Skip to main content

Sophie's Choice. It...Is...Done.

Yeah. I did it. I finished Sophie's Choice. It's basically the saddest book ever, so this will be gif-heavy to try to balance the Holocaust + domestic abuse goin' on. First: HURRAY IT'S DONE!


But then there's also the whole "Oh it's done." *sadface* Because, and despite what I am going to say regarding its IMMENSE SADNESS, it is amazing. William Styron is a Writer Who Can Write. He's all "LOOK AT THE MAGICAL MIXTURE I MAKE WITH WORDS! I have a CRAFT and I do it well." He kiind of reminds me of Nabokov (whose autobiography I still have to read this year), because both pay SUCH careful attention to which words they're going to use, so you never feel like they were just trying to use whatever to communicate an idea — no, each word is important and chosen for a reason.

This can also be maddening because, knowing that, it can take forever to read if you really want to appreciate it.

Oh, right, what is Sophie's Choice about. Essentially it's William Styron as the narrator, talking about the summer of 1947 when at age 22, living in Brooklyn and trying to be a writer, he met a woman (Sophie) and her boyfriend (Nathan). It pretty much alternates between Sophie being beaten up by Nathan when he goes into a schizophrenic rage, and her telling Styron (or "Stingo" as he's nicknamed for some reason he outlines early on) about her time in Auschwitz.

Yeah, Auschwitz.

It's pretty much a Holocaust book. I don't even know how to begin to do it justice, because I'm not one of those bloggers who likes to, y'know, "think" before she writes things down, but basically when you finish the book, despite every page being something hugely sad, you feel like you've learned and experienced a stunning amount. I finished it on the El last night headed back into Chicago, and I just kind of...sat there after closing it. And then thought about how much more I felt like I knew, about the camps and human experience and just — damn, it's an amazing book.

True, this will be you every 50 pages or so:


But it's worth it.

Towards the end, Sophie recounts a scene with a Jewish resistance fighter, who speaks of encountering a hostile Polish Resistance group:
"He looked at Wanda, filled with this rage and despair, and said, 'Three pistols I get, and sneers and laughter, to hold off twenty thousand Nazi troops. In the name of God, what is happening?'"
World War II was seventy years ago, which is NOT LONG AGO ENOUGH. At the very least, this book allows you space to contemplate how on EARTH that atrocity happened. How did we allow that? And by immersing yourself in it, you are able to leave the comfort and relative peace of your surroundings and solidify in your mind the knowledge that we cannot allow it to happen again.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Harry Potter 2013 Readalong Signup Post of Amazingness and Jollity

Okay, people. Here it is. Where you sign up to read the entire Harry Potter series (or to reminisce fondly), starting January 2013, assuming we all survive the Mayan apocalypse. I don't think I'm even going to get to Tina and Bette's reunion on The L Word until after Christmas, so here's hopin'.


You guys know how this works. Sign up if you want to. If you're new to the blog, know that we are mostly not going to take this seriously. And when we do take it seriously, it's going to be all Monty Python quotes when we disagree on something like the other person's opinion on Draco Malfoy. So be prepared for your parents being likened to hamsters.

If you want to write lengthy, heartfelt essays, that is SWELL. But this is maybe not the readalong for you. It's gonna be more posts with this sort of thing:


We're starting Sorceror's/Philosopher's Stone January 4th. Posts will be on Fridays. The first post will be some sort of hilarious/awesome que…

How to Build a Girl Introductory Post, which is full of wonderful things you probably want to read

Acclaimed (in England mostly) lady Caitlin Moran has a novel coming out. A NOVEL. Where before she has primarily stuck to essays. Curious as we obviously were about this, I and a group of bloggers are having a READALONG of said novel, probably rife with spoilers (maybe they don't really matter for this book, though, so you should totally still read my posts). This is all hosted/cared for/lovingly nursed to health by Emily at As the Crowe Flies (and Reads) because she has a lovely fancy job at an actual bookshop (Odyssey Books, where you can in fact pre-order this book and then feel delightful about yourself for helping an independent store). Emily and I have negotiated the wonders of Sri Lankan cuisine and wandered the Javits Center together. Would that I could drink with her more often than I have.


INTRODUCTION-wise (I might've tipped back a little something this evening, thus the constant asides), I am Alice. I enjoy the Pleistocene era of megafauna and drinking Shirley Templ…

#24in48: What Was Good, What Was Bad, What You Should Read

24in48, where we try to read for 24 hours out of 48, has come and gone once more. I managed 13 hours, which considering my usual average is 2, is excellent and I will take it. I attribute this to genuine planning this time and a remarkable lack of things to do that weekend.




What did I finish!

The Witches: Salem, 1692 by Stacy Schiff
Captain Phasma by Kelly Thompson (comic)
The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey
DC Bombshells Volume 1 (comic)
The Punisher: The Complete Collection, Volume 1 (comic)
Mars Evacuees by Sophia McDougall

The Good.

It was actually all pretty good, so I'm gonna give a quick recap so you can decide if it strikes your fancy or not.

The Summaries

The Witches: Salem, 1692. This is a breakdown of everything that happened before, during, and after the Salem witch trials of 1692. I loved the beginning because Stacy Schiff gives you a good idea of the awfulness of life in New England in the 17th century, and it also helps you understand how the trials happened, because everyth…