just beauty itself by its outward signs, but the other - the elseness in beauty, this continuity of beauty in the scheme of all life which triumphs even to the point of taking in sordidness and shabbiness and ugliness, which goes on and on and on, and of which this was only a moment, I guess, divinely crystalized".
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3.0 out of 5 stars Worth reading for the good parts, 25 July 2014
This review is from: Set This House on Fire (Paperback)
Starts well and then gets lost in its own self-regard. Still it evokes a particular time and place -- American bohemias in Italy after the war and before the 1960s -- vividly and there are memorable scenes.
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