Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness Paperback – 5 Apr 2001
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"Hair-raising in the manner of A Tale of Horror by Edgar Allan Poe" (Daily Telegraph)
"As short as a hangman's rope and nearly as arresting - an essay of great gravity and resonance. Never has Styron used so few words so effectively" (Newsweek)
'Tremendous writing - honest and illuminating' Victoria Glendinning, New York TimesSee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Depression crept up on Styron at the height of his career. He had seen friends give in and take their own lives in the past, but had never expected to face the illness himself.
This is the book I recommend to family and friends who want to know how depression feels. Styron says it so much better than I can.
What I think is great is the sheer honesty which he tells us of his slide into the depths of depression, there is no hiding from the fact he went through utter hell. It's a short book - but, if you like a good ending then this is the one of you. Never, ( and I think it would take a lot to surpass it ) have I read a more perfect closing paragraph - it's immaculate. He sunms it up to perfection and if it does anything, it makes you realise.
Personally, I would've liked to know a bit more about the actual feelings and thoughts of a depressed man, rather than about his actions or life events as a result of depression. For that reason I much prefer 'Sunbathing in the Rain' by Gwyneth Lewis, which is a more internal look into the depressive experience.
Even so, this book might be helpful for people who are related to depressed people, because it might help them understand how it turns a person into a dysfunctional mush of raw nerves.
I suppose people must have been so excited about the book when it first came out, because it was written by such a well-known and respected novelist, and brought on wide recognition of a terrible desease, from which millions of people had to suffer secretly and shamefully in the past. I'm sure it helped many people decide to put everything on the table and get helped, and that in itself is a great achievement.
Baring ones soul to public view is never easy, but far far better than suffering in silence. It is perhaps easier for the writer than those who face crowds of people more directly. William Styron is one such writer who has done so in this little book. That fine and largely forgotten writer Richard Jefferies also did so with his "The Story of My Heart". I have read Styron's magisterial "tour de force ", "Sophies Choice", about a holocaust survivor, and the awful past experiences that she has to try to come to terms with. Styron brilliantly portrays a young woman going through the turmoil of depression emanating from these past experiences. Styron admits in "Darkness Visible" that depressive illness had been knocking at his door for some time, and that it aided him when painting characters in his books. He goes on to give a very personal account of his experiences and how he dealt with his illness.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Excellent clear well written description of the void that is depression. This tale contains no "miracle" cures, is not designed to inflate the bank balance of the writer,... Read morePublished 22 months ago by I. A. Peden
my review is simple. you must read this book now and not later. thank you Dick Cavett for the recommendationPublished 22 months ago by Mr. T. R. Gibb
Some great descriptions of depression however it is a very brief overview and my copy of the book was poorly printed.Published on 18 July 2014 by Jak Archer
A deep insight into depression honestly and powerfully related. Styron talks about the stigma attached to mental illness and the side effects of many medications that he endured. Read morePublished on 11 April 2014 by riya ghosh
I read this book some time ago and have re-read and reviewed it for study purposes. I bought this copy for a friend because I find it highly informative without being clinical or... Read morePublished on 31 Jan. 2014 by Maz
Styron describes depression clearly, intelligently and, above all, personally. He pulls no punches. Depression is not feeling miserable or sorry for yourself, or having an off day... Read morePublished on 4 Sept. 2013 by Lindsay Fulcher
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