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vinaya

Sophie's choice by William Styron

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I chanced upon his book at the local library and picked it up, mostly because I had heard of favourable responses to the Meryl Streep- starring film adaptation. Turned out to be a rewarding impulse! It is a work of art, beautifully constructed.

 

The book is narrated by the author. It is based on the time period he spent in Brooklyn, and the two friends he makes there, Nathan and Sophie. It is his take on Nathan and Sophie's tumultuous, exhausting relationship that we perceive. There is some element of autobiography, which adds to the credibility of the world he creates.

 

He manages to engage the reader instantaneously and it is almost as if you are magically transported into his world, being permitted to gaze at the chain of events unfolding as he narrates. Escaping into the world of 1960s Brooklyn doesn’t seem like the most inviting of prospects at first, but the characters he peoples his world with strive to make it so. The author writes parts of the book in Sophie’s Polish-accented English, allowing the reader to visualise her clearly in his/ her imagination. Flashbacks to Sophie’s past work wonderfully well as a device in both fleshing out her character and adding to the suspense culminating in the story’s climax. Ultimately, you’re left wondering as to what proportion of the book is autobiography and whether Sophie really existed...

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I read it years ago, after I saw the film and I enjoyed it really much! It's written in a wonderful style, that really engage the reader. But I found the flashbacks so painful..

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True!! The flashbacks were painful...but, they seemed to manage to draw one in totally, didn't they? It was like the author was giving us pieces of the zigsaw puzzle of Sophie's past and each flashback helped the picture grow...

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Absolutely true.. we know Sophie much more through the flashbacks than through the descriptions of her given by the author. But still, it's so painful!! I read about the psycological elements of the so-called Sophie's choice (the behaviour of mothers in particularly dangerous moments) and it was even more sad reading Styron book then!

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Interesting....where did you read about their behavior? I'd love to read more about it...I was totally shocked when she was forced to make that choice, didn't see it coming at all! Especially the erratic odd way in which that jailer made her choose for no apparent reason! Horrific,,,

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I read about the "Sophie's Choice" behaviour in a university book for Psychology students. I don't remember the name because I read it years ago. Doctors made experiments upon mothers: they built up dangerous situations for their children to see which one mothers would choose to save first. If it's called Sophie's choice behaviour I think you can guess which was the choosen one in the great majority of cases. I will try to find out the name of the book, I'll let you know as soon as possible!

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